Kaldereta belongs to the category of comfort food in the Philippines. It is a favorite dish that is often served in weddings, birthday parties, certainly Fiestas and other special occasions. Like many other Filipino dishes, it has some Spanish influence particularly in its name which originated from the Spanish word – caldera/caldero – which means “cauldron.” It’s a tomato-based stew as many other Spanish-influenced dishes in the Philippines are, but the Filipinos gave it a unique twist by adding either liver spread, coconut milk, peanut butter and sometimes cheese for extra flavor. It is traditionally made with goats meat but more often the beef version is the most popular one though depending on one’s diet and preference you can also find “kaldereta” made with chicken or pork. Others like it spicy, while others prefer it creamy or just more tomatoey.
As you can imagine, there are so many variations of this special dish. Since hubby is not a big liver fan, I decided to make the version that’s braised in coconut milk with some peanut butter as replacement for the liver spread. I wanted a little spicy kick so I added some red chili flakes – in the Philippines, they add 1 piece of “siling labuyo” or bird’s eye chili or Thai chili to make it really spicy but feel free to use your favorite hot pepper on this. This Beef stew is flavorful already the first day but, in case you have left-overs, it’s even better the next day. Enjoy!!!
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1 Tablespoon Butter and 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 lbs / 1 kilo stewing beef, chopped into 1 ½ – 2-inch chunks,
6-8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium onions, chopped
4-5 Roma/Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon, freshly ground Black Pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons, Fish Sauce*
2 Bay leaves
1 cup Beef broth (or water)
1 can of Coconut Milk*
3-4 medium Red potatoes, chopped into 1”
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1” cubes
Additional oil for frying the potatoes and carrots
½ large Red
Bell Pepper, chopped
½ large Green
Bell Pepper, chopped
1-2 hot Chili peppers or ¼-½ teaspoon Red Chili flakes*
2-3 Tablespoons Del Monte Ketchup or tomato sauce*
4 Tablespoons, crunchy Peanut Butter
*Fish sauce adds a lot of flavor but if you don’t
have or don’t like Fish sauce just increase the salt and season the stew to
taste. Alternatively, you can use a little soy sauce for flavoring. Increase
the salt if you are using water instead of the beef broth which is
*If you wish a
thicker/creamier sauce, use only half a can of the Coconut milk in the beginning.
Add the rest of the coconut milk towards the end together with the potatoes and
carrots. But if you don’t wish the coconut flavor to overwhelm the dish then
pour the entire content of the can in the beginning.
*Some caldereta are
spicy others are not. Feel free to add some spicy kick if you wish to.
*If on a paleo diet, use paleo-friendly products for tomato sauce and fish sauce.
Heat the olive oil
and butter over medium to high heat in a heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven. Just
heat until butter is melted. Sear the beef chunks on all sides. Do it in
batches if they won’t fit in the pan. Set aside.
In the remaining
fat, sauté the garlic cloves and chopped onions for a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for about 3-4
minutes or until the tomatoes have softened a little. Return the beef to the
pan. Stir everything. Season with salt, pepper and fish sauce (if using). Add the bay leaves at this point.
Pour in the beef
broth or water and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and
simmer until the meat is fork tender about 1 ½ -2 hours. Stir occasionally
during cooking. If by any chance, the
stew dries up (mine didn’t) just add a little water or beef broth.
In the meantime,
fry the chopped potatoes and carrots. When the meat is already tender, add the
potatoes, carrots and bell peppers. If using some chili peppers, add it at this
point. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the bell peppers are
tender. Stir in the peanut butter and tomato
ketchup or sauce. Simmer until everything is heated thoroughly. Adjust the
seasoning with a little salt or fish sauce, if necessary. Serve with steaming
bowl of jasmine rice and garnish with some crushed peanuts on top!!!
While the Kaldereta
is already delicious on the first day, if you can wait, it’s even better the