The Filipino version of steak is bistek. I used to think that bistek was a localized pronunciation and spelling of beef steak but it appears that bistec is found in the cuisines of countries that used to be Spanish colonies. Like our bistek, they are all pan fried and saucy beef.
In cooking Filipino bistek, it is ideal to use a tender cut of beef like top or bottom round, sirloin or tenderloin. For maximum flavor, the meat is first marinated before it is quickly pan fried just until cooked. Topped with lightly fried onion rings, smothered with the marinade and kalamansi juice, bistek is rich yet uncomplicated — the stuff that real comfort food is made of.
Bistek, Filipino Beef Steak
- 3/4 kilogram thinly sliced beef (top or bottom round, sirloin or tenderloin are ideal)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (dark soy sauce is traditional)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- cooking oil for frying
- 2 to 3 onions thinly sliced into rings
- 1/8 cup kalamansi juice
- sliced scallions (or onion leaves), to garnish
Place the beef in a bowl. Pour in the soy sauce. Add the pepper and garlic. Mix well. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Heat a large wok or frying pan. Coat the bottom generously with cooking oil.
Drain the beef.
When the oil is hot, throw in the beef and pan fry over very high heat just until the meat is cooked through. Do not overcook as beef turns tough and rubbery when overdone. Scoop the meat out of the pan and transfer to a serving platter.
In the remaining oil and juices, cook the onion rings just until softened.
Top the beef with the onion rings.
Pour the kalamansi juice into the pan, scraping whatever bits and remaining juices there there.
Pour the contents of the pan over the meat and onions. Sprinkle the bistek with sliced scallions and serve hot with rice.