Afritada, Kaldereta, Puchero, Mechado and Menudo what’s the difference between them? Though for non-Filipinos this might be confusing as they nearly look alike visually and they are all stews where tomato sauce is used as a main ingredient. To clarify them once and for all this is how I think they are differentiated from each other.
Afritada – The simplest tomato based stew of all in this list, it is usually made out of chicken or pork, potato and carrots.
Menudo – Nearly similar to afritada but sauce is thicker, only pork is used sometimes together with liver. Ingredients are also cubed into smaller pieces compared everything else on this list.
Kaldereta – This is the hot and spicy variation of the afritada, beef and goat is the most common meat used. Some special varieties adds cheese and/or liver spread into the sauce.
Mechado – Similar to afritada but a special meat is used. It uses beef stuffed with a thick pork fat in the middle which in turn adds more flavour to the meat at the same time helps it to be moist and tender.
Puchero – This I guess is the most different of them all, usually beef and chicken are used but instead of carrots and potatoes, cardaba bananas and beans (white beans, garbanzo beans) are used. This also tend to have a sweeter taste.
I hope I had explained it correctly and if someone knows better please let me know what I missed out, I am happy to change their descriptions. Take note these are the bare basics of each dish, each Filipino family definitely cooks them differently from each other like adding special ingredients to make it taste better and stand out from other versions, some examples are raisins on Menudo, lemon juice on Mechado or Sweet Potatoes in Puchero. If you have some special ingredient to share let us know as well, I am happy to try them out.