How to Cook Balbacua

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  • 1  kilo ox tail (or ox feet) and skin, cut into small pieces.
  • 3 tablespoons of salted black beans.
  • 4-5 pieces of saba (also known as cardaba) banana, sliced into chunks.
  • 1/2 cup of boiled white beans.
  • 3 pieces star anise.
  • 1 piece (or a big finger) of ginger, minced.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 3 pieces of onions (the red one, not the big ones that are used for salads), quartered.
  • Salt and Pepper.
  • 1/2 cup of thinly chopped spring onions (for garnish).
  • You can add MSG (monosodium glutamate) if you want to add more of that umami flavor.


  1. Boil the beef parts (skin, oxtail, ox feet) for about 3-4 minutes then remove the water, do
    this 3 times so as to get rid of unwanted smell

    Note: start counting down the time when the water already starts to boil.

  2. After repeating the first step three times boil again the beef parts but this time add the ginger and about 1 tablespoon of salt, let it simmer till the meat becomes tender and the broth starts to have a thick and sticky consistency.

    Note: to be sure of the exact amount of water to use, the technique is to have all the meat almost completely submerged. Make sure also that you will be using medium heat and let the meat slowly cook so that all the flavors will be enfused to the broth. This may take some time so prepare to wait and make sure to stir it a couple of times every now and then to make sure that the meat will not be burnt in the bottom of the pot. Another secret to this recipe would be to add about a couple of grams worth of very small cut pure beef so that it will add to the meaty flavor of the broth.

  3. In another pan, saute the onions and garlic until they become golden brown. Then add the boiled white beans and saute it with the onions and garlic.
  4. Pour the contents of the pan into the broth. Add the black beans (do not include the brine water if you are using canned black beans).
  5. Add the bananas.
    Note: Make sure that the bananas will be fairly soft yet still partly firm before you turn off the fire. The end product of the broth should have a thick and sticky consistency and would have a greyish brown color.
  6. Season to taste. And add the chopped spring onions right before you turn off the fire.

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