Mechado sans Beef

No, it’s not really a name for a newly-invented dish.  It’s simply a recipe for beef mechado without the beef.  In other words, a vegetarian mechado.

Beef mechado is a traditional Filipino dish  influenced by the Spanish culinary practice of threading strips of meat before cooking to make it more tender and less dry. Mechado comes from the Spanish word mecha which means “wick.”

For this recipe, I substituted the meat with vegetarian beef, or Thit Bo Chay. It’s a tofu-based “fake” beef, available at most Asian grocery stores.  You can also use regular fried tofu. While tofu in itself does not have flavor, it easily absorbs that of ingredients or sauces it is cooked with. Another slight variation I made to this recipe is adding brown sugar to “temper” the resulting flavor from all the sauces and spices used.

So enjoy all the trimmings of beef mechado , vegetarian style!  What’s more, cooking time is reduced to minutes instead of hours!


1/2 lb vegetarian beef (Thit Bo Chay, available at most Asian grocery stores).  Alternatively, you can also use regular pan fried tofu (Dau Hu Chao Chien Chay)

3 red potatoes, washed and cubed, skin on

1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 cup baby carrots

3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1/4 cup onions, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp whole peppercorn

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp brown sugar


Heat oil in a large pot or wok

Add garlic and cook until golden brown

Add onions and saute for 1 minute

Add diced tomatoes, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorn then bring to a boil

Add potatoes, tofu, carrots, pepper strips and brown sugar

Simmer for 45  minutes

Remove bay leaves and serve with steamed white or brown rice.