Bulalo (Filipino Beef Marrow Stew)

Bulalo - filipino beef marrow soup with corn

Still clinging to the last vestiges of spring and the unusually cool weather we’ve been having, I wanted to break out my pressure cooker for one last hurrah before summer fully sets in. This dish comes from a country where the average temperature rarely falls below 80 degrees, making Bulalo a filling stew that’s deceptively light. Perfect, even in warmer weather.

Native to the Southern Luzon region of the Philippines, Bulalo is a light colored soup that’s made rich by cooking beef shanks and beef marrow bones for hours, until much of the collagen and fat has melted into the clear broth. The seasonings vary from chef to chef with some using only salt and black pepper while other variations call for patis, bay leaves or even garlic. But at its core, Bulalo a simple cattleman’s stew, best made in a large cauldron with whatever veggies are growing near by.

In that respect, it’s actually quite similar to the Mexican beef stew, Caldo de Res, which is not entirely surprising given the 250 years of trade that occurred between the two countries while under Spanish rule.

Bulalo in the making with beef shanks, beef marrow bones, onions and baby garlic

To get the soup extra clear, I’ve employed a two boil technique that uses a short boil to remove all the impurities from the beef, followed by a long simmer to extract all the flavour from the meat and bones. The pressure cooker, cuts the cooking time by about two thirds, but if you have the time/patience you can also do this in a large heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven.

For the veggies, I’ve used corn, sayote, and baby bok choy, but I’ve also seen this made with pechay (chinese cabbage), green beans, potatoes, carrots, etc.

Bulalo

2 lbs marrow bones cut to expose marrow on one end
1 lb beef shank with meat
1 onion quartered
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 Tbs patis (fish sauce)
salt to taste
2 cobs of corn cut into 1.5″ segments
1 sayote (chayote) peeled and cubed
3 baby bok choy, leaves separated

Boil a large pot of water. Add the marrow bones and beef shank and return to a boil. Continue boiling until you don’t see any more red blood coming from the meat or bones (about 10 minutes), then remove the meat and bones with tongs and scrub under cold water to remove any scum. Dump the water in the pot out and rinse the pot. This process rids the meat of excess blood and will ensure your soup is nice and clear.

Return the cleaned meat and bones to the pot then add the onion, garlic, peppercorns and patis. Cover with water then bring it to a rolling boil and skim off any scum that accumulates.

Reduce the heat to medium low. If you are using a pressure cooker, afix the lid and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours. If you’re not using a pressure cooker, simmer until the meat on the shank is fork tender (4-5 hours). Skim off any excessive fat from the top but do not remove it all (remember, fat=flavour). Transfer the meat and bones to a bowl, then strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve, discard the solids then return the meat and bones to the strained stock.

Add the corn and chayote and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the chayote is tender. Salt to taste, then add the bok choy at the last minute. Serve with rice.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    i am so envious of your clear soup. Mine always tunr out foggy, but incredibly delicious. I suppose I do not boil my bones for long enough during the scrubbing process. The soup is SO clear.

    I also like the green garlic. ;)

    • kolokoy

      this would never be the real picture of this dish! in order for the picture to appear good, they added water, raw onion and raw garlic for the effect :(

      • Cocoy

        Actually, one can attain a clear broth… it’s actually an art how to make broth this clear. It’s the art of slow cooking–no hard boils, just little simmer for a long period of time. For the Vietnamese pho broth, the final broth is strained in 4 to 6 layers of cloth (cheese cloth). I do the same for my bulalo broth and what you’ll get is this elegant, expensive-looking, aromatic and flavourful 5 star-restaurant style broth. Try it.

        • Anonymous

          Just to clear this up, I think kolokoy was confused, They’re looking at the photo before it was cooked, which is why there’s a raw onion and garlic in it (2nd one from the top). The photo at the top is the finished product without any changes. Straining the soup works too, but it’s a lot easier if you prevent the soup from getting cloudy to begin with. This can be achieved by doing a pre-boil and then dumping the murky water before cooking the bones and meat as specified in the steps above.

