I did not know the difference between the two except that when we have afritada, we used chicken and if we have caldereta, we use beef. Later, I have learned that the main difference of the two is the way it was cooked.
Afritada is cooked by sauteing garlic, onion, tomato sauce and the meat. The usual ingredients of Afritada is pork or chicken, vegetables such as bell pepper (red and green for nice presentation), potato and carrots. Some uses green peas to add up some color. Tomato sauce is the key ingredients and some uses salt or fish sauce to add flavor.
Usually, carrots and potatoes are fried first. And then garlic and onion are sauteed on the same pan. The seasoning next and then the chicken or the pork. Let it cook for about 10 minutes and then put the tomato sauce. Cover the pan and put the heat into low and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Then put the veggies, add some water and let it boil for about 5 minutes. Your afritada is best served with steaming rice and banana on the side.
Caldereta on the other hand is prepared by marinating and pre cooking the beef in vinegar. Boil the beef in vinegar with garlic and laurel and freshly ground pepper. When the beef is tender enough, saute the garlic, onion and (salt seasoning) the beef. Add the liver spread and let it stand for five minutes. Then add the tomato sauce. Leave for another five minutes (but be cautious on the sauce as it may dry up, if it happens, just add some water). Add the veggies such as potato, carrots and bell pepper. Add some water and let it boil. In some cases, instead of water, they add coconut milk, making the caldereta richer and creamier.
The main difference of afritada and caldereta is the preparation or the pre cooking of meat and yes, coconut milk is another.