Filipino Bistek

My mom made this for me and my brother a lot when we were kids. But when we were little, we knew this dish as Beef Steak. I always thought it was a redundant name for the dish but what did I know, I was 8. Only until later did I find out that the official name of the dish is Bistek, which is basically Beef Steak without the “f”. Yeah, it’s pretty Pinoy.

Bistek or Beef Steak, all I know is that this is delicious and really easy to make. And after making it recently, I now know why my mom made it for us so much when we were little. It’s salty from the soy and tart from the lemon, everything you want from Filipino food. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh kalamansi juice, definitely use that in place of the lemon juice. But this dish is equally delicious with the lemon instead of kalamansi, just not as authentic. I’m going to work this recipe into my usual repertoire and you should too!!!

Filipino Bistek

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adapted from Burnt Lumpia

  • 1 lb beef, sliced (I used sirloin)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (or kalamansi juice if you have it)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a shallow container or zip-top bag, combine the lemon juice and soy sauce. Place the beef in the lemon-soy mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade, being sure to save the marinade mixture. Add the oil to the pan and sear the meat on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and saute until slightly soft, about 4 minutes.

Pour in the reserved marinade and deglaze the pan by scraping up the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Bring the marinade to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the meat and continue to simmer an additional 2 minutes. Season with black pepper and taste. Add up to 1/2 cup of water if the mixture is too salty or sour. Serve with rice.


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