It’s just one of the many rice toppings found in the Philippines. But budbod is more. To appreciate the dish properly, you need to toss everything in the bowl together and drizzle in vinegar before digging in. It’s marvelously comforting and titillating at the same time.
How we discovered budbod
My younger daughter, Alex, met with two high school friends who share the name Patricia. One was going to celebrate her birthday in a few days’ time; the other was on vacation from Canada. They agreed to have dinner at the birthday girl’s house and they arranged to make it a potluck affair.
Alex baked sour dough bread and cookies, and made her signature cheese pimiento spread. The other Patricia who hails from the nearby town of Angono but whose family moved to Canada over a decade ago brought beef budbod, among other dishes. She explained that it’s been popular in Angono for ages, and the establishment where she ordered it had been serving the dish for thirty years. From beef budbod, the owner went to to expand the menu.
When Alex arrived home, she excitedly described the dish to me. And I was quite surprised, really, because “budbod” as I knew it since childhood meant either toasted coconut or coconut milk curdle sprinkled on top of sweet rice cakes. It was the first time I heard the word used in a savory dish.
Alex’s excitement was infectious and I soon found myself Googling “beef budbod”. From what I read, beef budbod is just one variant of the many budbod dishes served in Rizal. There’s a pork version, a chicken version, a pritong lumpia (fried spring roll) version and a “mix” version that has beef, pork, chicken and spring roll served over rice.
Our home version of beef budbod
The next day, the first thing I did (even before brewing a cup of coffee) was to locate the pack of thinly sliced beef in the freezer. I pulled it out and dropped it into a large bowl filled with water to hasten thawing. An hour later, I cut the beef into smaller pieces and marinated it in a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi juice, pepper, grated garlic and a few pinches of sugar. I let the beef marinate while I prepped the rest of the components for what would become our beef budbod.
I chopped tomatoes, sliced some scallions and, as usual, went on to add our twist to the dish. I peeled and chopped a red onion, thinly sliced all the scallions we had and, per Alex’s suggestion (because we really didn’t have enough scallions for three carnivores in the family), we decided we were going to add cilantro to the toppings. It turned out to be an extremely wise decision.
Based on photos of budbod that I saw on the web, the egg is scrambled, fried then chopped. Not my style. I cooked the scrambled eggs as a thin omelette, rolled it into a log then sliced it thinly.
The garlic fried rice was a simple affair. Finely chopped garlic was lightly browned in oil, day-old rice was added, liquid seasoning (we’re partial to Knorr here at home) was drizzled in and the rice was stir fried.
Cooking the beef was a three-step affair. The marinated beef was drained and spread in a lightly oiled and heated pan. When the meat changed color and the juices had dried up, I scooped out the meat, transferred it to a chopping board and gave it a rough chop.
The rendered fat in the pan was poured off leaving only a trace. The chopped beef went back into the pan and, over high heat, cooked with occasional stirring until the color darkened.
Then, I assembled the beef budbod. Carefully. It’s really a simple rice dish but I want beef budbod virgins to be able to get excited by making sure that every component is not only visible but highlighted as well.
Full recipe below
- 500 grams thinly sliced beef - sukiyaki or yakinuku cut is best
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon calamansi juice - or use lime or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pinches sugar
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 3 eggs - lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 cups day-old rice
- 3 tablespoons liquid seasoning - we used Knorr
- vinegar - preferably spicy
Marinate the beef
- Cut the beef into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, pepper and sugar. Mix well.
- Leave to marinate.
Cook the eggs
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Pour in the beaten eggs and tilt the pan in all direction to allow it to spread.
- Cook just until done.
- Roll into a log, slide to a chopping board and slice thinly.
Cook the garlic fried rice
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan and sprinkle in the garlic.
- Cook until the garlic bits are just starting to brown then spread the rice over them.
- Drizzle the liquid seasoning over the rice.
- Stir fry until the rice is heated through.
Cook the beef
- Heat a frying pan and coat the bottom with oil.
- Drain the beef and spread on the hot oil.
- Cook for a minute, stir and continue cooking until the meat changes color and the pan juices have dried up.
- Scoop out the beef, transfer to a chopping board and roughly chop.
- Pour off excess rendered fat from the pan, reheat and put the beef back in.
- Cook until the beef is done and lightly caramelized.
Assemble and serve your beef budbod
- Mold the garlic fried rice into shallow bowls.
- On top of the rice, arrange the beef, chopped tomato and onion, and egg slices.
- Sprinkle the scallions and cilantro over the assembled beef budbod.
- Serve with vinegar on the side.