Ulam Recipe: How To Transform Menudo Into Caldereta

Two ingredients can make your menudo taste like caldereta.

IMAGE Pixabay

Did you know that many of our every day dishes are just a few ingredients away from being another dish? A beef nilaga is basically a boiled beef soup dish but add in some corn and instantly, it's tastes like a beef bulalo. Add another ingredient and you can have a Cebu-style bulalo. 

It's quite wonderful for the home cook if changing different dishes was as easy as this every time. There would be a limitless number of dishes one can make with just one dish! 

One popular dish is the menudo. The menudo recipe is a fast-cooking pork stew with a tomato-based sauce. It has chunks of potatoes and carrots and it is flavored with either raisins or pickle relish (or both!) for a touch of sweetness. It's different from an afritada-like sauce because the tomato sauce is infused with soy sauce which also gives it a delicious savory taste and that classic darkened red sauce hue. 

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A menudo, did you know, can be turned into a caldereta with just one or two ingredients? Here are the ingredients of a typical menudo:

  • ‚Äʬ†garlic
  • ‚Äʬ†onions¬†
  • ‚ÄĘ pork cubes
  • ‚ÄĘ pork liver
  • ‚Äʬ†tomato sauce¬†
  • ‚Äʬ†soy sauce
  • ‚Äʬ†carrots
  • ‚Äʬ†potatoes
  • ‚Äʬ†raisins¬†and/or pickle relish

The biggest difference when you make caldereta using menudo is the meat. Not only will your meat be in smaller chunks but it will also be made from pork instead of beef. The sweetness too will be a  taste that you won't find in a caldereta but this can be offset by adding a little more tomato sauce if you don't like the sweet notes. (Sour is the opposite of sweet.) 

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Photo by Patrick Martires
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What do you need to make your menudo taste like a caldereta? These two ingredients will do the trick: 

  • ‚Äʬ†liver spread
  • ‚Äʬ†bell pepper

Despite the fact that menudo usually contains liver, the liver is in chunks. You can mash the pieces of liver in menudo to mimic liver spread but the idea is to thicken the sauce. Plus, it might be a little hard trying to find those pieces among the pork chunks. 

The bell pepper may be the factor that successfully transforms the dish into a caldereta. Bell peppers, especially green bell peppers, have a strong bitterness to their taste that is unlike other vegetables. It's this flavor that makes the caldereta taste distinct from other tomato sauce-based dishes. 

Want a more beef taste to the pork menudo? You can also add a bit of beef bouillon stock cube or granules to give it a beefier taste if desired. 

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Where the menudo is sweet-savory, the caldereta is bitter-savory. Here's how to hack your leftover menudo dish into a caldereta: 

  1. 1 Heat leftover menudo in a pot over medium heat. (If there isn't enough sauce, add 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons soy sauce and bring to a boil then simmer.) 
  2. 2 Add beef bouillon cube or granules if using. Add 1 red and/or green bell pepper, chopped and simmer until softened. 
  3. 3 Stir in 1 85-gram can liver spread. 

If you're a caldereta fan who loves it with gata, olives, peanut butter, or cheese, feel free to add it in, too. 

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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!

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