Beef Mechado is a type of Filipino beef stew. It is cooked in a tomato-based sauce along with cubed potato. The sauce can be made from chopped ripe tomato or canned tomato sauce. This dish is prepared mostly during weekends or special occasions. I think that the cooking time is a factor for the frequency. It takes around 90 minutes to cook it completely using the traditional method. It makes sense to make it when there is enough time.
Mechado vs. Kaldereta vs. Afritada
I hear a lot of comments regarding Filipino stews looking the same. What is the difference between mechado, kaldereta, and afritada? This is a valid question. My answer is based on observation.
Mechado in general is a tomato based stew. Meats such as pork and beef are used to make this dish. The meat is cut into 1.5 x 1.5 inch cubes. The other ingredients used to cook mechado are potato, bay leaves, soy sauce, and lemon rind or lemon juice.
Kaldereta is also a Filipino beef stew. It is cooked in a tomato-based sauce. Meats such as pork, beef, goat meat and chicken can be utilized to make this dish. Other ingredients include potato, carrot, and bell peppers. There are two versions of kaldereta. One makes use of liver spread. This is the most common version. The other uses peanut butter. Some of you might not realize that this version existed. It does. Here is the recipe. Chili peppers can be added to make it spicy.
Afritada is a type of stew that commonly makes use of pork or chicken. This is the most frequently cooked dish among the three in comparison, in my opinion. Ingredients such as potato, carrot, green peas, bell pepper, and sliced hotdogs are utilized to make this dish.
These three dishes might all look similar, but there are quite a number of differences between each. The manner of preparation, protein used, cooking time, and other ingredients used will makes each dish unique.
How to Cook Beef Mechado
Cooking beef mechado is easier than you might be thinking. The first process is to saute the meat along with garlic and onion. Next is to tenderize it. The last part is to add the seasonings, spices, and other ingredients.
Start to saute by heating oil in a pot. Saute garlic and onion, and then add the beef. It is a good practice to soften the onion before adding the meat. This makes the onion taste sweeter. Add the beef and cook until all sides turn light brown. You’ll need to stir to cook the sides.
Add tomato sauce and water. Let boil. It is time to tenderize the meat. Cover the pot, adjust the heat between low to medium, and cook for 60 minutes or longer until the beef gets tender. You can add more water to prevent the sauce from drying-up during the process.
Add the remaining ingredients. Make sure to adjust the taste based on your preference. This means adding enough salt and pepper. You now have your Beef Mechado to enjoy.
Tips and Tricks
A good tip is to cook rice while waiting for the meat to tenderize. It might sound funny, but some of us are focused too much in cooking the dish to the point that other components of the meal are forgotten. This will ensure that you can enjoy your meal right after the stew is done.
Use a pressure cooker to quickly tenderize the beef. It can save you time by 70%.
Pork can also be used to cook mechado using the same recipe.
Try this Beef Mechado Recipe. Let me know what you think.
Beef Mechado Recipe
- Heat cooking oil in a pan then saute the garlic and onion.
- Put-in the beef and saute for about 3 minutes or until color turns light brown
- Add the tomato sauce and water then simmer until the meat is tender. Add water as needed. Note this can take 60 to 120 minutes depending on the quality of the beef.
- Add the soy sauce, ground black pepper, lemon rind, laurel leaves, and salt then simmer until excess liquid evaporates
- Put-in the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are soft
- Place in a serving plate then serve hot with rice. Share and Enjoy!