Bagis is a Kapampangan dish made of ground beef cooked in calamansi juice, onions, and chili peppers. It’s tasty, easy to make and budget-friendly, too!
Bagis, pork bulanglang, and kilayin are my favorite Kampampangan dishes, which, unfortunately, I’m not able to enjoy regularly. Not that they’re challenging to make or take time to prepare. The recipes are pretty straightforward and are ready in an hour or less. I don’t cook them often because a few of their key ingredients are not always accessible.
Pork lungs, for example, is essential in kilayin but has been banned by the FDA for human consumption and is no longer sold in the U.S. market. The distinct taste of Bagis, as another example, comes from calamansi which I have yet to find here in Texas. Guavas for pork bulanglang are a dime a dozen at my neighborhood grocery store but I have to drive 20 miles to the nearest Asian supermarket for kangkong and gabi!
On a positive note, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years on how to recreate these dishes by substituting and making use of ingredients that are abundant locally. Read on and learn how you can mimic the authentic taste of Bagis with lemon!
What is Bagis
Bagis is a Kapampangan delicacy made of minced meat cooked in calamansi juice, chili peppers, onions, and garlic. It’s a simple dish that’s easy on prep yet big on taste. The delicious medley of spicy and citrusy flavors is always a hit with the crowd!
It’s traditionally served with steamed rice as a main entree or enjoyed with ice-cold beer as an appetizer.
Tips on How to Make Kapampangan Bagis
- Bagis is traditionally made with ground beef or carabao meat, but feel free to swap with minced chicken, turkey or pork for variety.
- Calamansi juice yields the best result but the fruit is not as readily available in the U.S as it in the Philippines. As a substitute, I use a combination of lemon and orange juice to mimic its tart and slightly sweet taste.
- Siling labuyo deliver half of the flavor profile of the dish. If you’d like to tone down the heat, scrape off the seeds and veins of the peppers before chopping.
- Ground beef makes great leftovers! Store in airtight containers and it should keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 cup water
- 5 large Thai chili peppers, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup calamansi juice
- salt to taste
- In a pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add ground beef and cook, breaking apart with the back of a spoon, until lightly browned.
- Add fish sauce and allow to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until beef is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed.
- Add calamansi juice and chili peppers, stirring to combine.
- Cover and continue to simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes or until meat is completely cooked and liquid is mostly dry. Season with salt to taste.