Nilagang Baboy is a Filipino-style boiled soup perfect for cold weather! Made of fork-tender pork belly, kalabasa, pechay, and flavorful meat broth, it’s delicious and filling!
When my daughter decided a month ago to take a nursing job up north, I loudly expressed my protest but silently untied my apron strings at the same time. She is her mother’s daughter-resilient, headstrong, free-spirited-so I know no amount of opposition can re-direct her once she made up her mind.
Although I was ambivalent about her decision to move hundreds of miles away, I had to trust that she was raised well enough to choose wisely for herself. She is, for the most part, a well-rounded, responsible young adult and I am proud to watch her thrive in this new phase in her life.
Unfortunately, she has learned all aspects of living alone and away from home…except for how to cook! She sent me a text last Friday asking if I can make nilaga for her when she comes home as well as pack a couple of dishes she can bring back to her place.
She requested for nilagang baka, but I surprised her instead with this pork nilaga with kalabasa and pechay. If the two big bowls of soup she polished off in ten minutes were proof enough, she loved it!
Tips oh How to Make Nilagang Baka
- Cut the meat and squash into uniform size to ensure even cooking.
- For best flavor, use pork belly with ribs. If you prefer a leaner cut, you can swap the belly with pork shoulder or spare ribs.
- The kalabasa (Japanese kabocha) adds a hint of sweetness to the broth which works well with the savory flavors of the dish. Feel free to substitute potatoes if you prefer.
- I use pechay in this recipe but napa cabbage or mustard leaves are also good options.
- To ensure a clear, sediment-free broth, make sure to tend the pot during the first few minutes of boiling and skim off any scum that floats on top.
Give this Filipino boiled soup a try! It’s delicious on its own or served with steamed rice for a satisfying meal.
Craving for more soups? Try my pork bulanglang recipe which is the Kapampangan version of sinigang na bayabas. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 cups water
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, cracked
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 small calabasa, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 bunches pechay, ends trimmed and leaves separated
- salt to taste
- In a pot over medium heat, combine pork and water. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- When the liquid has cleared, add onions, peppercorns, and fish sauce. Continue to boil for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Lower heat, cover and cook for about 40 to 45 minutes or until pork is tender. Add more water in 1/2 cup increments as needed to maintain about 6 to 7 cups.
- Add calabasa and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tender yet firm.
- Add napa cabbage or pechay and cook for about 1 minute or until tender yet crisp.
- Season with salt to taste. Serve hot.