Here's The Difference Between Mechado And Kaldereta

IMAGE Majoy Siason

One of the best ways to make a dish different from another recipe is to make a few changes to the recipe. You can swap out one to two ingredients and use another to make it taste similar but flavorful in another way. 

Did you ever get confused about the way mechado and afritada are different? Apparently, one of the ways these two Filipino stewed dishes are different is the meat used. Afritada is usually chicken while mechado is beef, sometimes even pork. 

Even two similarly named dishes can be different, too! For the pochero, the Tagalog version is quite very different from the pochero recipe version that is cooked and loved by those living in the Visayas. 

If you ever wondered how another pair of two dishes could be different, you have to wonder how the mechado and the kaldereta dishes are different. Both are a kind of beef stew that is simmered in a tomato sauce. What could possibly be the difference between these two iconic and Filipino dishes? 


There is one big difference between these two dishes. 

tomato-based beef stews
Photo by Majoy Siason
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While both are tomato-based beef stews, the two dishes use different seasonings. 

One thing is certain: both are stews with a sauce that's made with tomatoes. Tomato sauce is the most common way of making the sauce, but fresh tomatoes would do the job just as well. However, while both may taste like tomatoes, the seasonings used may prove to be deliciously different. 


The mechado is seasoned with soy sauce, much like a menudo is seasoned. Vinegar is sometimes added in, too, emphasize the sourness of the sauce's flavor. For the kaldereta, however, the biggest taste difference between the mechado and the kaldereta is really the bell peppers. While some recipes call for the inclusion of liver spread to the kaldereta to not only thicken the sauce but to also make it more creamy, many don't add this in.


Others add coconut milk instead, simmering the mixture until thickened like they do in the southern parts of the Philippines. Others stir in peanut butter or even ground peanuts to thicken and add another dimension of flavor to the dish. Both of these ingredients are subtle yet still add to the tasty and delicious flavor that the kaldereta has. 

If you think about it, the mechado may be the mother of the kaldereta, since it seems to be a more basic recipe with its simple tomato-based sauce that's no-nonsense than the more complex flavors that the kaldereta offers to your palate. 


You now know the basic difference between the mechado and kaldereta. Read on to find out other interesting differences that make other dishes different, too: 


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