25 Apr2012

This is a work in progress. Not sure how long it will take to get to a point that I am happy with the recipe. But here is the ideal, a flavorful, hearty but not heavy pork/beef broth that envelopes light pancit efuven noodles (or thin-ish egg noodles in the absence of efuven) and studded with flavorful bits of meat and odd bits of pork. Guinamos should just slightly flavor the broth, but not overwhelm it. There is almost certainly a light film of fat on the surface, adding flavor, but probably also a result of some beef bulalo to add richness to the equation. Finely chopped chicharon gives crunchy/soggy texture and mouth feel, and again, another layer of flavor. Perhaps some fried garlic, though I personally would opt for fried shallots instead. Maybe some green onions for color and a touch of flavor. Perfect. :) Haven’t gotten there yet. The best batchoy I have had, and I will admit I have NOT been to many places in Bacolod or Iloilo that specialize in this dish, was this bowl of batchoy at “21” in Bacolod, with bulalo added to the dish. It was superb. I understand that “Deco’s” from Iloilo has a fabulous bowl as well, and now that they are on their way to nationwide expansion “a la Mang Inasal”, maybe I will get to try it in Manila instead of flying all the way to Iloilo. I have seen photos of Deco’s and find their burgeoning and laman topped noodles extremely appealing to look at… will have to taste them soon.

Any rate, the first attempt was made with lechon broth, from the bones of Zubuchon, along with some beef stock as well. I think one has to find the balance between the two types of meat. Some suggest 3 parts pork for 1 part beef… but I haven’t settled on a proportion yet. The broth was nice, but I didn’t have guinamos handy when I made this batch, so it lacked that extra something. I suspect some purveyors add a touch of brown sugar as well, by the way, as some bowls of batchoy have a slightly sweet tinge to it. I used efuven noodles, though thin miki noodles were also tried as a back-up since we had both on hand. I sauteed some pork liver, chicken gizzards and shredded lechon meat with some lard over high heat with a touch of patis or fish sauce to brown just slightly. Placed the cooked noodles in a bowl, ladled in the broth, topped with the meats, sprinkled with green onions and added some boiled egg. No chicharon available during this experiment. This was good, but not great. Maybe a 6.5 or 7.0/10.0. Will have to assemble all of the ingredients before I try this again. And for the bulalo, I am thinking of roasting a split open bulalo bone (I got some organically raised bulalo bones from a suki a few weeks back) in an oven on high heat, then diners can simply scoop the bulalo onto their batchoy. :) If you have any other suggestions for making a better batchoy, I would appreciate your comments. Of course, if it passes muster, we may serve this “Lechon Batchoy” at the restaurants eventually… :)



  1. Anne :-) says:

    I am thinking of adding veggies…like bokchoy…just steamed them a bit for that added crunch.. :-)

    Apr 25, 2012 | 3:29 pm


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  3. Nadia says:

    Just like you MM, the best batchoy I’ve tasted was in 21. It made me slightly disappointed though to find out that they use MSG in their recipe…like in most other commercial establishments. I’m assuming yours had none?

    Apr 25, 2012 | 4:37 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Nadia, no MSG added to this one. However, anyone making their broth with broth cubes will also be adding MSG (unless you use the snazzy imported knorr cubes without MSG). MSG adds that zing to the broth, but long, slow-cooked and bone/meat rich broths shouldn’t need it at all.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 4:45 pm

  5. josephine says:

    Long and very slow boiling of the broth seems to be the way. Some serious Japanese noodle shops boil the bones for 12-24 hours apparently, and the late great Doreen Fernandez once wrote about a hole in the wall place which started boiling their bones at 4am. But those broiled bulalo bones, if I were around they wouldn’t last long enough to wait for the rest! Luckily there is an old-fashioned cafe here which serves just that: just broiled marrow bones with chunky toast.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 6:34 pm

  6. Connie C says:

    Why not garlic MM? I see lots of it as an important ingredient of batchoy ( garlic infused oil) according to people from La Paz. Have you tried a chicken/pork stock combination instead of beef? And what about incorporating a modified mirepoix recipe being careful or eliminating the carrot or celery for depth of flavor? charring the onion and garlic under the pot perhaps before adding to the stock like the Vietnamese do? How about a little bit of diluted caramelized sugar instead of straight sugar for that hint of sweetness?

    Apr 25, 2012 | 6:56 pm

  7. Monique says:

    MM, where can I get the noodles for batchoy?

