Sunday, November 28, 2010


Last week, I was at a local Filipino grocery looking for goat meat. The lady beside me commented that I didn't seem like a person who would be looking for goat meat.
I was confused. "What do you mean by that?" I asked politely.  But she answered me with yet another question.
"Which part of the Philippines are you from?" she asked
"I'm from Tuguegarao, Cagayan -- it's a province in the north." I answered.
"Ahh, now I understand" she said nonchalantly.

This was the moment when I realized that food connects us to where we come from, where we are currently at and where we intend to go. I'm certain it's not just northern Filipinos who eat goat meat. I do not have a craving for this dish, nor did I grow up having this as my favorite. Still, I have pleasant memories of how frantic my relatives would be with preparing and cooking this in our backyard. I will never forget the noise the goats would make when they were delivered to our house; my Papa's clients presented them to our family as gifts for my Papa's birthdays or for special occasions. I grew up under my Papa's wing, who would have goat meat included in his usual repertoire of "fiesta food."

Two years ago, I came back to my hometown -- and I immediately craved kaldaretang kambing (goat stew). After being away for 10 years, I was surprised at how my hometown had changed.  It is now more crowded and developed with new buildings and stores lining the streets.  Even at my parents' house things have changed.  Having a party at our home no longer had the whole house smelling like food.  My sister in law, who has a catering business, had been officially appointed as my Papa's official caterer and food consultant.  The spread changed; they had a different repertoire of food.  The food was no longer cooked in the backyard.

There was one exception to this change.  My husband took a side trip to my hometown during his business trip to Asia a few months ago.  He spent a day with my folks after not being able to visit them for 15 years.  Papa was so excited that he threw a big welcome party for him  He planned the menu himself and included several goat dishes as part of his menu.  He had the feast prepared using the old fashioned way.

My husband called me from Tuguegarao the morning of this feast. He said, "I woke up to the sound of goats!  Goats!" I laughed as I remembered the loud meeeahhhh's that would resonate throughout the house. I laughed knowing that what he was experiencing was what I experienced as a child.  My husband grew up in the city and never experienced something as "provincial" as having domestic animals prepared and cooked in the backyard.

I don't know what got into me that day when I bought goat meat. All I know is that I wanted to revisit my Papa's way of entertaining.  I wanted to revisit how he enjoyed having this dish, how he enjoyed sharing it with his friends over ice-cold beer or his Johnny Walker black. And how he planned the menu for my husband's party, which was going to be his last. Cheers to you Papa!

Kaldaretang Kambing (Goat Stew)

Goat meat (I bought the whole leg)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tbsps liver pate
green olives
pineapple chunks
green bell pepper
Olive oil or butter
Bay leaf
black pepper


In order to remove the gamy smell of the goat, marinate or wash the goat meat with vinegar.  Make sure to wash it thoroughly.   I then boiled the goat meat with herbs and spices, threw the first boil and boiled it again until tender.

In a saucepan, saute the goat meat with garlic, onions.  Add black pepper and bay leaf.  Let it simmer and reduced to almost dry.  Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.  Cook it on low fire until tender.  Add soup stock or water if the meat is not tender yet.

Add green olives, pineapple and green bell peppers.  Thicken it using liver pate.  Add about 2 tbsp of olive oil to enhance the taste.  You could also use butter if you prefer so.


  1. This looks so authentic. Im surprised you were able to recreate the dish.


  2. Kalderetang kambing is the dish that comes up when goat meat is up, though I have yet to cook goat meat myself. I have fond memories of cooking in the backyard too when it's time for barrio fiesta. Thanks for posting your recipe, I'm sure your father approves. :)

  3. Mmm...this looks so delicious! Never tried goat stew before. I really love the color of this dish :)

  4. I love food that is so incredibly infused with memories and it really is amazing how much food can be linked to who we are and where we come from. This stew sounds delicious, especially since it is tinged with memories of your father.

  5. wow this looks wonderful in India they make a great goat curry :-)

  6. I am not a big fan of goat meat but this dish does look delicious.

  7. Oh, I'm sure I would just LOVE this! I really enjoy goat meat and find it sad that it's not more popular in the US.

  8. Gorgeous goat stew. I a lot of goat stew growing up as a kid, my father's favorite. It is amazing how much food connects us.

    Lovely post.

    By the way, gotta go with the Johnnie Walker black.

