Bagis is a popular dish from Tarlac 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 Kapampangan dishes which, unfortunately, I’m not able to enjoy regularly. Not that they’re difficult 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 are essential in kilayin but banned by the FDA for human consumption and are no longer sold in the U.S. market. 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! The distinct taste of Bagis comes from calamansi, which I have yet to find here in Texas.
On a positive note, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years on how to recreate these dishes by substituting and using ingredients that are abundant here in the U.S. Read on and learn how you can mimic the authentic taste of Bagis with lemon!
What is bagis
Bagis is a popular dish from Tarlac, my province. It’s traditionally made of minced carabao (water buffalo) meat, but modern cooks mostly use ground beef as it’s more accessible for everyday meals.
Cooked in calamansi juice, chili peppers, onions, and garlic, it’s a simple dish that’s easy to prep yet big on taste. The delicious medley of spicy and citrusy flavors is always a hit with the crowd!
- For a leaner option, you can swap the ground beef with minced chicken or turkey.
- Calamansi juice brings the best flavor 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 is a must in this recipe. If you’d like to tone down the heat, scrape off the seeds and veins of the peppers before chopping.
Bagis makes great leftovers! Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 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.
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