    Apr 25, 2012 | 6:58 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Monique, I have only ever found efuven noodles at DEC, a Chinese grocery in Virra Mall in Greenhills or at a Chinese grocer in Ongpin Street. Alternatively, use thin miki noodles, either fresh or dried…

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:09 pm

  9. PITS, MANILA says:

    Looks so comforting! I guess any dish with your Zubuchon is bound to be a great success, work in progress or otherwise.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:49 pm

  10. Mimi says:

    Our cook would make the batchoy soup with sibut(?) which she bought at the palengke in little packets. I do not know the proportions, but she would boil it for hours with meat bones. Also, the finished soup had jelly-like chicharon chunks. It did have a slight sweet taste, but not too sweet, so maybe she did put sugar?

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:29 pm

  11. bearhug0127 says:

    The secret of batchoy is in the broth I believe. When I was growing up in Iloilo, we used to sell batchoy in our coffee house and I remember the broth being boiled from the early morning. MM, there is a certain brand of msg specially used for batchoy and it doesn’t look like the ajinomoto kind. This comes in mayo-like kind of jars. I’m not sure but I haven’t seen this being sold in Manila. Could this be only found in Iloilo and Bacolod? I can’t recall the brand. Maybe, my fellow Ilonggos can help me out on this?

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:30 pm

  12. natie says:

    MSG has been taken off the Carcinogenic list, but will have to read on that again..anyhow, charred meats on BBQs are carcinogenic, so is too much sun…is Magic Sarap MSG too?

    Your Batchoy lookg really good, MM..I have to taste it, though…2 years ago, Ted’s batchoy tasted really bland to me–maybe it depends on the branch..I really like Deco’s, but maybe it’s the MSG and the saltiness..ormay it’s my jaded tastebuds…

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:53 pm

  13. Footloose says:

    About the long and slow simmering of soup bones, has not anyone determined yet at what point soup bones would have totally yielded its essence and continued seething beyond that point would just be wasting energy or worse, breaking down the priced flavor?

    A neighbor famous for their mami (this is what we call this bachoy in Luzon) used pig’s head in huge stock pots kept in constant simmer in the back burner. I can just imagine the improvement in flavor roasting them first. That’s how the French do their brown stock.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:59 pm

  14. Gej says:

    Good luck! I heard that galangal is also used as an ingredient in batchoy.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:03 pm

  15. lookie says:

    Hi MM,
    This is an off topic question.Where or which part of Quiapo did you get your bread pan? I was looking at amazon but its $25 each pair.I’m going to ask my sister to look for one for me.
    Thanks so much. By the way, for Lent this year I only manage to give up reading your blog for a week, a really great sacrifice….crazy huh!!!

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:10 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    lookie, Sin Kiang Heng, near the Quiapo bridge.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:30 pm

  17. betty q. says:

    French influence in Vietnam cooking as shown by browning the beef/ chicken/pork neck bones as well as the aromatics like ginger/onions.

    I was still a little girl when I had my last bowl of Batchoy. So, if I were to make this at home…I would use something similar to my Pho broth…So, PSYCHOMOM, para isa na lang typing chore…For every 3 pounds of beef/bones, 2 pounds chicken/pork bones. Blanch them first to remove the malansa smell, drain thoroughly and put them in cookie sheet. Then rub them with oil and roast them high heat in the oven till browned. Do the same with 2 very large onions and 2 thumb size (ladies’ thumb!) ginger….roast them high heat. Then put everything in a pot and add cold water to start with adding the following at the VERY LAST HOUR of simmering… 1 cinnamon bark (Asian stores), a few star anise, just a few whole cloves and 3 tsp. salt (or to taste) . I simmer it for at least 4 to 5 hours keeping the water lever to about 2/3 of the stock pot. Just simmer it to get a clear broth. For the sweetish taste, I think ROASTING the onions first will give it the sweet edge esp. if you use WALLA WALLA> Sayang, MM…if you were here I would give you sackfuls of my KELSAE ONIONS! They are sweet onions like an apple that you can bite into them.

    Now, for Batchoy broth I would omit the cloves/star anise but not the cinnamon stick. I would also roast the same bones as in the Pho as well as roast the onions and the ginger.

    But more importantly as in making Ramen broth for our household ramen, I have to be calm and collected, MM…not stressed out. I believe that a person’s state of mind plays an important ROLE when cooking. If you are in a BUWISIT MODE when cooking, it will greatly affect the outcome of your finished product!!!!

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:51 pm

  18. misao says:

    gizzard is new to me as a batchoy ingredient but since i don’t have any aversion to that innard, it’s worth a try next time i make this.

    betty q, as always, thanks for the recipe. i really learn a lot from you, especially about available ingredients here in canada (i’m from the prairies). your comment about the state of mind while cooking reminds me of my aunt in the philippines… she would always tell me to smile while cooking (she sings and smiles while cooking).

    Apr 25, 2012 | 11:42 pm

  19. bakerwannabe says:

    @Footloose, yes it is mami. The best mami place for me is Mamonluk in Chinatown Benavidez St. Don’t know if it is still there. BettyQ, when i am in a B-mode, I bake. It calms me down.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 11:53 pm

  20. Pinkyrose says:

    Just curious, did you include ginger in your batchoy?

