The heavy rains last Friday brought thoughts of hearty soups. While chatting with friends, I asked them what piping bowl of comfort they fancied on a damp day.
Chef Jackie Ang Po (Fleur de Lys/ Del Monte Kitchenomics) said it was her mom’s ma-kut. The recipe she shared is the simplest version among the many variations of ma-kut (pork rib soup) her mom, Lita Ang makes.
“My mom sometimes adds Chinese dried herbs and spice packets from Ongpin, depending on what kind of medicinal herbs she thinks we need at the moment,” she said.
1 k pork (rib shoulder, American ribs or spare ribs)
Water (enough to cover the meat)
1 bulb garlic
3 pieces star anise
Soy sauce to taste
White pepper to taste
2 tbsp Chinese wine
Optional: misua, bok choy
For ma-kut misua: Optional garnish, chopped cilantro, chopped garlic
Boil water and add the meat. When the scum rises to the surface, throw the water out.
Boil the meat again with 1 bulb garlic, star anise, soy sauce, white pepper, Chinese wine for 1 ½ to 2 hours until meat is fork-tender.
Top with chopped cilantro and more fresh garlic.
‘Nilagang pata ng baka,’ Ilonggo style
On a cold rainy day, chef Ram Villaluna (chef and managing director of Cindy’s Events and Catering, Iloilo) keeps himself warm with nilagang pata ng baka, Ilonggo style.
This dish was inspired by the famous Andrez Patahan along Villa, Iloilo City, an eatery that serves simple yet delicious fare, like pata and kansi.
Chef Ram shared his version of the recipe, made to suit his personal preferences. He suggested that the pata be eaten with a lot of chilies and a bowl of hot rice.
2.5-3 lbs beef hocks, washed, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
1 bulb garlic, minced
2 tbsps minced ginger
3 pcs medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks tanglad leaves
3 pcs fresh chili peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c olive oil and ¼ c annatto oil
Heat olive and annatto oil in a stockpot. Sauté garlic until brown. Remove half of the toasted garlic and set aside for garnishing.
Add minced ginger and chopped tomatoes. Continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Add beef hocks and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Pour water, about 25 percent more than the level of beef hocks. Add whole peppercorns.
Cover the stockpot and set fire to high.
Add fresh chili peppers. Lower heat and simmer till beef hocks are tender.
Add salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted garlic and chopped onion.
Serve with more fresh chillies on the side. Add bok choy if you wish.
Chef Chino San José (of Chippens Davao) was first introduced to balbacua during his college years.
“When the liquor ban struck in Davao and we could no longer drink, we flocked to Bulcachong to have Bulcachong—balbacua made with carabao meat,” he said.
Chef Chino said balbacua cures a hangover, and is a preferred dish to serve on a rainy day or when feeling under the weather: “There’s something about it that is truly comforting.”
½ k ox feet
½ k ox tail
1 liter water
130 ml sukang tuba (reserve 30 ml for deglazing)
60 g salt
20 ml Canola oil
100 g shallots, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch-long fresh turmeric or luyang dilaw, crushed
1-inch-long fresh ginger, crushed
1 whole lemongrass, bruised
2 liters beef stock
3 whole star anise
3 tbsp salted black beans
(washed and drained )
2 tbsp annato oil
Boil the ox feet and ox tail with water, salt and sukang tuba for 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of unwanted smell and to release the scum from the bones. Drain and rinse off impurities that might remain. Do not skip this step; this will give you a cleaner-tasting, well-seasoned balbacua.
Sweat shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and lemongrass to release the flavors and aroma. Cook until the shallots are translucent.
Deglaze pan with sukang tuba, add the ox tail and ox feet.
Pour beef stock, just enough to cover the ox feet and tail.
Simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours. It is very important not to rush the cooking process to give you the most flavor and that signature thick, almost gelatinous broth.
Once the broth is thick and the meat tender, add the black beans, star anise and annatto oil. Simmer for another 30 minutes. You may need to add water or stock if the broth gets too thick.
Season with patis and a few drops of calamansi juice to taste.
The acidity of the calamansi will cut through the richness of the dish.
Garnish with spring onions and siling labuyo. Serve hot with rice.