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Mechadong Baka (Filipino Beef Stew) Recipe

Filipino mechado (stewed beef)

Filipino mechado (stewed beef)

Beef Stew From the Philippines

Mechado comes from the Spanish word mechar, which means to introduce fat, or wick (as in the wick of a candle). This beef stew recipe is unique because it requires the insertion of pork belly or bacon into the center of the beef to add fat and flavor. The stew also incorporates traditional Filipino flavors ingredients such as soy sauce, bay leaves, and calamansi juice (a calamansi is like a small, green lime).

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour 45 min

2 hours

4 to 6 servings


  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice, available at Asian stores
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon canned or bottled pimientos, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
This is what fresh pimentos, or cherry peppers, look like.

This is what fresh pimentos, or cherry peppers, look like.


  1. Marinate the beef in the calamansi juice and soy sauce for 1 hour. Reserve the marinade to add to the stew in step 4.
  2. Make an incision in the center of the beef cubes and insert a piece of bacon into each one.
  3. In a pot, heat oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, onions, and beef for 3 minutes until the beef is brown.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients into the pot, except for the potatoes, carrots, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 60 to 90 minutes until the beef is tender. Add more water if needed.
  5. Add the potatoes and carrots and continue to simmer for 10-15 more minutes, or until tender. The sauce should be slightly reduced.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste. Serve hot with steamed rice.


  • Use bell peppers instead of pimientos.
  • Instead of vegetable oil, use lard (this is what's normally used in the Philippines).
  • Add other vegetables such as green beans.
  • Garnish with fried potatoes.
  • Use lemon juice instead of calamansi.
  • For a thicker sauce, add butter and flour.

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