It’s no secret that Filipinos love their food.
The country has more than 7,000 different kinds of cuisine, which makes it one of the most diverse cuisines on earth.
But what about caldereta?
It’s a common name used when referring to many different recipes, but there isn’t an official definition as to what exactly this Filipino dish consists of.
So, let’s take a closer look at how the caldereta recipe came into existence.
What Is Caldereta?
Caldereta literally translates to “boiled meat.”
But in practice, this term refers to any kind of stew or soup made with ground beef and other ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, and onions.
The dish gained popularity in the Philippines because it was easy to make and very affordable.
The word ‘caldo’ means “warmth” in Spanish, so you can see why the word caldereta sounds similar.
In fact, the origin of the word caldereta comes from the Tagalog language.
Cáldana, meanwhile, is another popular Filipino dish made with chicken, pork, and rice.
So, if you want to get your hands on some authentic Filipino dishes, try making these two delicious foods!
Ingredients for Caldereta
- 1 pound (450 grams) lean ground beef
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup (100 milliliters) diced onion
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups (500 milliliters) water
- 6 medium-sized carrots cut in half lengthwise
- 12 large white potatoes cut in halves lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 5 bay leaves
How to Make Caldereta
First, start by heating up 2 tablespoons oil on a frying pan over high heat.
Once hot, add the garlic and sauté until golden brown.
Then, transfer the garlic onto paper towels to drain off excess fat before adding them back to the pan.
Next, pour out all the remaining oil and wipe down the pan again.
Heat up the same amount of oil once more and then add the onions.
Sauté until translucent before stirring in the salt, pepper, and water.
After five minutes, turn the burner down to low and cover with a lid.
Allow the mixture to simmer for 25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Now, place the ground beef, carrots, and potatoes inside the pot and stir well before putting on the lid.
Cook everything for 15 minutes without removing the lid.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the bay leaf and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Finally, remove the bay leaf and serve immediately.
You should be able to find lots of variations of caldereta online.
Try substituting the beef with ground turkey, lamb, or even shrimp.
Where Does The Recipe For Caldereta Come From?
The word “caldo” means broth in Spanish, while the word “terra” refers to the ground or cooked meat.
When you combine these two words together, you get caldetera, which is where we get the term “Caldereta.”
A caldereta can be any type of meat, vegetable, or combination thereof, so long as it includes some form of terra (beef, chicken, pork, etc.).
In addition to being a staple meal in the Philippines, caldereta also serves as the country’s national dish.
In fact, every year, the government holds a festival called Cebuano Festivity Day, during which they celebrate the history of caldereta and its impact on the local population.
As you might expect, the caldereta recipe varies depending on who cooks it.
For example, there are those who cook it in big pots over open fires.
Others prefer using electric stoves or even ovens.
Still others use instant noodles instead of actual meat, rice, or other ingredients.
Whatever method you choose, the end result always tastes delicious.
That’s because the best caldereta comes from home-cooking families who know their way around the kitchen.
But if you want to learn how to make your own version, keep reading!
Who Created The Recipe For Caldereta?
The word “caldereta” was coined by American soldiers during World War II who were stationed in Cebu City, Philippines.
They referred to local dishes as “caldo” (meaning soup) and “tea” while they were trying to describe them.
Since then, people have been using these two words interchangeably to refer to any type of stew or soup.
You can find the earliest known version of the caldereta recipe in a cookbook called “Aunt Harriet’s Philippine Cook Book” published in 1947.
In that book, the author describes the caldereta recipe as containing beef, tomatoes, liver paste, onions, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and vinegar.
However, because the recipe didn’t specify how much water should be added to the meat mixture, some cooks would add as little as 1 tablespoon of water per pound of meat.
While others might add 10 tablespoons.
Over time, the caldereta recipe evolved into something completely different depending on where you live.
Some chefs use whole pieces of beef instead of ground beef.
Others replace the liver paste with chicken livers or even pork lard.
And still other versions contain only red wine instead of white wine or cider vinegar.
What Are The Ingredients In Caldereta?
The core elements of the caldereta recipe include ground beef or pork (depending on your preference), onion, garlic, tomatoes, liver paste, salt, pepper, sugar, and water.
You can also add carrots, potatoes, peas, celery, sweet corn, green beans, cabbage, leeks, mushrooms, and eggplant.
However, these aren’t essential to the flavor profile of the final product.
A few other non-core components may be added depending on the region where the caldereta recipe originates from.
For example, some versions use vinegar instead of lemon juice, while others utilize soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.
Some versions call for additional seasonings like bay leaves, thyme, basil, oregano, mint, cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and nutmeg.