    I surfed the net and found some recipes with ginger so I want to know if the addition of ginger is just a matter of choice or not.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 11:58 pm

  21. josephine says:

    For the obsessive, J Kenji Lopez-Alt does a fascinating long experiment in making pork broth in The Food Lab series on the Serious Eats website. Amazing step- by- step photos. His conclusion: although he kept on boiling for much longer, after 6 hours there was no longer any significant change or improvement. It seems important though to roast the bones or aromatics or both (for the famous Maillard reaction) and to up the umami factor afterwards. He uses mushrooms, but MM is spot on with the guinamos I think.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 12:09 am

  22. betty q. says:

    Bakerwannabe: Back in those days, there was a hole in the wall joint here that we frequent for really good, cheap Chinese food. We ate there before going home right after our shift in the restaurant. There was about 8 of us. But somehow, there were nights that though it was the same Chinese cook, the dishes didn’t taste the same in what we are used to. So, we would kid around and say that the cook had PMS and we would laugh hysterically!

    Apr 26, 2012 | 12:33 am

  23. Ellen says:

    betty_q – you are so right about the buwisit mode theory! Truly, happy cooks are the best cooks! Sabi nga ni Paul Gaugain, “No mean woman can cook well. It calls for a generous spirit, a light hand, and a large heart.”

    Apr 26, 2012 | 1:00 am

  24. Annie in LA says:

    betty q– you are spot on in the broth preparation… our vietnamese/ laotian friend uses the same technique… sometimes, if short on time, he would boil all the bones and after boiling, throw away the water ( shortens the skimming of the scum) rinses the meats/ bones and use fresh water for the second boiling and add the aromatics…

    and I have to agree with you on the effect of food from the mindset of the cook… even if cooked the same way, if one is mad, the food comes out tasting different! lol!

    Apr 26, 2012 | 1:06 am

  25. natie says:

    My friend from Flavours of Iloilo posted this a while back.. http://flavoursofiloilo.blogspot.com/2011/02/inside-teds-oldtimer-lapaz-batchoy.html

    Apr 26, 2012 | 3:27 am

  26. cwid says:

    I agree with Betty q. When I am in a foul mood while I bake, it never comes out right.

    I think the liver and balun-balunan add a sweetish taste to the broth. So do pork and chicken bones. The guinamos is what defines the La Paz flavor, I find.

    If you could saw a big bone of roasted bulalo lengthwise and serve as a side dish, that would really be an indulgence. Slurp!

    Apr 26, 2012 | 5:16 am

  27. Susan says:

    Coincidently I experimented earlier this week in making this. There used to be a van at our local flea market that really had good broth, a tinge of sweetness and really tasty. I googled recipes online and found a lot of them put pork innards but I didn’t want to try that since I really don’t have much experience cooking with innards. I took out my Vietnamese cook books to get some tips and thought of roasting the onions, etc. as mentioned by Connie and Bettyq but opted to just make my regular nilaga broth using beef shank. I boiled for hours until the meat was soft and took the marrow and mashed it into the broth, added some sugar for that very slight sweetness, patis, sea salt, and black pepper. also browned garlic, chopped green onions and shredded bok choy. Forgot about the egg. The results weren’t bad but it just wasn’t quite there. It needs something, maybe that umami flavor. Looking forward to more tips on this post.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 5:17 am

  28. una says:

    I’m not a batchoy expert, based on the picture above, i know i will like this. It’s simplicity seems comforting and yet quite complicated to make; with the pre roasting etc. How about adding finely chopped kinchay–addition of this herb last minute not only garnish, also gives it a sharp tang if that is what you’re after, also makes it taste Chinese.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 5:24 am

  29. natie says:

    it’s never the same without MSG. I go for the old La Paz batchoy –MSG and all.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 5:31 am

  30. Netoy says:

    This looks like a mami for us. Our batchoy is pieces of pork meat and pork liver, sauteed in liberal amounts of ginger and onions with the broth added.

    What’s the difference between the mami and batchoy?

    Apr 26, 2012 | 5:52 am

  31. Marketman says:

    Netoy, if I am not mistaken, Central luzon has a dish of batchoy that is mostly the sauteed meats, without the noodles and soup… while Iloilo calls their noodle soup with sauteed innards and pork batchoy… just a situation with two different dishes having the same name… and yes, for some, this is mami… all of the noodle dishes, of course, variants of Chinese noodle dishes in some way…

    Apr 26, 2012 | 6:27 am

  32. Joe-ker says:

    I suddenly became weak in the knees when I saw this post. I hope the next time I visit Cebu it will already be in the menu

    Apr 26, 2012 | 11:38 am

  33. kate says:

    you have perfectly cooked boiled egg there!! love misua in my batchoy.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 1:52 pm

  34. joey says:

    Ok, this is too late in the night for me to be craving, but WOW! Sounds superb and I love the idea of having roasted bulalo on the side to scoop in!!!

