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How to Cook Bulalo: A Filipino Beef Bone Broth Stew Recipe

Errah is an educator, cook, and food writer from the Philippines. He writes about various topics relating to Filipino cuisine.



Bulalo is a savory Filipino beef stew that incorporates nutritious bone marrow as well as a variety of vegetables. It is traditionally made during the cold and rainy seasons because can help raise body temperature.

You can use either beef or pork bone, though beef shank is more commonly used because it contains more marrow. The beef shank is the part of the cow's leg located above the knee or hock. In layman's terms, the shank is the cow's thigh. The meat, however, is not always made up entirely of marrow; it contains some flesh, as well.

Traditional bulalo ingredients include sweet corn, onion, green cabbage, fish sauce, and black peppercorns, but this dish also has a wide range of variations. You can add ginger, spring onion, bay leaves, garlic, potato, carrot, taro, green beans, string beans, bok choy, or plantain. For the cabbage, you can use green cabbage, napa cabbage, or savoy cabbage. You can also add hot chili pepper to make it spicier.

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Traditionally, bulalo is served with a dipping sauce made of calamansi (Philippine lime) or lemon, soy sauce or fish sauce, and hot chili pepper, which adds flavor to the dish.


  • 1 kilogram beef shank, cut into 2-inches pieces crosswise
  • 3 ears sweet corn, cut into three pieces
  • 12 green beans
  • 1 small head napa cabbage, leaves separated
  • 1 bundle bok choy (pechay), leaves separated
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup spring onion
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 cups water

(If fish sauce is not available in your community, you can buy Datu Puti fish sauce on Amazon.)


  1. In a pot, combine the beef shank, water, onion, and whole peppercorns. Simmer for 1 to 1½ hours over medium heat, or until the meat is soft and tender and the collagen and fat have melted into the broth. (If you cook bulalo in a pressure cooker, the boiling time will be reduced to 30 minutes.)
  2. Add the corn to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. This cooking time for corn shouldn't be extended or else its sweetness will be lost.
  3. Add the napa cabbage, bok choy, green beans, and spring onions to the pot. Stir and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the fish sauce and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, hot chili peppers, and calamansi. Enjoy!

© 2022 Errah Caunca

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