There are many porridge dishes in the Philippines, you have your goto (prepared with ox tripe), arrozcaldo (traditionally prepared with beef), pospas de gallina (prepared with chicken and ginger), champorado (sweet cocoa porridge) and lugaw (simplest porridge served either with just sugar or sautéed garlic and onions) but have you ever heard about the Bulalugaw? Bulalugaw perhaps is the king of all lugaws and most Pinoys would agree because this dish is one of the heartiest and the most delicious Filipino porridge in my personal opinion. Basically it is a combination of two Filipino dishes, Bulalo, a beef leg soup which is an all-time favourite of the Filipinos specially after a long night out and Lugaw as I described above.
To get this right is quite tedious but the rewards at the end will surely blow your socks off. First of all our recipe does not include any beef cubes or any flavourings, there are no short cuts and we are making the base stock from scratch like how a proper Bulalo is made, by slowly simmering beef leg bones in low heat until all of the collagen melts away and incorporates to the soup, similar how ramen soup stocks are made. Then browning the meat comes next and boiling it slowly together with corn in the master stock that was made earlier, adding a slight sweetness and additional meatiness to the soup. Finally adding glutinous rice and cooking it slowly until it expands, becomes soft as a cloud and absorbs all of that flavour from the stock. This then results to a very satisfying dish that warms your soul, touches your heart and gives you a very nice feeling. Now to test if you have done that correctly, the soup should be thick from collagen and you will feel it once your lips gets thicker gets cold after a spoonful of this wonderful dish, it should not feel greasy since it’s the collagen hardening up. Now have I convinced you to make one at home?
Place beef bones on a deep pot together with onions and peppercorns.
Add water until bones are entirely covered.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 2.5 hours, set it aside and keep it cool. Once cooled down remove the bones and extract any meat form it if any then set the meat aside, reserve the stock and discard the bones. Using a sieve, strain the broth and place it in a large bowl, place it on the fridge until the oil rises to the top and hardens, now you can easily separate it out then throw it away.
In another pot add heat oil in medium heat then sauté garlic until golden brown in colour, remove garlic from the pot then set it aside.
Season beef shanks with salt then put it into the pot then brown on all sides.
Pour the stock you prepared earlier, add the corn, then bring this to a boil then simmer for 1 hour or until beef shanks are tender. Remove the beef shanks and corn then set it aside.
Back to the pot with the stock, add glutinous rice then continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes in low heat until the rice is very soft. Mixing once in a while to prevent it from sticking at the bottom of the pan. Check once in a while and add water if needed, it should be in a thick soupy consistency.
Flavour with salt or fish sauce, season with freshly ground pepper then turn heat off.
Prepare serving bowl place the beef shank on one side, add the rice soup then top with chopped spring onions, fried garlic and boiled eggs, serve with the cooked corn on the side.