Balbacua is a Filipino stew prepared with oxtails, saba bananas and white beans slowly simmered in sauce made with tomatoes, peanut butter and black bean paste.

Filipino cuisine is so huge in every province they have created their own unique cuisines based on local ingredients they have. From the creamy and hot dishes of the Bicol region, the Spanish inspired dishes of the Visayas to the frugal dishes of the Ilocos each have their own character and deserves to be known and popular like the Adobo and Sinigang. Most of these dishes are exceptional but not a lot of people know it even Filipinos which is a shame so here at Ang Sarap I am trying to explore them all and share these dishes, so far I had already posted several regional specialities like Pancit Cabagan, Pancit Batil Patong, Kansi, Bulanglang and Dinengdeng to name some. We will not stop with those that is why I am sharing you this Cebu specialty, the Balbacua.

Cooking this authentically is a bit hard from where I am as the recipe calls for Oxtail with skin on and even beef skin which I am not sure if it is commercially available here we only have ox tail without the skin, it also calls for cardaba bananas which is very rare in New Zealand. There are also several variations on how this is cooked where some stew it with baked beans, some stew it with peanut butter and some stew it on both. For this recipe we will be stewing it on both to get the best of both flavours, and if you are wondering how it taste well all I can say is that it is a really good stew, if you already know a lot of Filipino dishes then think of it as a cross between Puchero and Kare Kare.

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5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 15 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Balbacua is a Filipino stew prepared with oxtails, saba bananas and white beans slowly simmered in sauce made with tomatoes, peanut butter and black bean paste.


Units Scale
  • 2 kg ox tail (preferably with skin on)
  • 4 pcs saba bananas
  • 400 g can baked beans / pork and beans
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp black bean paste
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 stalks leeks, sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sliced tomatoes for garnishing


  1. In a large pot add oil then brown ox tail on all sides. Once browned remove ox tail then set it aside.
  2. Add garlic and onions then sauté until onions are soft.
  3. Pour the water, beef stock and add the ox tail back. Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Add the Saba banana, leeks, baked beans, peanut butter, tomato paste, black bean paste, fermented black beans and tomato paste, bring back to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Remove from heat, garnish with chopped tomatoes then serve with rice.


14 Responses

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I love your oxtail recipes and this looks like a pure comfort food to me! I don’t make enough oxtail food weekly, and it’s always very special when I use it. This sounds really goood!!!!!

  2. I love that you are preserving these wonderful recipes. This sounds so delicious!

  3. Karen says:

    It is very interesting to learn about recipes like this.

  4. Kristy says:

    I am fascinated by the peanut butter in this. So interesting!

  5. Eha says:

    I’m just fascinated by this combination of flavours: peanut butter & black bean paste together !! Have to try: too curious not to :) !

  6. Kiran says:

    PB in an ox tail recipe?!? So intriguing :)

  7. Eva says:

    Yes! definitely reminds me so much of Inay’s kari kari.. Sooo…good! I will definitely try this.

  8. foodjaunts says:

    I like this variation, it does definitely remind me of kare kare. My problem is there’s no way to get saba bananas even at this giant International grocery store we have. Maybe I can try really ripe plaintains to see how that will work.

  9. axoy says:

    Me too, am not sure where to get the saba bananas….
    I wish I had put some lemon grass too. But since I ran out of peanut butter,it was still very masarap. I added some vegetables too. ang ending , mine was more like pochero than balbacua…. lol

  10. Alain says:

    from where I’m from (Cebu) I never saw anyone use peanut butter nor ground peanuts in their recipes… only those from the North who knew kare-kare before they knew balbacua… Cebuano don’t usually use fish sauce to season their cooking… I only knew patis (fish sauce) because my father is from Pangasinan.

    We use the tail, skin, legs, ears and snout of the cow for the balbacua which will ensure a more meaty flavor in your broth.

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