You Can Use Pork Instead Of Beef For These Filipino Ulam Recipes

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Lechon baka may be the new current trendy meat of the month but pork recipes are still equally popular. Since both beef and pork cost around the amount in terms of price per kilo, the choice of whether to use beef and pork in recipes is a toss-up. 

If however you are craving beef but have pork instead, don't worry. There are many recipes you can still make that aren't hard to swap. The key is making your pork taste like beef. There are a couple of simple tricks to use pork in recipes that originally use beef. Here's what you can do:

  • 1 Add some soy sauce. 
  • 2 Use beef bouillon cubes or stock granules.

The soy sauce is a simple and flavorful way of making your pork look darker when cooked to mimic cooked beef. You can still brown the pork as desired before adding this seasoning and coloring. If you also want it to taste like beef, use beef stock or toss in a beef bouillon cube or stock granules into the pot or the marinade. The flavor of beef is quite distinctive compared to pork, so this hack will ensure that your taste buds register the taste of beef, not pork. 


Want to really make your pork taste like beef? Do this instead: 

  • Place pork in a pot of water, enough to cover the meat, and bring to a boil. 
  • 2 Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, skimming the scum that rises to the surface. 
  • 3 Remove from the heat, and drain well. Add enough water to just cover the meat.
  • 4 Return pot with the pork to the heat, and add stock cubes or granules to make flavorful beef stock. 
  • 5 Simmer until the pork is tender or proceed with your recipe as directed. 

Simmering the pork and discarding the broth that was made with it and replacing it with beef stock will ensure that most of the pork taste is replaced. 

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If you're curious to try this hack using pork for beef recipes, here are pork recipes using beef to try it on: 

Photo by Majoy Siason

1 Pork Kaldereta Recipe 

A kaldereta is usually made with goat or kambing so even the use of beef is a hack on the original recipe! In this version, the use of pork makes it easy to cook since it takes less time to tenderize pork than it is to tenderize either kambing or beef. 

Remember to use liver spread to get that classic thick sauce and grainy creaminess that liver is known to give to the kaldereta. You can even hack the basic recipe even more by adding peanut butter, making it spicy, or by swapping the kind of meat cut to short ribs for even more flavor. 

Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Pork Mechado Recipe

How is mechado is different from a caldereta, from an afritada, and even an estofado? It's all about the ingredients and knowing what ingredients make which dish delicious. For the mechado, the difference is less glaring since you'll just be swapping the kind of meat that you'll use but still use the other ingredients. It might taste a little different but the overall flavor should be the same. 

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Sep 23, 2019

Photo by Majoy Siason

3 Pork Nilaga Recipe

A nilaga is one of the most basic cooking methods as well as a dish. The nilaga dish is a simple boiled meat recipe made heartier with the addition of potatoes, cabbage, and green string beans to the soup. Beef is the most common meat boiled in this way, so feel free to use the technique above about how to swap pork for beef in this easy recipe. 

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Sep 27, 2019


4 Pork Estofado Recipe 

An estofado is basically a meat stew or braise that is simmered. For the Filipino dish, an estofado is a stewed meat dish in tomato sauce with bananas. This usually calls for saba bananas but for times when that particular banana is not available, people add in sugar to mimic the sweetness that comes with using bananas in the dish. Use your favorite pork cut for this otherwise simple stew. 

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Jan 22, 2016

Photo by Majoy Siason

5 Pork Chop Bistek Recipe 

Bistek is one of those words that's a actually combination of two words: beef steak. Localized, it's bistek and while it's classic to use beef as per the original, pork is commonly the simple meat swap. 

Want to make it even easier to cook than merely changing the meat to pork? Use a pork chop instead and smother it with the bistek classic sauce. The pork chop is easy to cook: a simple soak in the seasoned marinade, then patted dry before it's fried. Easy tasty and super delicious! 

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Want more Pinoy ulam ideas that use pork? Here are a few lists that can make your everyday meals more delicious with every recipe: 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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