My Mechado Recipe (Filipino Braised Beef Stew)

Mechado Recipe


A braised beef stew dish featuring larded beef chunks, potatoes, and carrots.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 6 servings


  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 lbs of beef chuck cubed
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 slice of lemon with the rind
  • 1 large potato sliced
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves laurel
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat up some cooking oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onion until they’re aromatic.
  • Add the beef and sauté for about 3 minutes or until it takes on a light brown color.
  • Introduce the tomato sauce and water, then let it simmer until the beef becomes tender. Depending on your beef’s quality, this can take anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes, so be patient and add water as needed.
  • Sprinkle in the soy sauce, ground black pepper, lemon rind, bay leaves, and salt. Simmer until any excess liquid evaporates.
  • Toss in the sliced potatoes and cook until they reach a delightful softness.
  • Plate up your Beef Mechado and serve it hot with rice.

Details Behind my Mechado Recipe

Mechado Recipe – What is mechado? Mechado is a savory braised beef dish with its roots in the Philippines, influenced by Spanish culinary traditions from the country’s colonial history. This flavorful dish features beef braised in a rich liquid that includes soy sauce and calamansi fruits, imparting a distinctive taste. The name “mechado” is derived from the Spanish word “mecha,” meaning “wick,” as the larded beef in the dish resembles a candle. In Filipino, the term for wick is “mitsa,” though the spelling “mitsado” for the dish is uncommon and rarely used.

Mechado has evolved over time, with variations using thinner slices or bony cuts of beef, deviating from the traditional larding method and resembling a beef stew. Popular variants may feature tomatoes in the braising liquid and include cuts of potatoes. Beef tongue can also be prepared similarly, resulting in a dish called lengua mechada.

Additional Notes for My Mechado Recipe

There are different ways to make the above recipe better if you want more delicious results. Consider cooking rice while waiting for the meat to tenderize, ensuring that all components of the meal are ready simultaneously. To expedite the beef tenderizing process, use a pressure cooker, which can save you up to 70% of the cooking time. Alternatively, a slow cooker can be employed for those who prefer a longer, more gradual cooking method. Mechado is versatile, allowing the use of various proteins like pork and chicken for those seeking alternative options.

Other Dishes Similar to Mechado

In Filipino cuisine, mechado can be compared to kaldereta or afritada. Mechado is a tomato-based dish with pork or beef cubes, potatoes, bay leaves, soy sauce, and lemon. Kaldereta, also tomato-based, offers a variety of meats like pork, beef, goat, or chicken, along with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. It has two versions—one with liver spread and the other with peanut butter.

Afritada, commonly made with pork or chicken, stands out with ingredients like potatoes, carrots, green peas, bell peppers, and sliced hotdogs. Despite their visual similarities, differences in preparation, meat choices, cooking times, and additional ingredients give each stew its distinct flavor in Filipino cuisine.

Other Meat Stews

If you want to try other stew dishes, menudo is one option to test. Menudo is a classic Filipino stew made with pork, sliced liver, carrots, and potatoes in a tasty tomato sauce. Unlike the Mexican soup with the same name, the Filipino version skips tripe and red chili sauce. While the traditional recipe uses pork, variations exist to suit different tastes. For example, a healthier option swaps pork for chicken and omits the liver.

Another stew option you can try is pata tim. Pata Tim is a Filipino pork dish known for its slow-cooked whole pork leg in a tasty sweet and savory sauce. The sauce, made with soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and star anise sweetened with muscovado sugar, adds rich flavors. The dish also includes péchay (Chinese cabbage) and mushrooms.

Other Stew Dishes

Do you want to try something other than meat stews? There are plenty of vegetable stews you can enjoy as well. One option you can try is ginataang gulay. Ginataang gulay is a general term for a stew dish. One common vegetable stew dish is ginataang kalabasa. Ginataang Kalabasa is a tasty vegetable stew with calabaza, coconut milk, and spices. It’s often made with shrimp and yardlong beans, but you can also enjoy a delicious version with pork and various vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Customize your experience by adding veggies like squash, eggplant, green beans, and okra.

For something simpler, you can try ginisang munggo. Ginisang munggo is a tasty Filipino soup made with mung beans, veggies, garlic, onions, and fish sauce. It can be made with pork, tinapa, or dried fish for a heartier meal. Add chicharon for extra crunch. The name comes from sautéing before adding water and beans. You can try a variation of the dish called ginisang munggo sa gata with coconut milk.

Overall, there is no shortage of stew dishes you can try in Filipino cuisine whether it be with meat or without. If you want to try other types of meat stews, one option to check out is pochero. You can also check out other types of beef dishes like Batsui.

Mechado Recipe

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