Learn how to make a delicious and flavorful Beef Nilaga in a pressure cooker. You can have this delicious beef soup with meltingly tender beef and, perfectly cooked (not mushy) vegetables in just under an hour!
Beef Nilaga is the Filipinos version of clear beef soup. Unlike other Asian beef soup, this one is loaded with healthy vegetables.
Potato, green beans and cabbage are the staples while corn and carrots are sometimes added to bring some natural sweetness to the soup. I personally love using baby corn instead of regular-size corn. It’s not only easier to eat but also gives a pleasant crunch. A perfect compliment to the meltingly tender beef chunks.
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What cut of meat should be used for beef nilaga?
Beef cuts sold for stew that are tough, lean and collagen-rich are best for beef soup. In this recipe, I used cheap beef cuts and tendon. Tendon gives the soup a melt-in-your-mouth texture and richer beef flavor.
How to make a flavorful Beef Nilaga in a Pressure Cooker
The typical cooking time of beef nilaga is around two hours, sometimes more, using a regular stove-top pot. The goal is to make the beef chunks delicately tender and for the soup to develop that rich beef flavor.
Do you know that you can do all that in less than an hour with a pressure cooker?
Start off by soaking the meat in cold water. This step helps release the blood from the meat which results in a clearer broth. Drain the meat well and discard the water.
To develop the umami flavor, saute the beef with the aromatics such as garlic and onion. Pour the fish sauce then stir to coat the beef with the seasonings. Let it simmer for a minute or two.
The here key is seasoning the meat at the beginning of cooking and not at the end. The flavor of the beef, aromatics and fish sauce concentrates during cooking, delivering a more full-flavored soup.
Essential ingredients to make a flavorful Beef Nilaga
- fish sauce
- black peppercorn
When the fish sauce and aromatics has completely enveloped the meat, add water and begin pressure cooking. It took 30 minutes for the beef chunks to tenderize in my oldy yet trusty pressure cooker. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the pressure cooker vessel.
To prevent mushing the vegetables, cook it separately from the beef. Boil it in the broth after the meat has tenderized or pressure cook it for 3 to 4 mins.
Finally, cook the soft vegetables such as baby corn, green beans, and cabbage or your choice of leafy greens using the normal cooking method (not pressurized). Doing this retains the crunchy texture and the beautiful bright color of the vegetables.
As with any Filipino dish, Beef Nilaga is best eaten with rice and more patis or fish sauce.
Watch how to make Beef Nilaga in a Pressure Cooker
- 900 grams/2 pounds beef chuck and tendon (cut into cubes)
- cooking oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons whole black pepper
- salt (to taste)
- 3 potatoes (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 150 grams green beans (around 16 pieces)
- 1 whole sliced cabbage (or choice of leafy greens)
- 6 cups water (add more if needed)
- Soak the chunks of beef in cold water for 30 minutes to release the blood. Drain well.
- Heat oil in the pressure cooker pot. Saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Note: You can also do this step in a separate shallow pan if preferred just like I did.
- Add beef chunks. Stir and cook until no longer pink. Pour fish sauce, simmer for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add sugar and black peppercorn. Lightly stir.
- Add water. Place and lock the lid. Set the heat to high until cooker begins to simmer and steam comes out of the nozzle. Reduce the heat, pressure cook for 25 to 30 minutes until meat is tender. Cooking time begins when the cooker begins to simmer. Note: If using an electric pressure cooker, please follow directions from the user manual.
- Release the pressure after 30 minutes. Use cold water release for stove-top pressure cooker. If using an electric pressure cooker, please follow directions from the user manual.
- Skim off scum and extra fat from the surface. Next, add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with lid. Cook until vegetables are fork tender which takes about 10 to 12 mins. For faster cooking time, you can also pressure cook for another 4 mins.
- Add baby corn and green beans. Simmer for 3 minutes. At this point, taste the broth and adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Finally, add cabbage or your choice of leafy greens. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately with rice. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the pressure cooker vessel. It took 30 minutes for the beef chunks to tenderize in my oldy yet trusty pressure cooker.
- To prevent mushing the vegetables, cook it separately from the beef. Boil it in the broth after the meat has tenderized or pressure cook it for NOT MORE THAN 4 mins.
- Other vegetable variations: cabbage, bok choi, saba bananas, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, and sweet potato. Adjust cooking time accordingly depending on the vegetables you are going to use.
- If you want to skip chopping the vegetables, use frozen mixed vegetables. Add it after the meat is tenderized. Cook it in the broth for a couple of minutes and you're done!
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