There are three main types of caldereta recipes: meat caldereta, vegetable caldereta, and chicken caldereta. Meat caldereta is probably the most well known version of the dish, while vegetable caldereta is less popular compared to its meat counterpart. Chicken caldereta is similar to both of them, but slightly simpler because it doesn’t require the addition of any extra ingredients besides the protein source itself.
Caldereta is typically cooked using either a stovetop pot or a slow cooker.
Pressure cookers have been gaining popularity lately among people who want to cut down on food waste and save money by not having to buy appliances like stoves and ovens.
But why would anyone choose to go through the hassle of making caldereta in a pressure cooker if they don’t care about saving a little bit of money?
Let’s find out!
How Do You Make Caldereta?
In its simplest form, caldereta simply means “hot pot.”
However, caldereta can refer to any type of stew or soup.
Traditionally, caldereta refers to a meat-based broth cooked over low heat for hours.
Caldereta originated from the Chinese immigrants who first arrived in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era (1521–1898).
These people brought with them their own methods of preparing dishes.
They were known for boiling large amounts of water in huge pots until they were reduced down to a thick, flavorful broth.
This method was then adopted by other ethnic groups like the Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese.
The only difference between these non-Filipino versions of caldereta and the original version is the use of different types of meats and sauces.
The term caldereta also refers to a specific kind of stew.
In fact, it’s quite similar to the American chicken noodle soup.
Both consist of noodles, stock, and various types of meats.
If you want to learn more about caldereta and its origins, check out our article here.
You will find everything you need to know regarding the history behind this Filipino staple.
What Is The History Of Caldereta?
Caldereta was first introduced in the Philippines during Spanish colonial rule.
In fact, Spaniards brought it to the islands from Spain in 1565.
Back then, it was just called “carne de caballo” or “horse meat stewed with tomatoes.”
However, after independence from Spain in 1898, Filipinos started using the word “caldo-reta” instead, which means “stew.”
As time went by, caldereta evolved over the years.
People added more ingredients to the original version, like ground pork, garlic, and onions.
And eventually, people began adding other meats such as chicken, rabbit, even shellfish.
Today, caldereta can be found all around the world, except for Japan, where they call it karaage (Japanese fried chicken).
If you want to learn how to cook caldereta, check out these simple steps below!
Step 1: Prepare your ingredients
- Cut the onions and green bell pepper into small pieces.
- Take each piece of liver pate and cut them into cubes.
- Slice one pound (454 grams) of lean ground beef.
- In addition, slice two cloves of garlic.
- Warm half a cup (120 milliliters) of olive oil in a frying pan.
Step 2: Sautee your onion and peppers
- Add the chopped onions and peppers to the frying pan.
- Sautee until the onions become translucent.
- Stir well so that everything cooks evenly.
After you have sauted the veggies, add the meat and seasonings to taste.
Step 3: Add the liver pate to the mix
- Mix well with the meat and veggies.
- Pour the mixture into a clean bowl or plate.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, pour off any excess fat.
- Set aside.
Step 4: Cook the caldereta in a pressure cooker
Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your pressure cooker.
For example, if yours is 10 liters, the cooking time would be between 20 minutes and 40 minutes.
If yours is 6 liters, the cooking time would be between 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
To start preparing your caldereta in a pressure cooker, follow these easy instructions:
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker and turn it on high heat.
- Once hot, place the bottom part of the pot inside another pot filled with water until it reaches 5 centimeters (1.9 inches) above the top of the pressure cooker.
- Place your caldereta mixture into the pressure cooker.
- Close the lid tightly and set the temperature control knob to its highest setting.
- Wait for three whistles before quickly turning down the heat to the lowest setting.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes before opening the pressure cooker.
- Remove the lid carefully and stir the contents with a spoon.
- Serve immediately.
What Are Some Variations Of Caldereta?
You can find several versions for caldereta in the Philippines.
Some people add eggs or even meatballs while others prefer using ground beef instead of raw meat.
You may also want to try out fish caldereta if you have access to fresh seafood.
Lastly, there’s the classic version of the caldereta that we’re going to cover today.
- Chicken caldereta – Chicken cubes cooked in a spicy tomato-based broth served over rice
- Beef caldereta – Beef cubes braised in tomato gravy
- Tuna caldereta – Tuna cubed stewed in tomato gravy
- Fish caldereta – Fish chunks simmered in tomato gravy
- Pork caldereta – Pork cubes braised in tomato gravy
- Lamb caldereta – Lamb shanks marinated in soy sauce and spices then slow-cooked in tomato gravy
There’s another variant called “kalderata,” which means “to boil, broil, fry, roast, sauté, etc.,” according to Wikipedia.
But don’t worry because we will focus only on the original caldereta recipe.
