Nilagang Baka / Filipino Boiled Beef Soup

Nilagang Baka

White steamed rice, fish sauce with calamansi, and thai chili peppers for condiments makes this dish a true wonder when it comes to lunch time. A lot of us prefer this dish with just soup bones, but every once in a while we look for something meatier and that's where this particular version of Nilagang Baka comes in.

Nilagang Baka

I have seen so many versions when it comes to Nilagang Baka. Some of them are very elaborate and sometimes it makes me wonder if using all those ingredients actually over powers the entire dish. It seems as if you would not be able to enjoy the flavor of the meat. Having said that it inspired me to come up with my personal version of Nilagang Baka. It is very simple and does highlight the true flavor of the beef by simplifying the ingredients. So let's try another mouth-watering dish by letting the flavor of the beef do the work. Ingredients:
  • 3Ā½ Lbs. Boneless beef chuck roast cut in 2 in. cubes
  • 2 Medium onions sliced thinly
  • 1 Small Cabbage de-cored and cut in wedges
  • 3 Medium carrots peeled and cut in 2 in. pieces
  • 4 Medium potatoes peeled and quartered
  • Water for braising (boiling) don't use beef broth*
  • 8 Whole peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • Ā½ Tbs. MSG (vetsin)
Note: * It will alter the taste.. Directions:
  1. In a large pot place beef and cover with water about 2 inches above the meat.
  2. Bring it to a rapid boil.
  3. Remove the scum as it rises, add the onions, and lower the heat to medium high.
  4. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Next add salt, msg, and whole peppercorns.
  6. Cover and let it cook for 1Ā½ hours or until beef is very tender.
  7. Add more water if necessary maintaining the 2 inch water level above the meat.
  8. At this time you may add the carrots and potatoes.
  9. Cover and let them cook for an additional 10 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender.
  10. Add cabbage, cover, and let it cook for 3 more minutes.
  11. Adjust the taste by adding more salt if necessary.
  12. Serve with white rice and the fish sauce condiments. Enjoy!
Translation: Nilaga = Braised or Boiled Thai Peppers = Siling Labuyo or Birds Eye Chili Baka = Beef

Nilagang Baka with Cabbage and Potatoes in a bowl

Patis with calamansi and siling labuyo dipping sauce

Nilagang Baka Ingredients: carrots, onions, cabbage and potatoes

Boneless beef chuck roast

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45 Responses to “Nilagang Baka”

  1. balong delos santos says:

    This is also good if mixed with corn on the cob.


    a ham bone when added will add richness to the soup. yum!
    yes, my mother also add an ear of corn and and one or two pieces
    of cut saging na saba. oh my, this reminds me of our noche buena in the philippines! i will try your other recipes…..

  3. Batang_Katy says:

    Thanks for the recipe. A true Filipino comfort food. I added a bit of Beef Soft Tendons (litid) and matched it up with your spicy fish sauce and a few drops of kalamansi (lemon) juice. Appreciate all your help..Keep it up !!

  4. merci says:

    wonderful site! More power!
    Mabuhay ka!

  5. Debby says:

    Wow! I dig this page…
    Photos included, before and after!

    This is my first time to visit your log and would surely come regularly to check other stuff around. This page is perfect for cooking dummies like me.
    A million thanks and keep it coming with more photos. Loving everything here!

  6. MO Tan says:

    Your version is by far the best i’ve seen! By the way, i came up with my own version … instead of using potato i used kamote he he he~! thx luv your site

  7. dizon says:

    i love beef soup. im stoned. i like to eat filipin food in hong kong near wan chai

  8. Lily says:

    This is great. I just discovered this site today. I miss cooking. i want to go home an d cook food for my family. I know I have a lot to know about specially coomon recipes which of us just take forgranted. This site is very helpful not only to those who really love to cook but also beginners. I love to teach this recipes to my friens or have them visit this site personally…Keep up the good food fun!!!