          • Mo Derby

            We have recently acquired Phillopino run Asian shop in the uk East Midlands and I saw packs of Bulalo in the freezer – I have now fund your useful recipes and blogs and am going to have a go next week end – I am nearly 80 wish me luck!!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    i am so envious of your clear soup. Mine always tunr out foggy, but incredibly delicious. I suppose I do not boil my bones for long enough during the scrubbing process. The soup is SO clear.

    I also like the green garlic. ;)

    • kolokoy

      this would never be the real picture of this dish! in order for the picture to appear good, they added water, raw onion and raw garlic for the effect :(

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Ooh, bone marrow soup. I feel like this is almost a subversive dish in this day and age of raw this and acai berry that. Well done for making it look beautiful, it certainly sounds delicious, I bet the flavour is out of this world. Had to google chayote, we call them choko over thisaway. They’re hardly a well-known vegetable but my grandad used to grow them – they’re delicious!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Ooh, bone marrow soup. I feel like this is almost a subversive dish in this day and age of raw this and acai berry that. Well done for making it look beautiful, it certainly sounds delicious, I bet the flavour is out of this world. Had to google chayote, we call them choko over thisaway. They’re hardly a well-known vegetable but my grandad used to grow them – they’re delicious!

  • http://www.macheesmo.com/ Nick

    Wow. That looks amazing. Bone marrow is one my favorite things. This basically looks like a beefed up (ha) version of beef stock.

    I could see how this could work just fine in warmer weather.

  • http://www.macheesmo.com Nick

    Wow. That looks amazing. Bone marrow is one my favorite things. This basically looks like a beefed up (ha) version of beef stock.

    I could see how this could work just fine in warmer weather.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ maybelles mom

    Looks wonderful. Even though I am Indian (and they are a pressure cooker obsessed lot) I have a slight fear of them. Maybe this is the year to get over that–because the broth looks wonderful.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom

    Looks wonderful. Even though I am Indian (and they are a pressure cooker obsessed lot) I have a slight fear of them. Maybe this is the year to get over that–because the broth looks wonderful.

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blotspot.com/ Gina

    I love caldo de rez! I’ve never had the Filipino version. I’ve been thinking about making it sometime soon; I’ve been scoping out beef shanks. Thanks for the recipe!

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blotspot.com Gina

    I love caldo de rez! I’ve never had the Filipino version. I’ve been thinking about making it sometime soon; I’ve been scoping out beef shanks. Thanks for the recipe!

  • http://blog.american-otaku.com/ alecho

    nice… soup looks clear, simple, clean and tasty. Sometimes I crave for soups like this. yum!

  • http://blog.american-otaku.com alecho

    nice… soup looks clear, simple, clean and tasty. Sometimes I crave for soups like this. yum!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You had me at “bu”. ;D

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You had me at “bu”. ;D

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  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Yay for Filipino recipes! You’ve certainly employed a technique that’s new to me– most home cooks I know don’t care about the clarity, heh. But it does make for a very attractive soup. And mind you, it may not get actually cold, but it does rain hard sometimes– that’s cold enough for us to break out the soup! :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Yay for Filipino recipes! You’ve certainly employed a technique that’s new to me– most home cooks I know don’t care about the clarity, heh. But it does make for a very attractive soup. And mind you, it may not get actually cold, but it does rain hard sometimes– that’s cold enough for us to break out the soup! :)

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  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    That’s definitely a new one for me. Sounds very unique and great flavors!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    That’s definitely a new one for me. Sounds very unique and great flavors!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I do not need to read a recipe here, the photo speaks for this bowl of yummy goodness! Love the corn, so now gotta make some corn on the cob!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I do not need to read a recipe here, the photo speaks for this bowl of yummy goodness! Love the corn, so now gotta make some corn on the cob!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    This is new, the flavours must be wonderful with the bone marrow. I just got my pressure cooker a week ago actually. Loving it.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    This is new, the flavours must be wonderful with the bone marrow. I just got my pressure cooker a week ago actually. Loving it.

