Spicy Beef Picadillo Asian-Style/Filipino Recipe

Many of you must have heard of the Mexican dish called “picadillo”, composed of ground beef, tomato sauce, potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and other vegetables. Other Latin American countries have their own version of picadillo as well. In fact, the Cuban version has olives and raisins in it – doesn’t it sound so delicious?

Picadillo has its roots in Spain. Unsurprisingly, it has reached the Latin Americas due to colonization. But did you know that one Asian country also has its own version of picadillo? The Philippines, once a colony of Spain for more than 300 years, has adopted this Spanish recipe as one of the most loved homecooked dishes. Like the Latin Americas, the Asian and Filipino version of picadillo has potatoes, onions, and bell peppers in it. But just like any other local dish, each homecook has a customized version of this simple dish.

This is what we’re going to share with you. Our version of Filipino picadillo.

asian beef picadillo recipe

Our recipe for Filipino beef picadillo is mild, savory, and yet spicy – all at the same time! Here’s how we did it: fresh tomatoes.

Yes, tomatoes to balance everything out. The result is a good balance between salty and sour, plus that nice heat from red chili peppers that ties everything together. Nothing extreme here, just enough spiciness to encourage you to take another spoonful of this savory, spicy dish with rice. Or if you don’t want any more carbs, you can definitely eat this on its own. It’s a warm, comforting dish that reminds you of home. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it gives you what you need: a satisfying meal.

Our Sour Tamarind Soup (Sinigang) recipe is also a must-try Asian dish that’s a perfectly healthy comfort food. It has plenty of vegetables and you can definitely substitute the ingredients according to your liking.

filipino picadillo recipe


LEAN GROUND BEEF – It’s better to use lean meat for this recipe to avoid an oily, slippery mess. We don’t want the ingredients to swim in oil as this recipe is meant to be eaten like soup.

GARLIC – Lots of garlic. It will make a difference, that’s for sure. How much garlic? We used 1 bulb of garlic for this recipe.

YELLOW ONIONS – Yellow onions were used for this recipe for a milder flavor.

POTATOES – Your choice of potatoes is absolutely fine. But we specifically used yukon gold potatoes because it’s the common variant in our country.

TOMATOES – Any large or medium sized tomatoes will do.

FRESH CAYENNE PEPPERS – We need fresh ones here because it makes a difference. Especially when you randomly eat small chunks of it.

FISH SAUCE – Pure fish sauce is very much preferred. No added preservatives, artificial flavoring and/or food coloring.

GROUND BLACK PEPPER – Black pepper contributes to the savoriness and spiciness of this beef picadillo. It’s never the same without it.

COOKING OIL – For this recipe, we used extra virgin olive oil.

asian beef picadillo with rice


  • 500g lean ground beef
  • 1 bulb of garlic (minced)
  • 2 medium yellow onion or 1 large yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 medium or 2 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 5 medium tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes (seeds removed and sliced into strips)
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers (seeds removed and sliced into small pieces)
  • 4 to 5 tbsps fish sauce, according to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsps cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup water


1. On low medium heat, sautée the onions in oil.

2. Once the onions become translucent, add garlic, tomatoes, cayenne peppers, black pepper, and 2 tbsps fish sauce. Give it a stir until fish sauce and black pepper are incorporated.

3. When the tomatoes become wilted, cook the ground beef. Mix with the other ingredients. Stir every few minutes.

4. Add potatoes and water. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and let cook until soft and tender.

5. Add 3 tbsps fish sauce and stir well. Add more or less according to taste. We recommend adding 1 tbsp at a time, then tasting it first before deciding to add more.

6. Serve over white rice or on its own. Either way is great!

Servings: 4



Ground pork can be a substitute for ground beef. If you can get lean ground pork, that’s better.


Mash the ground beef while it’s cooking every few minutes so they don’t clump together. Irregular sizes of ground beef can ruin the texture.

asian picadillo recipe card




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