I couldn’t care less if what I am eating is menudo, afritada, caldereta or mechado. They are all good, period. Sometimes, my mother making do with what we have in the pantry would frankenstein a sort of hybrid dish that has pretty much everything that set these tomato-based dishes apart.
In case you too are at a loss differentiating them, here’s a helpful guide: Mechado, caldereta, menudo. Still can’t tell one from the other?
So I wasn’t the least bothered when professional mama bear Ina Estacio shared an offshoot of caldereta called bakareta. Now, I would have written this off as a spin-off or even a personal take, except it is an heirloom recipe she got from her grandmother.
What then is the difference between caldereta and bakareta? It’s all in the name. While some would insist that the former can be made with either beef or goat meat, bakareta is more specific. It uses beef, hence the “baka” in its name. That should settle it, right? But if you are not convinced, here’s the recipe. See for yourself.
For the marinade:
3/4 cup soy sauce
7 cloves garlic
4 pcs calamansi
1/4 tsp black pepper
1kg beef short ribs or cubes
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into big chunks
2 cups potatoes, peeled and sliced into big chunks
2 tsp achuete seeds
1 large red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
1 can chorizo Bilbao
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 small can pineapple chunks
1 small can liver spread
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup green pitted olives
1/2 cup sliced dill pickles
Patis or salt to taste
1. Rub garlic all over beef and add the soy sauce, calamansi and black pepper. Massage beef and marinate overnight
2. In a heavy bottom pan/pot on medium heat, pour just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for about 8 mins until slightly browned. Set aside
3. Dispense achuete seeds and fry for a few seconds until oil turns orange and seeds become darker in color. Once done, remove and discard seeds
4. Fry the red and green bell peppers for a few seconds to a minute then set aside
5. Fry the chorizo de Bilbao for a minute or two and set aside
6. Sear the beef till browned on all sides and set aside
7. In the same pan add onions, garlic and pineapple chunks with juice and return browned beef with marinade. Add just enough water to almost cover everything. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Cover and leave to braise for 2-3 hours or until meat is tender
8. When meat becomes tender, add the liver spread, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives and sliced pickles.
9. Season with patis or salt (or both) to taste
10. When you reach the desired consistency you may leave it to simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with steamed rice or your carb of choice (plantains/saba, pappardelle or gnocchi)