  9. I tried cooking this dish before and was a little disappointed because it didn't taste like the dish I ate when I was back home. So I've decided not to cook this again..... not sure what I did wrong. Maybe with your recipe, I will be able to recreate the taste of the real kalderetang kambing. By the way, where do you buy your goat meat? Thanks for posting!

  10. I love kalderetang kambing. In fact, I love goat. One time, I had this unexplainable craving for any goat dish (my favorites though are kilawin and kaldereta). The nearby supermarket did not sell it but a neighbor had goats for sale. I bought one and asked them to give the meat and keep the head and feet and the innards. There's this inexplicable satisfaction in eating something from your childhood or hometown. I had goat meat for a week! I'll try your recipe. I guess I have to buy another goat. :)

  11. MMMM!!!You are taking me back to Manila with this dish. My hubby and I ordered kaldereta for room service twice when we visited Boracay 2 years ago. He was that addicted to the dish. Looks yummy! I love this dish a lot!

  12. TagaTugue: I was glad i did. Thank you!

    Caroline: I hope you get to try it.. it's great to know too that you had experienced the "barrio fiesta" when you were still in the Philippines.

    Anncoo: I hope you will have the chance to try goat meat. It's a little bony but nonetheless delicious.

    Joanne: It's truly amazing how food connects us to our past, present.. and how it brings back memories. Always great to see you!

    Rebecca: I heard Indian goat curry is good. In fact I got that suggested among friends that I should try it too.

    Quay Po: Yeah, goat meat is not popular and not tried by many. Great to meet you!

    ASP: Great to see you stop by. I've been reading your blog too! Hopefully someday soon it will, at least we have the goat cheese to begin with haha!

    Lazaro: Wonderful to know that you have connections with goat meat too.. Great to see you as always!

    Laura: I bought my goat meat from a Vietnamese grocery over here in SD. I hope you could buy some over there in NY so you could try cooking it again.

    Marife: The whole goat??? and i thought when i bought the whole leg it was huge hahah. great to know that you are into cooking too.

    Kath: Maybe you could surprise your hubby by cooking this dish... Great to see you Kath!

  13. Malou, running in my mind is that your food posts creates a connection in me - where I come from and where I am at the moment - then, there you go! Putting it so succinctly how I feel, "food connects us to where we come from, where we are currently at and where we intend to go."

    1. Cheers to you Orly. Umay lapa y agal na nagaffanammu maski sitaw ngana y jammu (I know it's written differently in Ibanag but hey it conveys the message :0 )

  14. Hi! Your site is a treasure chest full of yumminess! Can't wait to use your Caldereta recipe. :D Anyway, I am living in the Philippines. I grew up in Tumauini, Isabela. It's just a 1-hour ride to Tuguegarao. My childhood memory of this delicious dish is pure bliss. It's my favourite food and every time I have my vacation in the province I make sure to eat this dish once a day. Dios Mabbalo nikamu Manang! :D

    1. Hi Whitney!
      Thank you for visiting my blog. Your comment inspires me to go back to writing. again. You see i haven't blogged in 2 months. I've been busy with my pop up restaurant and my new Video channel on You TUbe but your comment sparked something new or i would say RENEW. Thanks for the inspiration. DIOS Y MABBALO NIKAW GAPA!
      Much love,

  15. Hi Malou, reading your blog on calderretta, ran parallel to my experience as an Ybanag living overseas. I too had similar memories growing up in Ilagan (Isabela). Most family occasions and fiestas would not be complete without 'kanzing' and the most awaited dish would be calderretta. Now living in Sydney (Australia), and an avid weekend cook, I cook the Ybanag favourites that our multicultural (Filipinos, Aussies, Chinese and Indonesians) friends have enjoyed with gusto! calderretta, morcon, estofado, callos, and havitchuelas with pork hock and partner it with corn flour pita bread that I recall is called innandappel. Even our ManileƱo friends now enjoy goat calderretta.

    To remove the gamy smell of goat meat, I brown the meat and pour two to three cups of red wine (Shiraz) and let it boil. I then add cinnamon, tomato paste, bay leaf, onion, garlic, marjoram and chilli (for spice). I then cook it slowly for 2 hours or pressure cook.

    Ybanags and the people of Cagayan Valley has a rich culinary tradition that you have poignantly rekindled amongst the many readers of your blog.

    Regards, Bong Baui


Thank you for stopping by and oh I would be thrilled even more if you could leave a comment... :) Cheers!

Share this thru:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...