Boiled beef soup can sound so ordinary but a good boiled beef soup can be fantastic. Depending on what cut of meat one uses is the secret. The other secret to a good beef soup is having some shank bones with it and searing the meat so that you don’t have all the floating blood around. One also has to slow boil the meat so that your soup is flavorful.


  • 1 kilo beef shank meat (kenchi) or beef brisket – slice into 2-inches by 1-inch
  • 2 kilos shank bone cut in half
  • 1 to 2 whole onions – cut into quarters
  • 8 to 10 cups rice water or water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 piece sweet potato about 1 cup size – cut into 2-inch by 2-inch size
  • 2 pieces potatoes about 2 cups size – cut into 2-inch by 2-inch size
  • 1 small Baguio petchay (bok choy) or cabbage – cut from main stem and separate leaves and cut in half, crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons shrimp sauce (patis)
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. In a large cooking pot, over medium fire, pour in cooking oil.
  2. When the pot is hot enough (180ºC), sear the meat and shank bones. This will prevent the blood from floating into the soup.
  3. Add in the onions and shrimp sauce, and saute for 3 minutes with meat.
  4. Pour in rice water and bring the pot to a boil.
  5. Turn down the heat to low.
  6. Add the peppercorns and 1/2 tablespoon salt.
  7. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or till the beef is almost very tender.
  8. Add the potatoes, simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the sweet potato and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the last 1/2 tablespoon salt and taste.
  11. Adjust to your preference, starting with 1 teaspoon salt and shrimp sauce.
  12. When almost ready to serve, add the petchay. If using cabbage, simmer for 3 minutes.
  13. Serve with hot rice and dip with patis, or bagoong, soy sauce or calamansi/soy/patis.


  • To get rice water, use the water that you rinse the rice with. This makes the soup slightly thick and flavorful.
  • If there is too much floating oil (due to the shank bones and beef brisket), scoop out the oil before you place the petchay or cabbage.
  • There is a Chinese broth secret that I learned; they put a small piece of dried fish into the broth. I don’t know the name but you could ask when you go to a Chinese store. The size of the dried fish put in is about 3-inches square. It does give you that flavorful taste that you can’t quite make up what it is.
  • You can also use the slow cooker to do this; just add the potatoes and sweet potatoes when you transfer the cooked meat to another cooking pot to finish off. The stage you put this in the slow cooker is during the simmering stage.