Tapsilog in the school lunchbox

casaveneracion.com tapsilog: salted beef, fried rice and egg

I should have entitled this entry “What else can you do with sukiyaki-cut beef?” :) Yes, I used sukiyaki-cut beef to make tapa for the girl’s packed school lunches. Not the Spanish tapas but seasoned and fried beef cutlets that usually go with egg and fried rice.

“Tapsilog” is a contraction of tapa, sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). Okay, that’s not exactly tapsilog in the photo because the rice was steamed rather than fried. Well, we had no leftover rice from yesterday so that’s that. If you will notice, the egg in one food container was fried sunny side up while the other container has scrambled eggs. Sam likes her egg sunny side up but prefers the yolk to be cooked through. Alex, on the other hand, only eats fried eggs that have been scrambled. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, and even two sisters raised the in same house by the same mother and father will still assert their individuality in big and small ways.

There’s no big mystery about cooking tapa. It’s just frying thinly sliced beef that had been seasoned. Some marinate the beef but if the beef has been cut thinly enough, marinating is unnecessary. Some like to add sugar to the beef, making it taste like tocino, but I prefer plain salt and pepper so as not to drown the natural taste of the meat.

There are two not-so-secret-secrets to good tapa — good beef and proper handling. “Good beef” has two parts. First, you need to use a tender cut of beef and, second, the meat has to be sliced thinly (across the grain, naturally) so that it cooks in a very short time. Only stewing beef needs to cook for a long time. With tender cuts — like sirloin, top round or bottom round — “proper handling” means that the less time they spend in the cooking pan or on the grill, the more tender and moist they will be. Overcooking turns the meat dry and tough as a leather boot.

casaveneracion.com tapsilog: salted beef, fried rice and egg

Why do I prefer plain salt and pepper for seasoning my beef for tapa? Because I like the cutlets to be browned and crisp around the edges while the centers remain soft and moist. Tall order when dealing with very thin slices of beef, eh? The key is no liquid, a very high fire and not overcrowding the frying pan. The beef cutlets have to cook in a single layer so that each piece touches the metal and the oil. Liquid, like marinade for instance, lengthens the cooking time because the liquid has to evaporate first before the meat gets fried in oil. The extra time needed to get rid of the liquid is enough to turn the beef tough. So, there.

I cooked enough tapa for three people, I fried an extra egg, and my hubby and I shared the third portion. We’re not really breakfast eaters but if there’s tapa and egg, who can resist, eh?

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t know anyone who can resist tapsilog, except perhaps for the non-beef-eaters. Lalo na siguro kapag may atchara, sarap!

    Re: longer time to cook marinated beef-I realized that when I cooked beef with mushrooms for Monday’s dinner. Luckily, the beef which we bought from foggy Tagaytay was so tender.

  2. says

    Tagaytay was so chilly and foggy last Sunday, Ms. Connie, so foggy that visibility was very poor. J’s description was, parang bumaba daw ang mga clouds. It was my first time to see Tagaytay in that weather. Then my sister and bro.in.law introduced us to their “discovery”, an artsy,cozy bed & breakfast.

  3. says

    When we there there on Halloween last year, it was like that on the first day. Nothing to see, no photo taking possible. Food was still fantastic though. :razz: It did let up on the second and third days.

  4. brenda says

    I am a “silog lover” but not really on tapsilog. My favorite is longsilog and dangsilog (danggit) with kamatis, suka and sili plus either coffee or ice cold coke.

    Re: time to cook marinated beef, does this also applies to bistek? Kasi ako, after I fry the marinated beef, I still cook them in the marinade and oftentimes, matigas yung beef kahit matagal ko lutuin kahit manipis lang ang hiwa.

  5. says

    brenda, with bistek, if you’re using a tender cut like sirloin, fry the beef and simmer the marinade separately. When the beef is done, transfer to a serving platter and pour the marinade over it. Kahit sirloin, pag overcooked, matigas pa rin at tuyot.

  6. says

    I marinade my beef tapa… Hubby is a fan of my tapa and he thinks it’s a treat when he comes home with beef cutlets in marinade. I will try your version next. :-)

  7. farrah says

    hi ms. connie,

    this looks delish. can you kindly share your tapa-making recipe using salt and pepper? i’m used to the ready-to-cook tapa from monterey coz batangas is a bit far. =)

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