This Instant Pot or Stove Top version of Filipino-style Picadillo is sweet-salty and full of savory deliciousness coming from perfectly seasoned ground beef cooked with vegetables and raisins! The raisins add that subtle sweet element that elevates this dish to the top! Served with rice but for a more substantial meal, fried plantains and eggs are added as accompaniments, too.
Having been colonized by Spain for over 300 years (let that sink in….more than 300 years!) you can imagine how much Spanish influence we have even in present-day Philippines. This explains why our culture is so distinct from our neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia.
While most of our neighbors are either Buddhists, Hindus or Muslim, the Philippines is predominantly Christian in religion. While most of the food in our region are very spicy, the Philippine cuisine though certainly very tasty, is quite mild in terms of heat level.
I believe that has a lot to do with the western influence we had on making food that came by way of Spain. I honestly think that with regard to food, this is quite good because this sets us apart.
What I love most is that the Philippines did not just blindly adapted Euro-style cuisine but actually gave it an Asian flair and this is exactly what the Filipino version of Picadillo is.
For those who know and have tasted the famous Spanish Picadillo, you can see that it looks quite similar to the Filipino version. However, while both dishes share a lot of similar ingredients and may look related the taste won’t exactly be the same.
Why is that? Because the seasoning, which adds a lot of flavor to the dish, is quite different. While both would be savory, what gives that saltiness to the Filipino version is either soy sauce or fish sauce or a combo of the two as in the case of this particular recipe I am sharing with you all today. That essentially gives it that distinct Asian flavor.
This is why I am partial to the Filipino version because it is so homey and familiar, the kind of flavor I could easily relate to because soy sauce and fish sauce are almost always what gives any Filipino dish that extra ummmmph in taste!
And this seasoning contrasts so perfectly with the added sweet raisins as your tastebuds are treated to something sweet and salty at the same time. Plus, if you eat it with rice, eggs and plantain – it’s seriously like heaven on a plate.
It is simply the kind of comfort food you’d always go back to. I know because I have given this recipe to many friends of mine and to this day this Picadillo (locally known as “giniling”) is routinely a part of their menu rotation.
It is so easy and to make and since the ingredients are quite accessible, it is one of that fill-in-the-gap kind of meal for those nights when you don’t fancy making something too laborious or complicated. It’s certainly great for busy nights.
Best of all, it can be done on the stovetop or instant pot, whichever you prefer. I hope you enjoy this recipe and make sure to serve it with rice, lots of it!
Instant Pot or Stove Top Filipino-style Picadillo (Ground Beef and Vegetable Stew)
This Instant Pot or Stove Top version of Filipino-style Picadillo is sweet-salty and full of savory deliciousness coming from perfectly seasoned ground beef cooked with vegetables and raisins! The raisins add that subtle sweet element which elevates this dish to the top! Usually served with rice but for a more substantial meal fried plantains and eggs are added as accompaniments, too.
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 medium Shallots or 1 large Onion, chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 2 Plum or Roma tomatoes, diced
- 3 red Potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup Water
- 1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 cup Raisins
- 1 cup frozen Peas
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a deep pan or choose the saute function on your instant pot. Saute the shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots have began to soften and look transparent. Add the ground beef; stir to prevent clumping and cook until browned all over about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook for another minute.
Add the potatoes, carrots and water. Stir in the soy sauce and fish sauce. If using the stove top, bring to a boil, cover then simmer on low for 15-20 minutes or until the beef is tender and has absorbed the flavor and the vegetables are done. If using the instant pot, cover and place the vent on sealing position. Choose the manual setting, set on high pressure and time it for 8 minutes. When it's done, allow the vent to do a natural release.
Uncover, choose the saute function for the instant pot and cook the raisins for 2 minutes or until they have plumped up slightly. Cook in the same manner on the stove top. Add the frozen peas and cook for another minute or just until the peas are done. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot with rice on the side.
If you prefer a dryer Picadillo for breakfast or lunch, simply cook until the sauce has evaporated. Serve with fried plantains, sunny side up egg and rice on the side.