It was my hometown’s annual town fiesta this weekend, and I cooked Binagis na Baka or simply called Bagis by Kapampangan folks, as a reminder of fun, delicious days from my childhood in the Philippines. My version was basically a sauté of ground beef cooked with shallots, garlic, flavored with plenty of calamansi, sprinkled with chopped siling labuyo (chili peppers).
Regionally speaking, the original binagis, of Pangasinense and Ilocano origins is known to be a stew with innards cooked in vinegar and chilies, according to the Philippine Food Cooking & Dining Dictionary by Edgie Polistico. I am more familiar with Bagis, as it is called in Tarlac where I grew up, and as described by Mr. Polistico as sauteed ground pork cooked with red onions and peppers, seasoned with calamansi.
My father’s favorite version back when I was growing up was made of ground kambing (goat’s meat), with innards added, in a spicy, tart yet citrusy sauteed dish. This was actually pulutan (appetizer) which my dad enjoyed with his usual chilled San Miguel beer. It was roaring with spice, as I recall, so I only took a few bites of it when I was a kid, not being able to withstand the scorching hot chili peppers then. As an adult now, I cooked a mild, simplified version with ground beef, and served it as an entrée with steamed rice. The piercing, sweet, tart fragrance of calamansi stood out when the Bagis was cooked. The results were amazing and surprisingly easy enough for a weeknight meal or a lazy weekend dinner.
What Ingredients Does Binagis Need?
The beauty of this dish is that ingredients are easy to gather and may already be in your kitchen:
- Ground beef
- Calamansi juice (or use Meyer Lemons) – more about this citrus is here.
- Vegetable oil
- Siling Labuyo (bird’s eye chilies)
- Soy Sauce (like Silver Swan or any Filipino brands)
- Beef broth
- Red Pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce
Binagis na Baka – Bagis
- 1 Large skillet or Wok: 12 to 14 inches diameter
- 1 chopping board
- 1 mixing bowl, medium to large size, for prep
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 and 2 Tablespoons cup + calamansi juice, fresh or frozen; or use Meyer Lemons
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 whole large shallots, sliced; Divided, leave some sliced for garnish
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks scallions, sliced; Divided, use whites for saute, greens for garnish
- 3 to 4 whole siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies), sliced; add more for garnish, if desired
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce; like Silver Swan or any Filipino brand
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 whole Calamansi or lemon slices
- 1 whole chopped red bell peppers
For serving: (main course)
- steamed rice
To prepare ground beef:
- In a non-reactive mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and 2 Tablespoons calamansi (or lemon) juice. Let the mixture marinate and sit for 10 to 15 minutes and set aside.
To cook the Bagis:
- In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, add the oil.When oil is hot enough, after about 2 minutes, saute the shallots, garlic and scallions till fragrant and onions are transparent, about 2 minutes.
- To the skillet, add the marinated ground beef.Stir around for flavors to blend.
- Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of calamansi juice, soy sauce and beef broth to the meat mixture. Mix well. Continue cooking uncovered, till meat turns from pink to brown, about 12 minutes. The liquid would have reduced when the meat is fully cooked.Beef should be cooked well done.
- Season with the sliced chilies, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.Do not stir. Hold the skillet's handle and shake it around so the meat and ingredients blend. Cook for about 5 minutes more for the spicy ingredients to set in.
- Plate on a serving platter. Garnish with slices of calamansi, chilies, red peppers and scallion greens. Serve warm with rice, if a main course.
- You can substitute ground pork or ground chicken for this dish, if desired. I have tried it and the results are just as delicious. This recipe can also be cooked in the Instant Pot multicooker. I have published a recipe version in my cookbook "Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother's Traditional Philippine Food In a Multicooker Pot" (see appetizers) sold on Amazon and most online bookstores.
- Calamansi: The strong, citrus flavor and aroma of calamansi is the profile of this dish. For more about calamansi, click here.
- To store: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in covered containers. They will last 5 to 7 days refrigerated. Or it can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. However, the longer you keep spicy Binagis, the stronger the spice level will be when you thaw and reheat. Tip: To minimize the spicy notes when keeping leftovers, remove the chopped chilies from the meat and store the Binagis accordingly.Warning: When slicing and handling siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies), be careful not to touch your eyes, face or skin. The spicy chilies may cause a burning sensation. Wash hands immediately after slicing the chilies and mixing it in the beef.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE The Quirino Kitchen recipes on this blog, my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog TheQuirinoKitchen.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]