Your favorite road-side food made easily, deliciously and homey. This homemade Beef Pares becomes meltingly tender after a few hours of slow cooking. The sauce is rich and flavorful but not too starchy. Serve it with plain rice or garlic rice then top with green onions and toasted garlic.
My love affair with beef pares started quite a bit late in my life. College days to be exact. I have never had it growing up. My Mama’s Beef Caldereta, a tomato-based stew, is partly to blame. We love it too much that we didn’t that there are other beef stew dishes out there waiting to be explored.
So when my college friends introduced me to Beef Pares, it was an instant fascination. The unique flavor and the aroma was unfamiliar to my caldereta-loving taste buds. Why haven’t I had this before? Interestingly, it was served with garlic fried rice and beef broth. I later learned that the trio always comes together when served hence the name Beef Pares, which means ‘beef paired with”.
More Filipino meat dishes
What cut of meat should be used for beef pares?
Beef cuts sold for stew that are tough, lean and collagen-rich are best for beef pares. When slowly simmered in liquid, it becomes oh-so-tender and flavorful. In this recipe, I used beef brisket. Other cuts that are good are chuck, cross-cut shanks.
What do we need to make a flavorful and delicious Beef Pares?
If you ever had Chinese braised beef before, you will then come to realize that it resembles the flavor of Beef pares. Hence, the ingredients to make the sauce are almost identical. Special mention to star anise, which gives the distinct flavor of both stews.
Traditional Beef Pares don’t use hoisin sauce but the addition of it made a HUGE difference to the overall flavor of the dish. Finding it shouldn’t be too difficult nowadays. In fact, it should be on the same rack as the popular Chinese sauces like oyster sauce and soy sauce in the supermarket, Asian stores. It is also available in online shops.
How to make the sauce thick and rich without being ‘STARCHY’
Typically, cornstarch is used to make the beef pares sauce thick and glossy. In this recipe, the beef will be coated with flour then seared in hot oil until all sides are brown. This technique not only enhances the flavor of the sauce but also thickens it without being too starchy.
Cook the flour-coated beef in batches so it can be properly browned and steamed. The brown bits from the flour and beef is where all the flavor lies. Thereafter, set the heat to low then stir-fry the aromatics such as garlic and ginger.
Although you can use a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time of Beef Pares, slowly braising it in the sauce is worth the wait. If you have the time to spend, cook it slowly and gently with occasional stirring. The beef will be meltingly tender and the sauce will be rich and full of flavor by the time you finish cooking.
Finally, serve it ‘Pares way’ or just with rice and all the important toppings
In most ‘Pares Houses’ the broth used is a plain beef broth. In this recipe, we are using the actual ‘pares’ broth as the soup. Hence, the extra amount of liquid needed. You can skip this entirely and add less beef broth. Not to worry, the sauce will not be diluted. Simmering it without the lid will reduce it to a thicker sauce and all the flavors will be MAGNIFIED.
If you don’t prefer serving this with soup, lessen the amount of water at about two cups.
Adding the toasted garlic and green onions on top is a classic Filipino style. Both are our favorite toppings in soup dishes and especially Arroz Caldo
Watch the video on how to make Beef Pares
Homemade Beef Pares
- 600 grams/ 1 1/2 pounds beef brisket* cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup flour
- cooking oil
- 1/4 cup minced garlic divided
- 1 inch ginger peeled then sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 piece star anise
- 2 pieces bay leaf/laurel leaf
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 to 3 cups water* add more if needed for soup
- ground black pepper to taste
- green onions thinly sliced
- Dredge the beef in the flour using a zip bag. Shake it until all of the meat is coated with the flour (see video).
- Heat oil in a medium size pot. Add the beef and cook until all sides are brown. Do not overcrowd the pot, cook the beef in batches then transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add a little more oil into the pot. Saute half of the garlic and ginger together for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the beef back. Lightly stir with the aromatics, scraping off all the browned bits. This makes the sauce even more flavorful!
- Pour the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin sauce. Add the laurel or bay leaves and star anise. Stir to coat the meat with the sauce and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat.
- Pour the beef stock and water. Cover with lid and let it boil for 15 minutes over medium heat. Remove the scum as it rises. After this, scoop out 1 to 2 cups of the flavored broth for your soup. Set it aside and then just reheat later on. You can skip this step entirely if you wish.
- Set the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 90 minutes until beef is tender and pulls apart easily. Stir occasionally.Meanwhile, in a small pan. Add oil and remaining garlic bits. Set heat to med-low. Saute the garlic until it turns light brown. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
- Once the beef is meltingly tender, season with black pepper. Continue simmering without the lid until the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened. This would take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on how rich you want the sauce.
- Serve over warm plain or garlic rice and soup. Topped with toasted garlic bits and green onions. Enjoy!
- Beef cuts sold for stew that are tough, lean and collagen-rich are best for beef pares. Recommended cuts are beef brisket, chuck or cross-cut shanks.
- Traditional Beef Pares don’t use hoisin sauce but the addition of it made a HUGE difference to the overall flavor of the dish. It should be on the same rack as the popular Chinese sauces like oyster sauce and soy sauce in the supermarket and Asian stores. It is also available in online shops.
- Although you can use a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time of Beef Pares, slowly braising it in the sauce is worth the wait. If you have the time to spend, cook it slowly and gently with occasional stirring.
- If you don’t prefer serving this with soup, reduce the amount of water by 1 to 2 cups.
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