Balbacua Bisaya Recipe

Explore the flavors of Balbacua Bisaya recipe – a delectable Filipino stew. Get step-by-step instructions and savor this culinary delight.

Balbacua Bisaya

    Balbacua Bisaya

  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 300 calories

Balbacua Bisaya is a savory and hearty Filipino dish originating from the Visayas region, known for its unique and rich flavors. It's a regional variation of the popular Balbacua stew found throughout the Philippines. What sets it apart is the combination of tender beef or oxtail, ground peanuts, and glutinous rice, creating a thick and luscious broth.

To prepare Balbacua Bisaya, the meat is simmered until it becomes incredibly tender, often requiring several hours of slow cooking or a pressure cooker to expedite the process. The stew's distinctive flavor comes from the combination of star anise and lemongrass, which infuse the broth with a subtle, aromatic essence.

This dish showcases an array of vibrant vegetables, such as banana blossoms, corn, eggplants, and string beans, adding both color and texture. The use of peanuts and glutinous rice not only thickens the broth but also imparts a delightful nuttiness. Balbacua Bisaya is typically seasoned with fish sauce, offering a balance of saltiness and umami.

Served piping hot, Balbacua Bisaya is a crowd-pleaser, often enjoyed during gatherings and celebrations. Its unique combination of ingredients and intricate preparation make it a beloved dish in the Visayas region and a delicious representation of Filipino culinary diversity.


Dive into the tantalizing world of Balbacua Bisaya, a Filipino masterpiece that ignites your taste buds. Discover the recipe secrets here!


  • 1 kg of beef or oxtail, cut into serving pieces
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 1/2 cup of glutinous rice
  • 2-3 pieces of star anise
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of lemongrass, pounded
  • 2-3 pieces of banana blossoms (puso ng saging), sliced
  • 2-3 pieces of corn on the cob, cut into rounds
  • 1-2 eggplants, sliced
  • 1 bundle of string beans (sitaw), cut into 2-inch lengths
  • Fish sauce (patis) to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil for sautéing

Method Instructions

  1. In a large pot, toast the peanuts and glutinous rice until they turn golden brown. Grind them into a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add some oil and sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Add the beef or oxtail and cook until browned.
  4. Pour enough water to cover the meat. Add the star anise and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the meat is tender (this can take a few hours, or you can use a pressure cooker to speed up the process).
  5. Once the meat is tender, add the ground peanut and rice mixture. Stir well to thicken the soup. Add more water if it gets too thick.
  6. Season with fish sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
  7. Add the banana blossoms, corn, eggplants, and string beans. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
  8. Serve hot and enjoy your Bisaya-style Balbacua!

Recipe Video

Balbacua Bisaya

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Recipe Tags: Balbacua Bisaya, Balbacua Bisaya Recipe, Recipe


Serving Balbacua Bisaya is a delightful experience, and here's how you can do it:

  • Individual Bowls: Ladle the hot Balbacua stew into individual serving bowls. Make sure each bowl has a generous portion of meat, vegetables, and the flavorful broth.
  • Condiments: Place condiments on the table to allow diners to customize their Balbacua. Common condiments include fish sauce (patis) and calamansi or lemon wedges. These can be squeezed into the stew to add extra flavor.
  • Side Dishes: Balbacua is often served with side dishes like steamed rice or a simple plate of sliced fresh vegetables, such as cucumber or tomato, to provide a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the stew.
  • Puto or Rice Cake: Some people enjoy Balbacua with a side of puto, a type of Filipino rice cake. This can be a delightful addition to balance the savory flavors.
  • Family-Style: Balbacua is perfect for family-style dining. Place the pot of Balbacua in the center of the table and let everyone serve themselves. It's a communal and warm way to enjoy this dish.
  • Garnish: If desired, you can garnish the Balbacua with some fresh cilantro or chopped green onions to add a burst of color and freshness.

Balbacua Bisaya is meant to be a comforting and communal meal, so feel free to serve it in a way that suits your dining style and the occasion. Enjoy your delicious Bisaya-style Balbacua!


  1. Choice of Meat: While the recipe mentioned beef and oxtail, you can choose either or a combination of both. Oxtail is known for its rich and gelatinous texture, which adds depth to the stew.
  2. Toasting Peanuts and Glutinous Rice: When toasting peanuts and glutinous rice, be careful not to burn them. Toast them until they turn a golden brown color and emit a nutty aroma.
  3. Tenderizing the Meat: If you're short on time, consider using a pressure cooker to tenderize the meat more quickly. It can significantly reduce the cooking time.
  4. Consistency: The ground peanut and rice mixture is what thickens the stew. Add it gradually to achieve your desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, you can always adjust by adding more water.
  5. Taste as You Go: Balbacua's flavor develops as it simmers. Taste the stew periodically and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce, salt, and pepper to suit your preference.
  6. Vegetable Variations: Balbacua is versatile when it comes to vegetables. You can experiment with other options like bok choy, okra, or even sweet potatoes based on your taste.
  7. Garnish: Fresh herbs like cilantro or green onions make for a lovely garnish, adding a pop of color and a hint of freshness to the dish.
  8. Serve Hot: Balbacua is best enjoyed when it's hot, as it allows you to savor the rich flavors and the tender meat.
  9. Accompaniments: Consider serving it with steamed rice or puto (rice cake) for a well-rounded meal.

Ingredient Substitutes

  1. Meat: You can substitute beef or oxtail with other meats like pork or chicken. While it won't be traditional Balbacua, it can still be delicious.
  2. Peanuts: If you have allergies or don't have peanuts, you can use peanut butter as a substitute. Start with a couple of tablespoons and adjust to taste.
  3. Glutinous Rice: If you can't find glutinous rice, regular rice can be used, although the texture will be different. Arborio rice or short-grain rice can be suitable alternatives.
  4. Star Anise: Anise seeds or Chinese five-spice powder can be used in place of star anise, but use them sparingly as they are quite potent.
  5. Lemongrass: Lemongrass adds a unique flavor, but if you can't find it, you can omit it or use a small amount of lemon zest for a similar citrusy hint.
  6. Vegetables: Feel free to use a variety of vegetables you have on hand. Balbacua is versatile, so use what you prefer or what's in your pantry, such as potatoes, carrots, or bell peppers.
  7. Fish Sauce: Soy sauce or salt can be used as a substitute for fish sauce if you don't have it. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.


Embark on a culinary journey with Balbacua Bisaya. Share the warmth and flavors of this Filipino treasure with your loved ones. Happy cooking!

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