  9. Lily says:

    This is great. I just discovered this site today. I miss cooking. i want to go home an d cook food for my family. I know I have a lot to know about specially common recipes which most of us just take forgranted. This site is very helpful not only to those who really love to cook but also to beginners. I love to teach this recipes to my friends or have them visit this site personally…Keep up the good food fun!!!

  10. Maria says:

    Happened upon your website by accident. I was looking for dishes that I remembered from childhood that the Filipino side of the family used to prepare. I never knew the names of the dishes, just how they looked, smelled and tasted!! With your pictures, I have found most of the one’s I loved. I can’t wait to start cooking. If you have a recipe for lumpia my kids would be in heaven. Thank you so much.

  11. Maria,

    I do have a recipe for Lumpia I just have to find the time to post it here. Which Lumpia are you looking for? We have Lumpia called Shanghai and the other one is the Vegetable Lumpia which filled with bean sprouts. I have both recipe and I will post them as soon as I get a chance. God Bless.


  12. Maria says:

    The lumpia that friends and family used to make had meat with, I think carrots and potato ???? I remember that my Lola made one with raisins in them and were a little sweeter in taste and had ground meat in them. Unfortunately I only met her once when I was a small child and I was more interested in eating them, not how they were made. Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

  13. Maria,

    Sorry it took me a little long to respond to your request. I’m back in school and my schedule sometimes does not allow me to have much time for my blog. Anyhow the one that I cook all the time is the meat version known as “Lumpiang Shanghai”. I don’t put raisins in mine. As a matter of fact I never had one that had raisins in them. Anyway I hope you like my version which leans more toward the traditional Lumpia. Here is the recipe.

    Mix and marinate the following ingredients for three days before cooking them.


    1/2 Lb. Ground beef
    1/2 Lb. Ground pork
    2 Large head of garlic, peeled & smashed finely
    1/2 Cup finely chopped green onion
    1 Medium sized Onion, finely diced
    1 Large Carrot peeled and diced finely
    1TBS. Ground black pepper
    1 TBS. Salt
    Cooking oil for deep frying (Corn oil preferably)

    Like it says above, mix all ingredients thoroughly, cover, and let marinate in the fridge for three days. Or you may go ahead and wrap the Lumpia, then place it in a sealed container, and let it marinate for three days before freezing or cooking it. Do not skip the marinating process. Marinating it for three days cures the meat and gives enough time to fully blend all the ingredients for your great tasting Lumpia.

    Wrapping the Lumpia: Follow the instructions on the back of the Lumpia wrapper. Below is a picture of the brand of wrapper I used.

    Cooking Instructions: Deep fry Lumpia on low heat to avoid burning the wrapper before the filling gets cooked. Make sure the meat inside the Lumpia is thoroughly cooked before serving. I usually just cut into one to double check.

    Tip: After all the ingredients are mixed, wrap one Lumpia and cook and taste to see if you need to add more salt.


    Lumpia Wrapper

  14. Lorrie says:

    Hei hei, I’m lorrie and If it’s not too much to ask I just wanted to learn how to cook menudo.. Actually I can’t cook.. And I dint know the whole ingridients for that dish.. I meant the spices??. Thanks to inang s-I-t-a.. She’s popular here too. I learned how to cook.. Somehow.. But I want real more tastier dish.. The real spices.. Hope you’ll response

  15. Leilani says:

    It is so nice to see a site for some recipes for the comfort foods I grew up with. Thank you so much.

  16. Sandra says:

    Hi Robert! I love your site a lot. I love that you put pictures and how easy your instructions are. Anyway, I just saw your lumpia recipe. I have my own recipe which all my friends love. šŸ™‚ he he. I haven’t tried mixing beef and pork together and i see you marinate yours for 3 days. hmm.. i might try that. I do put carrots and i’ve recently just added green onions in my recipe.

