Filipino Beef Steak (Bistek Tagalog)
Bistek Tagalog: A delicious, flexible beef recipe that can easily be made vegetarian in a few easy steps.
Make this simple recipe and enjoy the time saved cooking, on making memories at the dinner table.
The recipe I am sharing today comes from a very special memory of mine. Bistek was the first Filipino dish I cooked for our late Oma (husband’s grandma) who unfortunately passed away. She loved this dish very much, so whenever I cook Bistek Tagalog I can’t help but think of her.
These kinds of recipes are my favorite to share, not only because they bring me good memories, but because I believe they can bring you fond memories as well. That’s what cooking is all about to me, bonding over a delightful meal. However, I don’t think you need to spend all your time and energy to cook these memory-making meals. That’s why I want to share this bistek recipe with you all; it’s a flavorful, but simple and quick dish to make.
Bistek is a Filipino dish that gets most of its flavor from the marinade, which consists of soy sauce and calamansi juice. The acidity of the calamansi juice makes the meat less tough, while adding a nice citrus flavor to the meat. Since the recipe uses soy sauce, make sure not to add any salt while cooking as it will create an overly salty meal.
Although this is a beef dish, you can easily make it a pescatarian or vegetarian dish by switching out the meat for a different protein. If you are going to make the bistek into a vegetarian dish, I recommend using eggplants as I feel they soak up the marinade the best. If you don’t like eggplants, zucchini or mushrooms could work as well.
If you are sticking with the recipe as is, then here are some tips that may help you get the best tasting bistek.
- Cook it as you would a regular steak: As with regular steak, the best way is to cook the meat quickly over high heat. You don’t want to overcook the beef as it will become chewy and tough when eating.
- Raw onions can be used for a subtle kick and crunch: I absolutely love cooking the onions with the beef since it creates a caramelized onion vibe. But sometimes I like to add in raw onions as it brings in a much sharper taste to the bistek, and some crunch to the dish. Having the varying layers of textures makes it a more interesting eating experience.
- Tenderize the meat before marinating: Using a meat mallet, tenderize the meat to make it softer and less tough when eating. Breaking down the meat with the mallet also helps to loosen it up, allowing more marinade to soak through. You will get a much more flavorful bistek at the end of cooking if you incorporate this step.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and can make many memories while eating bistek. Let me know in the comments how you enjoyed your bistek!
Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Style Beef Steak)
- 600 grams beef sirloin thinly sliced and pounded
- 2 big onions cut into rings
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- parsley for garnishing optional
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons kalamansi or lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl, then marinade the beef for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Squeeze the meat with your hands to remove excess marinade from the meat. Set the marinade aside for later use.
- Heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onion rings and cook per your liking. I prefer mine not too cooked. Remove from oil and set aside.
- On the same pan, fry the marinated beef until golden brown (about 1.5-2 minutes). Pour the soy sauce marinade then add the cornstarch dilluted in 1 cup water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to lmedium low.
- Simmer while stiring constantly and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Top with onions and parsley. Serve hot with rice or mashed potatoes.