Friday, January 29, 2010

Bulalo

I bought the marrow bones about two weeks ago from a Korean grocery, missing the oily cholesterol-laden goodness of Bulalo (Beef Marrow Soup) which I last had in Manila almost three years ago. Three years! My mom refused to cook it for us on the grounds that it was disgustingly unhealthy and there was no beef marrow to be had. I haven't seen any Filipino restos that might serve it here, so I decided to do it myself.

First I poured water into a pot, threw in some salt, pepper balls, half an onion, and four marrow bones. Seemed fairly simple enough. Except the oil began to bubble up almost immediately, radiating yellow bursts of artery-clogging goodness. Mmm. Then I realized that we had no beef- except for a giant slab of steak. Okay. Steak it was, I thought, as I threw the meat in.

In between trips to the laundry room in the basement, I kept boiling the stuff, adding water, adding salt and pepper, and adding more water. The mix was now half oil. I started draining the oil, first with a spoon, then with paper towels, blotting them up until there was half of the liquid left, and zero flavour. Oh no! So I went through the fridge looking for beef bouillon cubes, but we were out. Instead, I found some miso soup base. In the soup went a spoonful, spoon included.

My dad once told me he went to a remote town, and he noticed that while his hosts were boiling the beef for soup, they dropped in a teaspoon. "It softens the meat faster," they explained to him. My dad thought it was some kind of superstition based on the scientific principle that the metal spoon would bring the water up to a higher temperature then the regular boiling point, thus enabling a quicker cooking time.

After three hours and two status changes in Facebook, the meat was tender enough to fall off my fork. Yay! So I waited for Alex and Yasuko to get back. Then Rob showed up, and tasted my soup and pronounced it Awesome! Then my parents showed up. Bulalo is always a community event anyway. Cheers!

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