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Beef Caldereta/ Kalderetang Baka (Spicy Beef Stew)

Monday, November 03, 2014Enz F

I reminisce the happy days with my late grandmother and I am not ashamed to admit that I was once a lola’s boy (grandma’s boy). Aside from numerous photos kept vibrant by her fondest memories, my grandma left me wonderful legacies that I still continue to relive up to these days. When mom died when I was only five, grandma never left by my side. Those days when she was supposed to retire and to slow down because of her age, she chose to become a mother to me and to my siblings. She might not be the best cook but she cooked very well. The best flavoring ingredient that she had always carried with her was her undying love for us. It would always show every time she would prepare a dish for us. My greatest regret was not being able to document every piece of her recipes. All I can do now is to come across the old memories and rely on what I can still remember by heart. This blog just serves a wonderful purpose. I dearly miss her every day and all the magnificent dishes she cooked for us.

“Caldereta” is a Spanish word which means “cauldron” or a large cooking pot.
One of grandma’s dishes that I would love to immortalize is her Kalderetang Baka (Beef Caldereta). It was one of her specialty dishes and she would always cook it on significant events and family gatherings. Caldereta or kaldereta is a popular spicy meat stew usually prepared by Filipinos on special occasions and festivities. The dish is traditionally cooked with goat’s meat and stewed along with tomatoes, potatoes, bell and hot peppers, carrots, green peas and mashed liver or liver paste. They say goat’s meat tastes similar to lamb but since goat is not widely commercialized in grocery stores and local meat markets, other variations such as beef, chicken and pork have emerged. “Caldereta” is a Spanish word which means “cauldron” referring to a large cooking pot used to stew the meat. It is believed that Filipinos have inherited the dish from the Spanish settlers when they colonized the Philippines for more than 300 years. There is a Spanish stew known with the same name but it is composed of seafood and lobsters instead of animal meat. Filipino caldereta is a special dish of the Tagalog Region in Luzon, Philippines. The meat replacement might be due to the availability of animal meat during that time since goats and cattle are commonly farmed in the said province.

Through this dish, I am immortalizing the memories of grandma.
Caldereta requires time and patience in cooking the meat. I remember grandma never used pressure cooker because she preferred to slowly cook the meat until fork tender. According to her, the meat tenderized the traditional way are tastier and more infused with flavors.

The traditional slow-cooking is, according to grandma, the best way to tenderize the beef.
I tried my best to recreate grandma’s most treasured caldereta and I am glad that it turned out exceptional, very close to how it supposed to taste and to look like. With the outcome of my own version of caldereta, I am pretty sure that there is one grandma above who is now very proud of her grandson.
Beef Caldereta/ Kalderetang Baka (Spicy Beef Stew)
Number of Servings: 5

  • 2 lbs. beef brisket, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 8.8 oz. (250 g) tomato sauce
  • 2.4 oz. (70 g) tomato paste
  • ½ cup liver spread or liver paste (see tips)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 pcs. calamansi limes
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red onions, sliced
  • 3 pcs. potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 pcs. small carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 2 pcs. small red bell pepper, julienned
  • ½ cup green peas in can, drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 pcs. (or more) bird’s eye chilies, minced
  • salt to taste
  • ½ cup grated cheese (optional)
  • 2 tbsps. butter
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil

  1. In a large container, combined together the soy sauce, juice of calamansi and peppercorns. Add the beef chops and toss to coat with marinade sauce. Leave covered to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the cooking oil and butter in a large saucepan. Quickly stir-fry the carrots and potatoes. Transfer the carrots and potatoes on a plate and set aside.
  3. On the same pan, saute garlic and onions until very fragrant. Add the beef together with the marinade sauce, bird’s eye chilies and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the beef turns light brown.
  4. Pour water just enough to cover the beef and bring to a boil. Divide the tomato sauce and tomato paste into two. Add the first half of the sauce and paste in the pan and set aside the remaining half. Mix all the ingredients in the pan until well blended. Set the heat to simmer to slowly cook the beef for 1.5 to 2 hours. Add more water if necessary. If using a pressure cooker, it may take no less than 45 minutes.
  5. Once the beef is tender, add the remaining half of tomato sauce and paste. Add the liver spread or paste and continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the red bell pepper and the stir-fried carrots and potatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is real thick. Add and mix the grated cheese. Remove from heat and transfer in a serving platter. Serve warm along with plenty of steamed rice. Enjoy!

