Friday, July 4, 2014

Carabeef Caldereta (Carabao Beef)

A plate of spicy Carabeef Caldereta (Carabao Beef)
Carabeef Caldereta (Carabao Beef)

Carabeef Caldereta (Carabao Beef)

In the Philippines, the most used meat ingredients for the filipino dishes are Pork and Chicken. The reason behind this is because these two are much cheaper than beef and only requires a shorter time in cooking.
Another thing is, because filipinos are budget-conscious nation (maybe because of the economic situation) the locals seldom cook beef dishes. You can only see it during special occassions like in fiestas, birthdays and christmas season. However, if you really want to try any beef dishes like Nilagang Baka (Beef Stew with clear broth), Beef Bulalo and Tapsilog (short for Tapa, Sinangag at Itlog or beef tapa, fried rice and sunny-side-up) they are always available in filipino restaurants and in carinderias ( local food stalls).
But because filipinos are very clever and resourceful people, they've found an alternative to beef. They use "carabeef". Carabeef is meat of a local carabao (water buffalo). It is a lot cheaper as compared to beef and it is very much available in the country.
Philippines used to be the largest rice producer in Asia, the farmers used the traditional way of rice farming and do not use tractors and other hi-tech equipments to cultivate and develop the land. They only use carabaos to do that and that's the reason why there are so many carabaos in the country especially in provinces. It even became the national animal of the philippines because of its use and large number of population as well.
Carabeef Kaldereta became one of my favorite filipino dishes when I tasted one somewhere in Victoria, Laguna Philippines years ago. That's the most delicious caldereta recipe I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. Sad to say that's 4 hours drive away from my location where I live and didn't have a chance to ask for the recipe.
So today I'm going to show you how to cook beef caldereta using carabeef meat. This dish is based on the taste that I remember from the carabeef kaldereta from Victoria, Laguna.
NOTE: Caldereta requires a loooong cooking time to make the beef or carabeef to become tender. If you want to save some time then I suggest you to use a pressure cooker.


1/2 kilo carabeef, cut into cubes
2 cups potatoes. Peeled and quartered
2 cups carrots. Peeled and quartered
1 large green or red bell pepper. Sliced
2/3 cup green olives
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup liver spread
2 tbsp. grated cheese
1 red onion. Chopped
3 cloves garlic. Crushed
1 or 2 pcs. red chili. Sliced
1 cup carabeef stock (or less)
4 pcs. Bay leaves
1/2 cup cooking oil
Brown sugar, Salt and pepper to taste

Pressure cooker
1 liter water
Pour the water to the pressure cooker. Add carabeef and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside.


1. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the carrots and potatoes until color turns light brown.
Remove and set aside for a while. Fry bell peppers just for a few seconds.

2. In the same pan, sauté the garlic and onions until become translucent. Add beef to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes. You just want to incorporate all the flavors of the garlic and onion to the meat. Carabeef has 20.43 percent protein content versus beef meat that only has 19.02 percent. Also carabeef has lower fat content of only 2.87 percent compared to the 4.34 percent fat content of beef. Carabeef sells half the price of beef meat in local markets.

3. Add stock, tomato sauce, liver spread and bay leaf; stir a little to combine all the ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

4. Add green olives, chili, grated cheese, tomato paste, fried potatoes, carrots and bell peppers. Simmer for another 5 minutes over low heat or until sauce thickens.

5. Season with sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

6. Transfer to a plate. Serve hot. Bon appetit!


1. If you choose to cook the meat using a regular pot, make sure to cook it for 1 to 2 hours. Always check regularly. Add more water as necessary.
2. Do not throw the stock; you will need it for the sauce. 
3. Frying the potatoes, carrots and bell peppers is recommended because it releases and enhances its natural aroma.
4. You can add more chili. It gives a kick to the dish and making it more appetizing.

Enjoy your carabeef experience!

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