Thursday, May 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Bulalo

My slow cooker version of bulalo

The Filipinos love this dish.  It is boiled beef but not any cut of beef or else it will be just called, nilaga (boiled beef).  To be called by the special name, bulalo, it must be made from beef shanks with its characteristic bone marrow.   Picking out this bone marrow or just sucking it out if you do not mind doing so in public is the ultimate pleasure for some Filipinos who love this dish.  I happen to be one of them.

I am presenting the slow cooker version of cooking bulalo.  This method of cooking is perfect for the cuts of meat that are used for this dish.  They need lengthy times to tenderize but the slow cooker will be ideal to make them fork tender and for the juice from the bones to be drawn out by the slow cooking.  It is a matter of knowing which vegetables to place with the meat in the slow cooker and which are to be cooked later with the rest in the slow cooker or in the microwave.

When I had this at Dulce Quimson's luncheon at her beautiful house in Tagaytay, she went all out out and added other beef parts to her Bulalo.  Aside from the beef shank with its bone marrow, she added beef ribs and knee caps.  In fact she had to go to three different stores to get each of them.  Too bad I was so into eating this bulalo I missed photographing Dulce's delicious version.  However, I saw these three cuts of beef in Landmark supermarket in Quezon City during my last visit to the Philippines.  Below are their pictures.

Beef shank

Beef ribs

Beef kneecaps

I stayed with my brother Benjie this past visit of mine to the Philppines.  They have been very hospitable to me everytime I have to go to the Philippines for pleasure or business purposes.  I have been very lucky that I have a very kind and lovely sister-in-law, Pinkie, Benjie's wife, who happens to be an excellent cook. 

Pinkie and Benjie

Pinkie always thoughtfully make it a point to ask me my wish list of Filipino food that I want to eat.  One of them is bulalo.  I will be posting in future blogs the others that she generously prepared for me.  Here are pictures of her version.

One of my favorite restaurants that Benjie and Pinkie brought me to during my last visit to the Philippines was Pamana Restaurant in Tagaytay City.  My daughter Wendy and my granddaughter Maddie went there with us as well as Benjie and Pinkie's wonderful daughter Roxanne.  We ate there while my son-in-law Matt went golfing in Cavite.

The restaurant features native dishes like crispy pata, pinakbet, and of course bulalo.  Every table in this restaurant was graced by a bowl of bulalo with the elongated bony beef shank shown below.  I noticed most of the people just tried to get the most meat out of them and left it alone in the serving bowl but I unshamedly took the bone from our serving bowl and just went at it.  I was the happiest person that day.  Were people at my table embarassed?  Not really, they are used to me.  However, you notice nobody was proud either to take a picture of me doing this gobble gobble thing.

Pamana's Restaurant version of bulalo..

Here are pictures taken of decent poses during lunch at Pamana.  I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, Benjie, Pinkie, Roxanne and Benjo for their hospitality during my stay in the Philippines.  I would like also to thank them immensely for their kindness and hospitality to my daughter Wendy, Matt and Maddie during their short visit in March.  Thank you from all of us.  We love you and we hope you can visit us in Pittsburgh.

Clockwise from left:  Roxanne, Pinkie, Me, Wendy with Maddie and Benjie.

It has a view of the Taal lake and volcano.

Maddie and Wendy on a huge native wicker chair.

The diva, Maddie

Maddie souvenir shot outside the restaurant with her Dollie.

Slow Cooker Bulalo

  • 1 lb beef shank
  • 1 lb chuck beef steak, cut into one inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut bias cut into chunks
  • 4 celery stalks, bias cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut in slices
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into large chunk
  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans
  • 2 corn on the cob, each cut into 4 small pieces
  • 2 cups squash (any kind)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • leafy green vegetables for example 1/2 cabbage or 4 pieces bok choy or combination
  • 2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen (optional)
Place all the ingredients except the leafy green vegetables and green beans in the slow cooker bowl.   Cook for 8 hours at low or 4 hours at high.  I cooked mine in the slow cooker mode in an Aroma brand rice/slow cooker for 3 hours.

Cook the leafy green vegetables in the microwave till cooked and then add to the rest of the cooked bulalo before serving.

Serve with rice with a side of fish sauce (patis) or fish sauce with calamansi or lemon.  This bulalo goes very well with any fried or barbecued pork or chicken or even fish. 

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