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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Bulalo

We’re so into this slow cooker craze that my mind is bursting with recipes to try! Up for today is a slow-cooked version of one of our favorite Sunday dishes for lunch: Bulalo.




This authentic Filipino dish is a hearty soup made of tender beef meat or shanks with vegetables and corn. So for a more universal recognition, it can be called a beef and vegetable soup. It differs from the regular soup since it can stand alone in a meal even when paired only with white steamed rice. It is not so much a soup as a main dish. There is nothing more satisfying in a lazy Sunday afternoon than after having your fill of this tasty beef soup and feeling languorous.

We usually cook bulalo in a pressure cooker so that the meat will become tender enough. The downside to cooking it that way is that the meat will sometimes fall apart even before serving. With the slow cooker, the beef retained its form while still being so tender that you can pull the meat off by a fork, effortlessly. I was a little down when I started cooking because we weren’t able to get some of my much-loved bone marrow shanks and had to settle for some beef cubes instead (tough day at the grocery), but one taste of that uber-tender meat made all my discontent evaporate. I was in soup heaven…

Oh and if you’re wondering what I’m doing cooking something not remotely spicy, hold your horses a little. I was just about to get to that. The trick to getting a spicy soup is by cooking a couple of jalapenos together with the beef. After hours of cooking, that will be one heck of a spicy hot soup!


  • 2 pounds beef cubes or beef shanks
  • 1 large-sized onion, chopped
  • 2 cobs of yellow sweet corn, chopped into 3 parts each
  • 2-3 stalks of leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 pound Chinese cabbage
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped (optional)
  • 2 beef cubes dissolved in 800ml or 4 cups of water
  • 10 pieces whole peppercorns
  • 2-5 whole jalepenos
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

1. Place beef in a large deep pot. Pour in water at the same level as the beef and bring to a boil. After 5 minutes of boiling, take the pot off the heat and throw away the water. Rinse the beef to remove any scum that came out of boiling.

2. Place the beef with the rest of the ingredients inside the slow cooker stoneware pot, except for the Chinese cabbage. Season with salt and ground pepper then cook in high for 8 hours.

3. After 8 hours, adjust seasoning to your preference and add the Chinese cabbage. Cook in low for another 20-30 minutes.

4. Serve with white steamed rice. Best eaten when still hot with a side seasoning of soy sauce, calamansi (lime) and some red bird’s eye chili for that wonderful fiery taste. (I just had to get my spicy fix.)



Sorry for the lack of pictures, the tantalizing aroma was teasing us for hours that after taking one good shot we just had to eat then and there. :)



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