Papaitan - Modified Pinapaitan Recipe

Bitter Stew of Beef with Innards

Papaitan is that popular Ilocano bitter and spicy stew consisting of beef or goat innards as liver, heart, tripe and the bitter bile (apdo).

However, this is a modified pinapaitan recipe -- meaning, instead of using bile to get the signature bitter taste, lemon peel and pith(white part of the lemon peel) is substituted.

It is much like using the Pinapaitan ready mix -- try reading the ingredients at the back of the packet and you will find lemon peel as one of the ingredients.

So if you live in an area where you cannot find the fresh or frozen cow bile,

-- or you cannot get the Pinapaitan Ready mix,

--or you simply have no appetite to eat a dish with the dreaded bile, the lemon pith alternative is your best option.

The tripe is boiled separate from the rest since it has the longest cooking time. See Cooking Tripe page for tips.

Similarly, we cook the cow innards separate from the beef because we usually discard the liquid from boiling the innards.

You will also notice that this recipe uses a whole lot of lemon. Only half of the lemons will be used for their peels and pith and the other half reserved just in case the broth is not bitter enough.

The juice of all the lemons are added in the end for a fresher citrus taste.


(Note : The dish, recipe and the lemon pith idea is from one of my favorite aunts, Tess Duay Layug of Union, NJ.)


  • Beef Chuck or Stew meat
  • Beef Innards of your choice
    • Tripe, Heart, Kidney, Intestines
  • Lemon
  • Knorr Beef cube


  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Chili peppers
  • Fish Sauce or Patis
  • Ground Pepper


  • 2 pound Beef chuck or stew meat, cubed and boiled with 1 Onion
  • 2 pounds assorted beef innards of your choice, boiled with 1 Onion and cut in bite size pieces

  • 1 head Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 2 thumbsize Ginger, minced
  • 1 -2 long Chili Pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1 piece Knorr cube
  • 6-8 cups beef broth from boiling beef

  • 8 pieces whole Lemons
  • 1 -2 tablespoon Fish Sauce

1 Prepare the lemons by peeling 4 out of the 8, then grinding or chopping the peel and pith finely. Juice all 8 lemons and set aside.

2 Boil the peel in 2-3 cups of the beef broth, then strain and set aside.

3 Saute the garlic, onion, ginger, and chili pepper, then add the beef and innards and saute for about 3 minutes.

4 Together with the bitter beef broth, add the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon juice and bring to a boil.

5 Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, then add the lemon juice.

6 Serve hot with rice or an icy cold beer.

lemon pith


  • Calamansi cannot be used as substitute to get the bitter taste because there isn't really any bitter pith from them.

  • The kind of offal or innards you want to add to your Papaitan is totally up to you -- or you could use just tripe with the cubed beef. You could do away with the other lamang-loob or beef offal.

  • If you want to add liver, try pork liver rather than beef as they are more tender. Put the cubed pieces at the last minute and cook briefly so they don't get tough and chewy.

Return to Filipino Beef Recipes

Return to Home Page

Return to Papaitan Top page