  • AZ hiding in the weeds

    The secret to a clear broth is never let your soup come to a rolling boil, it must be held at a simmer. When I cook meat for tamales (usually pork or beef with garlic, onion, and peppercorns) I cook it overnight on very low heat and I constantly skim the stock as it cooks, and my stock is always crystal clear.

  • AZ hiding in the weeds

    The secret to a clear broth is never let your soup come to a rolling boil, it must be held at a simmer. When I cook meat for tamales (usually pork or beef with garlic, onion, and peppercorns) I cook it overnight on very low heat and I constantly skim the stock as it cooks, and my stock is always crystal clear.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

    OMG Marc, this is remind me of my favorite soup when I was growing up. Delicious, we would eat this hot steam rice and of course the chili sambal. YUMMY!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    OMG Marc, this is remind me of my favorite soup when I was growing up. Delicious, we would eat this hot steam rice and of course the chili sambal. YUMMY!

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com/ enrisa marie

    Gosh, you can cook bulalo better than I do :) True, Philippine cuisine has a lot of Mexican + Spanish influence in it. When you visit the Philippines, I recommend that you go to Tagaytay for that ultimate bulalo experience. :)

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    Gosh, you can cook bulalo better than I do :) True, Philippine cuisine has a lot of Mexican + Spanish influence in it. When you visit the Philippines, I recommend that you go to Tagaytay for that ultimate bulalo experience. :)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    wow – you really did this justice. looks really delicious. oh my god… me wants now. this is ridic that you can justify making a stew in june! this weather blows… but that bulalo most definitely doesn’t

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    wow – you really did this justice. looks really delicious. oh my god… me wants now. this is ridic that you can justify making a stew in june! this weather blows… but that bulalo most definitely doesn’t

  • http://allkfcrecipes.blogspot.com/ Fried Chicken Recipes

    I loved ur blog. Hard work always pays off.
    I also love cooking.

  • http://allkfcrecipes.blogspot.com Fried Chicken Recipes

    I loved ur blog. Hard work always pays off.
    I also love cooking.

  • http://www.foodista.com/ Alisa

    Wow!love the clear broth!Thanks for the tip,I’d love to make this soon!

  • http://www.foodista.com Alisa

    Wow!love the clear broth!Thanks for the tip,I’d love to make this soon!

  • http://pinoyfrugalliving.com/ Alma

    I am filipino by the way and I am happy to know you have featured one of our very own favorite dish. Marc, isn’t the marrow the same as the shank cut?

    • marc

      Technically they come from the same part of the cow (leg), but marrow bones are typically stripped of their meat and longer while a cross cut shank is the meat and bone cut together.

  • http://pinoyfrugalliving.com Alma

    I am filipino by the way and I am happy to know you have featured one of our very own favorite dish. Marc, isn’t the marrow the same as the shank cut?

    • marc

      Technically they come from the same part of the cow (leg), but marrow bones are typically stripped of their meat and longer while a cross cut shank is the meat and bone cut together.

  • Mindit

    Hi Marc! I’m Filipino and I’m an avid follower of your blog. Kudos for featuring a great Filipino recipe like the bulalo, and kudos too for the technique on making the soup extra clear. That can be the tricky part for a beef-based dish such as this. More power!

  • Mindit

    Hi Marc! I’m Filipino and I’m an avid follower of your blog. Kudos for featuring a great Filipino recipe like the bulalo, and kudos too for the technique on making the soup extra clear. That can be the tricky part for a beef-based dish such as this. More power!

  • http://www.thephilippineisland.com/ The Philippine Island

    This kind of bulalo looks very delicious. Thank you for sharing this great article. It is very useful for those who loves cooking.

