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Nilagang Baka

Looking for something hot and hearty to warm up those cold and gloomy days? Look no further than this delicious Filipino boiled beef soup.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 126 kcal


  • 1 kg beef shanks or similar cut of beef
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 red onion big, about 300 grams, sliced
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 300 grams potatoes quartered
  • 300 grams camote sweet potatoes, cut in 1 inch thick pieces
  • 350 grams saba cardava, cut in 1 inch pieces diagonally
  • 75 grams baguio beans french beans
  • 1 small head of cabbage quartered
  • 1 bunch of pechay bok choy
  • fish sauce and sugar to taste


  • In a large casserole, briefly boil the beef in 3 cups of water until scum floats to the surface. Remove from heat and rinse beef thoroughly under running water.
  • Return the beef to the casserole and add the rest of the water to cover the beef. Add onions, peppercorn, and 2 tbsps of fish sauce. Boil the beef in medium heat for 1-2 hours or until the beef is tender.
  • Once the beef is tender, add the potatoes and sweet potatoes and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Add the saba and simmer for a minute.
  • Add fish sauce and sugar, to taste.
  • Turn off the heat. Add french beans, cabbage, and pechay (bok choy).
  • Serve hot.



I prefer my soup to be on the salty side; I ended up adding around 6 tbsps of fish sauce. You can reduce the amount of fish sauce added to the soup though, especially if the fish sauce that you are using is quite salty.
Some people don’t add sugar to the soup and instead prefers to rely on the sweetness of the saba and the sweet potatoes. Sugar is optional but in my opinion it compliments the fish sauce quite well.
Most Filipinos use fish sauce and some calamansi (lime) as dipping sauce for the beef.