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Bulalo (Beef Bone Marrow Soup)

Boo-LA-low. One of the most popular Filipino dishes and also one of the simplest. Bone marrow from slow simmered beef shank melts into a rich, flavorful broth. The meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Veggies offer freshness and a variety of textures. Win-win-win. This generous recipe for bulalo will make about 8 servings in about an hour and a half (or 3 hours without a pressure cooker).

This is one of those recipes that's stupid easy but takes a little bit of time. But believe me, it's worth the wait. Just like many other Filipino dishes, this is not the end-all-be-all recipe. My Lola added sitaw (long beans) to hers. I've seen eggplant and green onion in some versions. Carrots aren't traditional, but I add them to mine. There's no wrong way to do it. All you need is bone-in beef shank and your favorite veggies.

Here's my version!


  1. 2-3 lbs bone-in beef shank

  2. 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

  3. 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

  4. 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  5. 8 cups water

  6. 3 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more for serving

  7. 3 corn cobs, cut into 3 inch pieces

  8. 2 large russet potatoes, cut into large cubes

  9. 3 carrots, cut in large rounds

  10. 1 small head of cabbage, individual leaves peeled

  11. 1 small bunch bok choy

  12. Fried garlic, for garnish (optional)


  1. Put the beef, onion, salt, peppercorn, and water in the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour. (If using a regular pot, simmer the listed ingredients above on low heat for 2.5 hours, or until the marrow is melted and the beef falls off the bone. Then continue with steps, disregarding pressure.)

  2. Release the pressure and remove the scum and foam from the top of the broth. Bring the pot to a simmer (use the sauté mode if using the Instant Pot). Add in the fish sauce, corn, potatoes, and carrots. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Taste the broth. Add more salt or fish sauce to taste. You can also try a 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon at a time. I personally like my broth mild, and I garnish with extra fish sauce at the end.

  4. Add in the bok choy and cabbage leaves and stir until tender, about 2-3 minutes.

  5. Serve with extra fish sauce and fried garlic! I love eating the meat and veggies first; then I add jasmine rice to the rest of the broth.

*Note, if you have leftovers, the soup will turn gelatinous overnight in the fridge. This is a good thing. That means you made a bomb-ass broth! All the yummy collagens and connective tissues from the meat were released into the broth. Yum! Don't worry--it'll liquify again when reheated.

I wish I had a jacuzzi of this.

- Arielle

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