  • http://www.thephilippineisland.com/ The Philippine Island

    This kind of bulalo looks very delicious. Thank you for sharing this great article. It is very useful for those who loves cooking.

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  • Asawa

    Thanks for the yummy recipe! My parents butchered a cow last week and I got the shanks – this was absolutely delicious and my (chef) husband loved it. He said the flavors reminded him of his grandparents’ cooking in his childhood. First time I ever ate chayote fruit (we eat the green shoots here). I’ll definately make it again, and p.s. the broth does come out that clear!

  • Asawa

    Thanks for the yummy recipe! My parents butchered a cow last week and I got the shanks – this was absolutely delicious and my (chef) husband loved it. He said the flavors reminded him of his grandparents’ cooking in his childhood. First time I ever ate chayote fruit (we eat the green shoots here). I’ll definately make it again, and p.s. the broth does come out that clear!

  • http://www.bestpressurecookerreviews.com/ Ann of Pressure Cooker Reviews

    Seeing this picture make me miss the bulalo from Batangas…where I am originally from…Here in US, I cook mine in my pressure cooker too…definitely faster but tastier and flavorful.

  • Didi McKeague-Foster

    Stayed with my parents for about three months and the shanks I purchased in the filipino store were enormous. Needless to say, mom made the soup and I was in heaven. She also adds sherry but I don't know at what point. I had a dish of plain steamed rice on the side and scarfed for breakfast and lunch the next day…Mom said I better learn how to make it- she's 80 years old.

  • Jackolero

    nakakagutom po!!!

  • JOWJOW

    IM HUNGRY!!

  • yhow

    yeah i like bulalo and i like to zip the marrow shet..,,, hhhhmmmnnn….

  • Brian

    Amerikano ako. I went to the Philippines with my wife last year and fell in love with the food. This recipe is as good or better than any bulalo I had over there. I am becoming a pinoy chef now LOL. I am thinking about adding some shaved ginger root. What do you all think?

    • Pinoystyle711

      i’m a chef and own a resto…..here in Central Texas, not a bad idea it is going to add some flavor to it….but down side is it will not be named BULALO anymore since you add ginger it’s going to be NILAGANG BAKA now…for you’re own used i guess it’s ok…good luck though…and SALAMAT for giving a chance our PILIPINO dishes…..ENJOY

    • Pinoystyle711

      i’m a chef and own a resto…..here in Central Texas, not a bad idea it is going to add some flavor to it….but down side is it will not be named BULALO anymore since you add ginger it’s going to be NILAGANG BAKA now…for you’re own used i guess it’s ok…good luck though…and SALAMAT for giving a chance our PILIPINO dishes…..ENJOY

      • Edwin

         Yes, adding the ginger will change the recipe, otherwise, the Bulalo recipe above is the traditional method I use.  Love this dish, hot or cold weather!

    • phillip

      Bulalo with ginger is famous in the province of Cebu

  • Anonymous

    Maybe not the most traditional thing to add, but I say go for it! I think it
    will compliment the beefy flavor nicely:-)

  • Edslowhand

    Hello! My name is Edwin and I’m also a chef currently residing here in Toronto, Canada. Been here for more than 2 decades and my roots are from Angeles City, Pampanga. I’ve acquired my late father’s secret recipe in preparing the real tasty Capampangan Bulalo. No offense to anybody, but my best advice for a much more tastier recipe is to refrain from using pressure cooker, not only forces the blood out from the bones(the taste) a lot quicker, and a lot more different taste to it than using a palayok with lump charcoal. Since all chefs have secret recipes, this is one of my tips I can share. Enjoy and more power to you guys!

    • cherry pauline

      hi :D since you are a capampangan… i just find it unusual for bulalo to have sayote? isn’t it? hehe. just a thought.

