Bistek Tagalog is one of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes. Bistek is a local version of the very western beef steak, hence the name. But the etymology of the word may have come from the Spanish word bistec, which means, well, steak in English.
What makes it distinct from the western version is its mild, citrus-y flavor, which is produced by combining the tang of calamansi and the essence of soy sauce. Also, the Filipino bistek is usually thin in slices, compared to the thick chunks of meat and large servings of the American beef steak.
Beef is the typical meat ingredient, but you can also use slices of pork, such as pork chops and liempo (pork belly). I choose pork over beef because I like the taste better, and I try to avoid red meat as much as possible. My favorite cut is liempo, because it’s easier to cook and the meat is more tender and tastier.
When you prepare bistek, make sure not to overcook the onions to keep them crunchy. The potatoes are optional, but please, include them to your grocery list. Who doesn’t like potatoes, anyway? If beef steaks are great with mashed potato, consider this as our alternative.
Continue reading below to get the recipe:
Filipino Style Steak (Bistek Tagalog Recipe)
You will need:
- 1 kilo pork chops or liempo (pork belly), or beef tenderloin or sirloin, thinly sliced
- 10 pieces calamansi, juiced
- 1 1/2 cup soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 medium-sized potatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 medium-sized onions, cut into rings
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water
How to prepare:
- Placed the first four ingredient into a bowl. Mixed thoroughly until the meat is well-covered. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and marinate the meat for about one hour, preferably overnight.
- In a large pan, fry potatoes until light brown. Set aside.
- Add more oil to the same pan. Over low to medium heat, panfry the meat. Turn over after about 5-7 minutes to cook both sides. Set aside on a serving plate. Do not throw away the oil.
- On the same pan, stir-fry the onions for about 15 seconds. Place the onions and the fried potatoes on top of the steak.
- Still on the same pan, sauté garlic. Pour in the leftover marinade. Add about half a cup of water. Simmer for about 3 minutes over low heat while gently scraping the bits of meat off the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce onto the steak.
- Serve with steamed rice.