If you ask any Filipino out there in the world about their favorite comfort food, they’ll probably mention a traditional Filipino soup recipe like sinigang, bulalo, or nilagang baboy. I know growing up, these recipes are the ones I always look forward to after a long day at school or whenever the day’s cold or raining. There’s just something about the distinct richness of the broths that gives their flavors the taste of home.
Of course, as an adult, I’m now striving to taste those delicious flavors in trying out Filipino soup recipes and one of those, in particular, are nilagang baboy recipes. I’m sure everyone has that moment of trying to imitate something they had in their childhood, those lucky enough to have their parents or other guardians cookings for them probably can’t escape that feeling as well.
I like to focus on the recipe of nilagang baboy as I think it got one of the easiest Filipino recipes to follow and it’s an easy recipe to prep, cook, put together, serve, even when you’re living alone. Every region in the Philippines and every household has its own version of nilagang baboy and that’s why I’m pretty sure it’s one of Filipinos ultimate comfort food. You’ll just know when the dish of nilagang baboy wasn’t cooked by your mom or grandma or whoever cooked for you growing up.
With that said, nilagang baboy is quite simple to cook and I have my own recipe below that you can follow. I’m sure you’ll make adjustments throughout the cooking process to give yourself that extra little bit of flavor that speaks home to you.
Again, nilagang baboy is quite easy to prepare and cook. You just throw in all your recipes in a pot of boiling water, wait for it to cook, and you can serve! It may sound uncomplicated but I think that’s the point. The combination of the delicious local ingredients along with the pork creates this homey dish with a delicious and healthy broth along with its many vegetables.
You can choose any vegetable ingredients you want. You can also opt to replace the pork with beef if that’s what you prefer, either one of those two types of meat will do or you can even put them together. I think the best cuts are the pork belly for that meatier texture but if you’re looking for more flavor, go for the spare ribs or pork shoulders.
I’m also using a variety of vegetables in this nilagang baboy recipe, of course, you can pick and choose which vegetables you prefer according to your taste. I leaned more towards pechay, cabbages, some corn, and potatoes to keep it simple. I’ll be adding some fish sauce and peppercorn later during the cooking process for seasoning. Of course, you can’t forget the onion.
Listing those ingredients already got my tastebuds singing. For the cooking process, again, nilagang baboy is basically just adding all the recipes in a boiling pot of water.
Check out the Nilaga section here on the 13 Traditional Filipino Ways of Cooking.
The meat should is the first to go in the boiling water and we need to wait until it’s tender, scooping out the scum that floats up in the process. Once the meat is tender and ready, it’s just a matter of adding the rest of the ingredients in and seasoning. Wait for everything to cook and we’re ready to serve our nilagang baboy.
Of course, with a lot of our traditional Filipino recipes, nilagang baboy is best served with fluffy hot rice and its best enjoyed during a cold day. The rich warm broth will fill us with warmth while the meat and vegetables provide us with much-needed nutrition and dynamic textures within the dish. It’s a great recipe to start from, evolve, and pass down through generations.
Nilagang Baboy Recipe
Nilagang Baboy Recipe
- 1 1/2 lbs pork ribs or belly or beef
- 1 small bundle bokchoy / pechay
- 1 small head cabbage quartered
- 1 medium onion quartered or sliced
- 6-7 cups water
- 2 pieces potatoes quartered (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce patis
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- In a stock pot, simmer the beef shank for at least an hour or until tender.
- Remove the scum that rises above the soup. Add more hot water if necessary.
- When meat is fork tender, add the onion, salt, whole peppercorn, potatoes and corn. Let stand for 5-8 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, chinese cabbage and bokchoy. Season with fish sauce according to taste.
- Remove from heat. Serve hot. Enjoy!