I was fortunate to spend a Christmas weekend at Auntie Joy’s place in San Pablo, Laguna. I was craving for Caldereta when Marife served me this dish. It was called Sinantomas. It was delicious! They said it was a dish that’s unique to people in Laguna. There are two variations to this and this is one of them.
Technically it is a “poor man’s caldereta”. The secret is to slowly saute everything in low-medium fire and use fresh tomatoes. Don’t puree it. If you can chop it finely, do so. That’s what I did or at least tried to do.
This is one of those dishes that cannot be hurried. So do it on a weekend. In fact it has to be done slowly. I guess one of the plus points of cooking this in the province is that cook this over an outdoor stove – kalan. This gives the dish that subtle smoky flavor that can’t be replicated in any indoor kitchen. Not to mention, the low fire part.
1 kilo beef, I used beef shank and short ribs for this one
1 kilo finely chopped tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
1 head of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
water or chicken broth
- Saute garlic till golden, not brown. Add onion and sautee till transluscent. Add tomatoes, sautee for 30 – 45 mins over low fire.
- On a separate pan, season the beef in salt and pepper then sear on all sides.
- If you have a crock pot or slow cooker, pour in the sauce, add bay leaves [dahon ng laurel] add the beef on top. Set it on low and cook for 7 – 10 hours. Add chicken broth [kinda makes it taste better instead of beef broth], if it lacks water.
- If you don’t have a crock pot, add beef to the sauce and keep stirring for an hour, exercising those arm muscles.
- Add broth, simmer for 1-2 hours till beef is soft.
- I don’t know why, but pureed tomatoes will change the texture and taste.
- I tried cooking this with just tomatoes, no tomato sauce or tomato paste. It was tastier.
- This is best when the meat has bones since everything is simmered, the sauce will be quite tasty.
- I tried it with and without patis. In the end, the portion with patis tasted better for me.