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One-Pot Wonder: Asian beef and vegetable stew in clear broth

I grew up with this dish, and I remember enjoying it when the wet or rainy season arrived. I didn’t find anything great about the wet season in the Philippines, because it being a tropical country, the rains continue for months, every single day. It’s the kind of weather that commands you to stay indoors and just enjoy home-cooked meals with the family.

There’s more time for cooking, and the temperature outside can drop a degree or two. It’s not anything like the cold in winter, but it’s good to have something hot and comforting while you stare outside the window, looking at the gray skies and the downpour of rain.

This dish is cooked for hours to tenderize the meat and make the broth richer in flavor. Add some vegetables, and it becomes a healthy meat-and-vegetable soup dish everyone — adults and kids alike — loves. This soup can be eaten as is or, more commonly, accompanied with steamed white rice and a dip made of fish sauce and calamansi or regular lemons.

Beef and vegetable stew in clear broth recipe

Asian beef and vegetable stew in clear broth recipe

When the wet season arrives in the Philippines, this is a favorite dish families love to have to wrap themselves in a comforting warmth. Meet the classic beef-and-vegetable stew in clear broth, which is slowly cooked, containing all the flavors and nutrients in one hearty bowl. This soup is best enjoyed with steamed white rice and a dip made of fish sauce mixed with a bit of lemon.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 2 hours 50 minutes | Total time: 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 1 pound beef shank or brisket, cubed
  • 6 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup baby corn
  • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced


  1. To a large saucepan over high heat, add the beef and the water, and bring to a boil. Skim off the scum that accumulates on the surface of the water.
  2. Add the peppercorns and the onion.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-1/2 hours or less if the beef is already very tender. Add more water if the soup is evaporating.
  4. Add the potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Season with the salt, pepper and fish sauce.
  6. Add the baby corn, leeks and the cabbage, and cook for another 5 minutes.

More Asian soup recipes

Asian spicy noodle soup classic laksa
Cantonese corn soup

Spicy beef pho

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