Menudo Vs Mechado: Can You Spot These Differences?

menudo vs mechado

Generally, both Menudo and Mechado are tomato sauce-based Pinoy Ulam favorites. However, because their appearance looks quite similar, it is often bewildering for those unfamiliar with Filipino cuisine. So, this article will provide detailed information about the similarities and differences of Menudo vs Mechado, along with related FAQs.

Quick Facts

Menudo

  • Type of meat: pork or chicken
  • Ingredients: potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, green peas, raisins, annatto seeds.
  • Cooking instructions: the preparation and cooking time is shorter, about 1 hour.

Mechado: 

  • Type of meat: beef
  • Ingredients: potatoes, carrot, bay leaves, soy sauce, lemon juice, calamansi fruits.
  • Cooking instructions: more time to stew the meat to be tender.

Related: My favorite list of Mexican foods

Similarities

Origin

The first must-mention similarity of these two dishes is their origin. In detail, they both come from the Philippines. 

It is worth noting that in the U.S, Menudo is usually known as a spicy Mexican soup prepared with tripe pieces in a chili-infused broth. Yet, the mentioned Menudo in this article is the Filipino version of a colorful stew.

Sauce

At first look, people find it the same in their appearance. And the reason why people frequently mix up Menudo and Mechado is their tomato-based recipe. 

Cooking techniques

Another significant similarity between these two recipes is the preparation method. In detail, they are both prepared by stewing all ingredients with tomato sauce until the meats become well-tender.

3 Main Differences Between Menudo Vs Mechado

Type of meat

The first noticeable difference between Menudo and Mechado is the type of meat used in the recipe. In detail, the former is prepared with pork or chicken, especially with the contribution of livers to create a more characteristic flavor in this dish.

Meanwhile, the type of meat used in Mechado is beef stuffed with a thick layer of pork fat in the middle. Otherwise, in some recipes, they use larded beef instead. Thus, this helps the dish add more flavor while also keeping it moist and tender.

Ingredients

Honestly, both ingredients in these two dishes are easy to find and inexpensive. Yet, they use many different veggies and additional ingredients to create a unique flavor. 

  • Menudo: potatoes, carrots, red or green bell peppers, green peas, raisins, annatto seeds.
  • Mechado: potatoes, bay leaves, soy sauce, lemon rind or lemon juice, calamansi fruits.

Although both two dishes use potato and carrot, the key ingredients of Mechado are soy sauce and calamansi fruits to create a pleasant aroma. Besides, Menudo becomes more eye-catching with the color of bell peppers and raisins, giving this stew a balanced taste of sweetness.

Cooking instructions

As mentioned before, the cooking technique of Menudo and Mechado is stewing. Yet, of course, they are associated with different processes of preparation:

Menudo (about 1 hour):

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add annatto seeds and stir until the oil is colored (remember to remove the seeds).
  • Stir onions and garlic in the saucepan until softened, then add and cook pork with fish sauce lightly browned.
  • Add tomatoes and cook, occasionally mashing. When tomatoes release juice, pour water in and bring to boil.
  • Continue to cook for about 30-35 minutes or until pork is tender with lower heat.
  • Add livers, bell peppers, and raisins. Stir well for another 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Mechado (nearly 2 hours):

  • Make a small incision in the center of each beef cube and insert a strip of pork fat carefully. 
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are gently browned. Then, drain it on a paper towel.
  • Add prepared beef and cook until lightly browned (occasionally stirring).
  • Add calamansi juice (or lemon) and soy sauce and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add tomato sauce and water and bring to boil.
  • Put bay leaves into that boiled mixture. Then, lower heat, and cook for about 1 to 2 hours or until beef is tender. 
  • Add the carrots and potatoes and stew until they become tender and the sauce is reduced. After that, add the bell peppers and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

How To Serve And Store Menudo

Menudo is highly recommended as a main dish used with steamed rice for lunch or dinner. Moreover, it also works well as a sandwich filling for pandesal or sliced bread as a lunchtime snack or on-the-go meal.

For Menudo leftovers, allow them to cool entirely and put them in an airtight container. Thus, you can keep them in the refrigerator for three days or up to 2 months in the freezer. 

To reheat, place in a pot and cook over low heat or microwave at 2- to 3-minute intervals until entirely heated.

What Does Mechado Mean?

Because the larded beef resembles a candle, the word Mechado is derived from the Spanish term mecha, which means “wick.” The name was accepted as “mitsa” in the Filipino language; however, the spelling “mitsado” for the meal is unusual and rarely encountered.

What’s The Difference Between Mechado And Kaldereta?

Although the sauce of these two dishes is from tomatoes, kaldereta sauce is more complex by liver spread or coconut milk. The Mechado is seasoned with soy sauce. Sometimes, vinegar is added to emphasize the sourness of the flavor. However, the most prominent taste difference between the Mechado and kaldereta is the bell peppers.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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