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  • Jushinjungwest

    hi guy’s does anyone here know’s how to cook butt & balls of the cow? thanks guys

  • Skin_peeling

    I have a Bulalo house in Cavite…and one in tagaytay..different styles yet the core end..zip soup delicious bulalo!

  • Faisal

    MSARAP: please try it once and i hope u would like to eat always…very delicious and healthy….i am very thankful of my one friend who changed my eating habbits nd forsed me to eat nd like to Folipino Food.

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  • Edenshinma

    what is bok choy?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It’s a type of Chinese cabbage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_cabbage). I put it in for color but you could really use just about any green.

    • Dalefaith24

      Petchay = bokchoy
      Maliit na petchay = baby bok choy

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  • Mabel

    Hi Marc! Can I use my slow cooker with this? How long will I cook it? In auto or low temp?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Mabel, I’ve never made this in a slow cooker so I’m not really sure what settings it needs to be on. You’ll probably need to experiment to figure out the right setting/time but it’s almost impossible to over cook this, so I would let it go for quite a while. You can check it periodically, when the meat easily falls off the bone and is tender, its done. Also, if you want to get the clear broth, you’ll need to boil the bones once in a regular pot to remove the impurities.

    • Bali Indom

      best in slow cooker. for meat like this, i set it to high for 12 hours.

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  • Saluyot

    i was hoping to read more from people NOT from las islas commending the dish. but since you introduced it here, it must be a good dish for everyone else who would want to try a very tasty broth/soup. plus, this is a dish your pressure cooker would come very useful. LoL.

  • ricky javier

    much better ang taste ng bulalo pag mas matagal itong nakasalang sa apoy,kc yung lasa ng buto ng bulalo ay humahalo sa mga ibang ingredients…kaya mag blanch ka na lang ng gulay para di ma overcook,then pag ihahain mo isama mo na lang yung naka blanch na mga gulay….mas swabe po e….

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  • http://antiviruss.tumblr.com/ Russell Bautista

    This is best with patis (fish sauce) and calamansi (lime). OMG! PENGE NG KANIN (give me rice)!!! Love your broth… Hope i can make one like that. Thank you for featuring a Filipino dish here Marc. Looking forward to see more soon!

  • doc

    bulalo with sayote??hehehe anyway kanyakanyang panlasa yan…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pokwang214 Yvi De Dios

    at home i add in lots of onion leeks before serving, other than beef I put in corn, bok choi or chinese cabbage. Also a few dashes of worcestershire. Seasoning with patis is also a must for my household. We enjoy this dish with a dipping sauce (soy sauce, calamansi (lime) and chili.

  • Sandro

    Kano ako but I’ve learned to cook many filipino dishes. I just got back from Cebu city where Abuhan Dos has my favorite Pochero, which is the visayan Bulalo. I followed the recipe on this site exactly and sarap/lami! On my own plate I add calamansi/limoncito and fresh ground black pepper, but that’s just me. Tonight I cook Dinuguan! Salamat sa recipe!

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  • nhapp jose

    Im cooking this now for the first time. I dunno how so i hope this recipe is great.
    Hoping it to be “bulalo ala cham”

    Thanks!

  • chris

    My husband is French but he really like bulalo, this is the first time I’m gonna cook it for him. Hope he will love it,.. Thanks for the delicious recipe.

  • Abie TFlo

    Gonna cook this one for my husband too. Hes american but he loves this…imma cook this for him, but i think i will use whole yellow corn kernels instead.

  • Neil Vincent Ruiz Lopez

    Hi marc..anyways.. tommorow ill cook that for my dinner.. but can you also help me to figure what is the best filipino cooking for black pomfret(labahita)? Thabks and hope you can help me.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Neil, I like making escabeche with black pomfret. Just clean and salt and pepper the fish whole, dust it in flour, deep fry it and then marinate it with shredded carrots, onions, garlic, ginger patis, salt sugar and vinegar.

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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