  17. Iris says:

    I am Japanese and my Filipino friend taught me how to make this dish. We love it and make it all the time in the pressure cooker. I’m so happy to have read your recipe because I always wondered why hers looks so different from mine when she brings it to work for lunch. Your point of not using beef broth is the key to the recipe. Thank you!

  18. lhou says:

    love ur site! Brilliant to have ots of pictures that help in learning cooking. By the way I’m a chef here in ireland but missing philippine food and there’s a time i cant even remember the ingredients,silly isnt it? Anyway thanks and hope to see more recipes.

  19. norma J hobart says:

    Basta beef dish soup at may mga gulay completo na. awesome bravo!

  20. norma Jacobe hobart says:

    do you have a version bibingkang bisaya?

  21. Norma,

    Unfortunately I don’t. However, I am planning to post a Bibingka in the near future. Thanks for visiting and please do check back often!

    Robert Colinares

  22. naide bowen says:

    actually beef natural broth do the trick but dont put too much ,,,what i do i mix them together but i used little bit mx with water……..

  23. naide bowen says:

    hi maria im not a good cook when it comes to filipino foods but i learn how to cook them…… to email or call me maybe we can do business together…..

  24. naide bowen says:

    hw much u charge for the add let me know at

  25. Hi Naide,

    You can find my ad prices on this address:


  26. kadirecipes says:

    Very nice post and the recipe is just excellent.

  27. Jen Hernandez says:

    LOOKS SOOOO DELICIOUS!!! Nilagang baka is my favorite soup! And just like you, I also mix fish sauce with calamansi onto my rice with the soup. Whenever this is the food served at home, I totally end up eating so much rice. Great post! I will definitely give this recipe a try. šŸ™‚

  28. Mark says:

    Good Job!

  29. clueless in the kusina says:

    I was born flipside but raised in the US so when my friends ask me to make filipino dishes I have no clue…thanks for the photos along with the simplicity of it all because the less ingredients the better for me & at least I know what it should look like after I attempt to cook it lol… Im gonna try to make nilagang baka today…step one defrost meat lol wish me luck

  30. Anna Oderon says:

    Thank you for this website. I don’t know how to cook. This website help me a lot. My husband & kids enjoyed my Nilagang Baka.

  31. Carlos says:

    I do the cooking today while my wife is working. The two kids in school, so I prepare use this recipe and cooked with beef ribs and
    added corn on the cobs, saba, and french beans.

  32. Elgene says:

    wow ang sarap. ngayon kulang natikman

  33. Ray says:

    thank you for this website….this is the second time cooking Nilagang baka….love it ver detailed!

  34. You’re welcome Ray! I am glad that you like my recipe.

    Robert Colinares

  35. ikes says:

    I was craving nilaga today and I stumbled upon this recipe! It’s been a while since I made nilaga and this looked promising šŸ˜€ Took out the msg and I’m relying heavily on patis today. I’m so excited!

  36. Alman says:

    I personally don’t prefer to add corn or saba cause it might overflow the taste of beef, also carrot not included in my recipe. Always look for beef with taba parts to have the best result.

  37. Rebecca Lacaba Larsson says:

    I will try to use this recipe one of these Days. I had a beef stew just a week ago and the vegetable I used was carrots, broccoli and quatered potatoes.
    Thank you.

  38. Loi says:

    My husband was craving for Nilagang Baka today. Good thing I found this recipe. He loved it! Thanks so much! šŸ™‚

  39. You’re welcome, Loi!

  40. I miss this! Very mouth watering. I will try this very soon! šŸ™‚

  41. It’s very good, you won’t regret it. šŸ™‚


  42. Ray says:

    Love this recipe, I’d posted here before and I must say your recipe is the best!

  43. Hi Ray,

    I am glad you liked this recipe. Thanks for sharing it!


  44. SOL says:

    Thanks a lot i followed your instruction and of course the ingredients love thanks

  45. Sabaw Adik says:

    tulo laway ko….

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