Tiyula Itum is a Filipino beef soup prepared with beef or goat pieces that were cooked with lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and charred coconut meat.
Its black like dinuguan but it does not contain any blood, so where does this dish take its colour from? Burnt Coconut Meat, it may sound weird and you may get intimidated by the looks, but that burnt coconut adds a nice depth to this dish. Not convinced yet? we’ll have you tried or even heard the Charcoal Ramen or Black Ramen? Now with that thought it will be more palatable, don’t you think, because it is a more common dish than our recipe for today. The black colour from the ramens basically is made up with burnt ingredients like bamboo, garlic and miso, like this dish it is made with burnt coconut meat and like the ramens its primary reason is to give a nice depth in flavour.
Tiyula Itum is a very culturally important dish for the Tausug people, it’s like lechon for the people of Luzon and Visayas where it is usually reserved during special occasions, it is even characterized as “Food for the Royalty” hence you see this during Muslim Weddings and Hari Raya festivals in Mindanao. If you haven’t tried this dish yet, think of Beef Lauya or Nilagang Baka but instead of a pure beef flavour, this one is bolder, thanks to the spices it uses.
Would you dare to try this? For me I was sceptical at first hence I only used a conservative amount of burnt coconut (as reflected from the recipe below) but if you want it darker and bolder then go for gold, double the amount of that charred coconut meat to experience its full flavour.
Place coconut meat on an aluminium lined baking tray. Place in the oven on the highest grill setting, cook until brunt. It should be black burnt, let it cool then place in a food processor to make into powder.
Season beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a pot heat oil then brown beef pieces on all sides, in batches. Remove beef pieces then set it aside.
In the same pot add oil if needed, then sauté garlic, shallots, ginger, turmeric, chillies and burnt coconut powder.
Add the beef back together with the lemongrass then pour the beef stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 1/2 hours in low heat.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve.