Beef Mechado

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Culture: Filipino

Food: Beef Mechado

Spice: Bay Leaf

Participant: Aida Basto, Philippines Language & Cultural Association Australia members

 Why did I choose this dish?

Beef Machado is a Filipino braised beef dish inspired by a culinary method of Spain. It is a cooking masterpiece that uses beef cuts cooked in pork fat to add more flavour. It is a stew, a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served as a gravy. I chose bay leaf (or laurel) as the main spice which creates an authentic taste to the dish. 

Beef Machado is one of the favoured dishes in Filipino homes and is part of our weekly menu. We cook it on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, baptisms, family gatherings and especially as part of Town Fiesta.

The Philippines was a Spanish colony for 333 years with Filipinos adopting Catholic religion. Each Filipino town commemorates its Patron Saints. The celebration is called Town Fiesta which includes a lot of festivities and cultural gatherings. The towns are decorated with banderitas and participants express thanks and give blessings to the Patron Saint for a good harvest. Plenty of food is prepared as an offering – Beef Machado is one of the favourites.  It is an excuse for locals to share their best foods with visitors and adventurous outsiders.



  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 piece large onion sliced
  • 2lbs beef chunk cubed
  • Strips of pork fats
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce  
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 slice lemon with rind
  • 1 pc large potato cubed
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pieces bay leaves
  • 1 red and green bell pepper sliced
  • 1 carrot cubed
  • Salt


  1. Heat cooking oil in a pan then sauté the garlic and onion.
  2. Put in the beef and sauté for about 3 minutes until colour turns a light brown.
  3. Add tomato sauce and water then simmer until the meat is tender. Add water as needed. Note: This can take 60-120 minutes depending on the quality of the beef. 
  4. Add the soy sauce, ground black pepper, lemon rind, laurel leaves and salt. Then simmer until excess liquid evaporates.
  5. Put in the potato and cook until soft. Add carrot and bell pepper until half cooked.
  6. Place in a serving plate. Serve hot with rice.


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