Just know that kalderata is similar to caldereta so you might enjoy trying both!
What Is The Traditional Way To Serve Caldereta?
The traditional caldereta recipe calls for ground beef, tomatoes, liver pate (or sometimes chicken fat), onions, garlic, bay leaves, and other spices like star anise and cinnamon sticks.
These ingredients go in a bowl first before being mixed together with water or stock.
Then, they get slowly cooked over medium heat until all of them have melded well with each other and the flavors have blended perfectly.
This process takes around 40 minutes, so you might want to set your timer right away!
Once everything is done, the mixture goes back to the stove where it’ll be further stirred and then simmered for another 20-30 minutes.
Afterward, the caldereta gets served as its own meal by itself.
Of course, if you don’t feel like making it from scratch, you can always buy a ready-made version of caldereta instead.
But since these canned versions often contain preservatives, we recommend checking out our list of top 10 best frozen foods here.
What Are Some Popular Caldereta Dishes?
When Filipinos think of caldereta, they often imagine a meaty stew served in a bowl or plate.
But caldereta can come in other forms like fried rice, soup, omelet, or even pizza!
You can also find caldereta recipes online for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and drinks.
That’s because the caldo (pronounced “kal-doh”) part means broth.
Caldereta usually includes beef, pork, chicken, fish, or seafood depending on your preference.
There may be tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, bell peppers, garlic, and spices too.
Some people add mushrooms or spinach while others use leeks or kangkong (water convolvulus).
The liver pate is another important ingredient in caldereta.
Liver pate is a type of spreadable liver paste cooked until soft, then mixed with seasonings and oil.
Sometimes, the mixture is added directly to the pan instead of being blended first.
Other ingredients include soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaves, ginger, onion powder, coriander seed, and thyme.
Other types of meats that can go into caldereta include ham, bacon, sausage, and chorizo.
Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, eggplant, squash, and zucchini are also commonly included.
The main difference between caldereta and its variations is the method of preparation.
In general, caldereta recipes call for slow simmering in a large pot over low heat.
If you want to get fancy, you can cook caldereta using pressure cookers, electric stoves, ovens, microwaves, or even sous vide machines.
If you have any questions about Filipino foods, you might also check out these articles:
- Why is Filipino food so good?
- Is there anything wrong with Filipino food?
- Filipino cuisine 101 – What are some Filipino favorites?
How Do You Make A Vegan Caldereta Recipe
The caldereta recipe doesn’t contain any meat or animal products.
Instead, it’s made from vegetable proteins like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and soya beans.
You can also use lentils in place of other soy-based protein sources.
You will need the following ingredients for making your own caldereta recipe:
- 1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
- ½ onion, chopped finely
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 4 cups (1 L)
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 ounces (227 g) dried white beans
- 5 cups (1.25 L)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) paprika
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound (454 g) firm tofu, cut into small cubes (about 2 cups/500 mL)
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) water
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (you can substitute canned diced tomatoes if you prefer)
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 cup (250 mL) cooked rice
- 1 cup (250 mL) cubed bread (or crackers)
- 1 cup (250 mL) grated cheese (cheddar works best)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) minced parsley
- Optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder (to taste)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon oregano (to taste)
- Optional: ½ teaspoon garlic (to taste)
- Optional: ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
With all these ingredients in mind, here’s how to make a simple vegan caldereta recipe:
- Combine the wine, onions, cloves, and bay leaves in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the drained beans, 5 cups (1.25 L) of water, olive oil, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
- Stir well until everything comes together, then cover and cook for 50 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, except the optional spices and herbs, and stir well again.
- Cover and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Uncover and season with additional salt and spices to taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley, extra cheese, and bread crumbs.
- 1 Pot
- 1 pressure cooker
- 2 lbs beef cubed
- 3 pieces garlic cloves
- 1 piece onion
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 piece red bell pepper
- 1 piece green bell pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup liver spread
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 pieces dried bay leaves
- 2 cups potatoes sliced
- 2 cups carrots sliced
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- ⅔ cup green olives
- salt and pepper
- In the cooking pot or pressure cooker, preheat the cooking oil.
- Sauté the garlic and onion.
- Put the beef in. Cook for 5 minutes, or until a light brown hue appears.
- Add the crushed pepper and dried bay leaves. Stir.
- the liver spread, please. Stir.
- Add the beef broth and tomato sauce.
- Beef should be cooked until it is tender (about 30 mins if using a pressure cooker, or 1 to 2 hours if using an ordinary pot).
- Add carrots and potatoes. For 8 to 10 minutes, cook.
- Add the bell peppers and green olives to the frying vessel. Cook for an additional five minutes while stirring.
- To taste, include salt and pepper.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!