  1. To make your own liver paste, you will need ½ lb. chicken liver. Trim the connective tissue off the edge of the liver and wash under running water. Season the chicken liver with salt and pepper and lightly fry just enough until the color turns pale. Place the barely cooked chicken livers in blender or food processor and puree until very smooth. Set aside until needed.
  2. As mentioned, you can use any type of animal meat in cooking caldereta. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the type of meat.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe. This is my all time favorite filipino food. I will a find to cook Beef Caldereta this weekend.

  2. I'm glad you like it! It is one of my grandma's specialties. I am glad I was able to put my own twist to it. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. thank you for sharing this great dish with us, i love it, my wife will actually cook it to day, i am german, my lovly wife is from Manila/Malate-Bulacan. I just love philippin food.


    1. Thank you for the kind words. It feels great receiving this kind of appreciation from a non-Filipino foodie. I have to say your wife must be a wonderful cook. :)

  4. Just finished cooking. The taste is amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe :)

    1. Thank you for the great comments! I am glad that you enjoyed the dish. :)

  5. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have long wanted to cook kaldereta and have tried other recipes but they.didn't taste or even look right, but when I tried this it came out great. Now I can say I can finally cook kaldereta. Salamat

  6. Hi,
    Can i use Reno Liver Spread? Thank you for your response! :)

  7. Out of all recipes I've checked out this is the closest I've found to my dad's caldereta. Super authentic. Appreciate your time and energy!

  8. May I share this recipe in my blog? I've used it several times because it tastes so good!!! just the way beef caldereta should be. The fam and friends love it!!!

    1. Sure, you may. Don't forget to add links back to my blog. Thanks!

  9. Beef that i really wish somehow to make one day, thanks for your blog I am excited to try this recipe tomorrow :)

  10. I've been looking for caldereta like my Lola's recipe and I think this is the closest. The thickness of the sauce is really good! The only difference is, she adds pickle juice instead of kalamansi. She boils the meat with the juice, but I couldnt figure out how much juice she puts in there. Trying this with kalamansi made me realized that maybe I only need a little bit of pickle juice as much as the amount of kalamansi you add in here. But I tried this and it was really good! Everyone in the family loved it!

  11. This is really good! I've tried other recipes before but so far this is the closest thing to what my mother used to make. Thank you for sharing. More power to your blog!

  12. Found this on the internet and I'm cooking it right now for my siblings! It's my first time cooking Caldereta and your recipe is easy to follow. Thank you!

  13. Thanks for this. Will cook this xmas since my father requested for it. Hope it will come out well. Not much exprience in the kitchen. 😊

  14. Thanks for this. Will cook this xmas since my father requested for it. Hope it will come out well. Not much exprience in the kitchen. 😊

  15. Should i put nestle cream for a twist?? My Auntie used coconut milk instead..

  16. Super yummey and tasty!=) I don't think i'm a good cook but this one is a winner. I'm using this Caldereta recipe always at hindi nakakasawa..Thank you!

  17. I always use your recipe whenever i cook Caldereta... so delicious... thank you for the recipe!

  18. thank you for sharing i tried making this dish at the end it was salty i dont want to waste the dish im thinking what remedy to lessen the salt i did use sharp cheddar cheese.

  19. I just started to learn cooking and everytime I feel like cooking calderta, I always google for this one. I have been using this recipe for nearly 3 years now... :) Thanks!


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