    Also, I gotta say, that is one perfectly cooked hard boiled egg!

    Apr 26, 2012 | 9:17 pm

  35. bobby says:

    hi marketman. i think you should try using aji tamago instead of the boring boiled egg
    in your batchoy. you will notice aji tamago being offered as a side dish to tonkotsu ramen.

    Apr 27, 2012 | 5:13 am

  36. betty q. says:

    Another topping, MM…when I make calabaza okoy using tempura batter , there are those nice crispy bits that float after frying the squash okoy. I use that to top our ramen or udon. Those crispy bits will make make yours different. Maybe use the squash okoy as kaulam withthe batchoy hitting 2 birds with 1 stone!

    Apr 27, 2012 | 5:56 am

  37. muzzy says:

    you may want to consider taking one of these one week ramen making classes:


    it seems somewhat of a marketing gimmick — they teach you how to make ramen, and hopefully you’ll buy their equipment afterwards —– but this is the kind of gimmick i don’t mind falling for. i plan to go next year. sure would love to see a write-up from you beforehand if you go earlier. tuition looks high, but less than a one week amanpulo stay, i believe.

    Apr 27, 2012 | 10:07 pm

  38. Dragon says:

    @ Betty Q, bakerwannabe, cwid, et al: the mood of the cook/baker is transferred onto the dish. A lore that has been proven time and again. One extreme is that if the cook/baker is loved/full of love/in love, you taste that in the food. And as you said, if busiwit, the outcome is also busiwit! LOL

    I have listened to myself, after more than a quarter of a century in the kitchen, not to go near it when I am in a buwisit mood. Even I cannot stand the resulting dish (and house members know better than to criticize hard work so they just say it’s OK – then watch them scrunch their faces – bwahahahaha!).

    Apr 28, 2012 | 1:20 pm

  39. Katrina says:

    Since he is a proud and similarly food-obsessed Ilonggo/Negrenese, I was waiting for Lee to comment on this. Where are ya, Lee?

    I’ve been to Bacolod many times and I like 21’s batchoy best too, especially the one with bulalo (which runs out early in the day). I’ve tried Deco’s in Makati and liked it — not bad for a substitute when you’re in Manila and can’t get to 21.

    El Ideal in Silay also serves an old-school style batchoy. What I like about this is that, instead of hard-boiled eggs, a raw egg is broken onto the soup. You can stir it in right away, or, as someone I know does it, let it cook a bit in the hot broth, then save the best for last and eat the runny yolk at the very end. :-)

    May 1, 2012 | 2:38 am

  40. onix says:

    the chicharon is another important ingredient.. others only use the ordinary chicharon but authentic la paz batchoy uses the “pinakupsan na balat ng baboy?

    May 31, 2012 | 11:52 am

  41. jj says:

    My batchoy version.

    This is my soup ratio.

    4 kilos chicken bones
    3 kilos pork bones
    1 kilo beef bones
    a Sachet Bouquet of dried shrimps (hibe). Since guinamos is not available. I once or twice was able to get them through customs officials but when not available I use hibe from chinatown.

    In a big soup pot put in 2 kilos of shallots (washed and peeled). Cover with water and boil. Season with salt. Essentially, we are making onion soup.

    In another big soup pot put all bones and cover with water and bring to a rolling boil then bring to simmer. Skim off the surface any scum that floats. After 2 hours season with salt, pepper, and MSG (a must, I do not like using it but it makes a big difference, I usually ask relatives to bring me “shabu” whenever they fly here. It is not Ajinomoto and I really do not know what brand it is but it is sold in Iloilo Central Market. It might very well be shabu for all i know hehehe), then add Sachet Bouquet. Continue to simmer and taste till you get it right, then take out the sachet. Make sure to taste often for the shrimp taste might over power the rest. In a separate pot take out some of the broth and add pork/beef liver, pork, chicken, and beef. Add the onions from the onion soup that was previously boiled and some of the soup. Season with salt and pepper. And boil till tender but not mushy. I roast marrow bones separately and just serve it on the side.

    Cut up the pork/chicken/beef/liver meat in to slivers.
    Put miki in a bowl.
    Top with cut up meat.
    Add 30 percent onion soup then 70 percent broth.

    Garnish with fried garlic, chives, and chicharon. I like adding fried shallots. Please no egg.

    It is labor intensive and I only do this when I really crave for it or when family visits from out of state. BTW lechon meat would really work well in this recipe as a substitute for the boiled pork.

    Jun 23, 2012 | 6:18 am


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