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Bistek is a popular dish in Filipino cuisine which is typically prepared with beef with slow cooking method and the dish is quite easy to make. This is the second Filipino recipe I learned to make when I got home after my two week journey to Philippines with my partner back in 2016. Traditional Bistek recipe is not dependent upon any specific beef steak (although I prefer and use a tenderloin cut of beef), but it can be prepared with any cut of the meat. The main factor is the cutting of the meat. The dish is made with thinly sliced beef cuts and this adds to the taste and presentation of the dish. Bistek can be prepared easily with different versions and it is not necessary to use the traditional ingredients. The ingredients may be substituted with the easily available ingredients (so as stated in my recipe below I substituted the Calamansi juice with lime juice), but the method of cooking should be perfect and traditional.
**Side note: when i was in the Philippines i got the pleasure to try Calamansi and if you can find it in your area it is a must try.
8 Tablespoons of Calamansi Juice (native Lemon to the Philippines)
*if you cant find Calamansi you can substitute for lime juice
1/2 cup of dark soy sauce (regular kikkomans)
2 Teaspoons of fresh garlic minced
2 large onions cut into rings (I prefer Purple onions)
2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I prefer Canola oil)
In a non metal bowl, mix Calamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic. Taste it, if it’s too sour, add soy sauce; if it’s too salty, add more juice. Balance out the flavors. Remember you can also adjust near the end of cooking.
Cut up the beef into about 1/4″ strips.
Season the meat with ground pepper. Add meat to soy sauce mixture and stir to let it soak up the marinade evenly. Let sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a skillet. Add one tablespoon of oil. Stir fry the onion rings until translucent and a tiny bit brown on the edges but still with a bit of a crunch. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In the same pan, heat one tablespoon of oil. Pan-fry the beef working in batches, remove after browning on both sides. When all the beef has been browned, pour the marinade into the skillet and bring to a slow boil and simmer for a few minutes or until cooked through. Adjust the sauce with more soy sauce or juice, or some water, to suit your taste. After adding soy sauce always let it cook a little.
Slide the beef slices onto a serving plate, arrange the onion rings on top. Make sure to pour all the rest of the cooking liquid on top (this is great on rice). I personally like and prefer Jasmine Rice, but any tradition white rice will do. You do not want anything too powerful in taste to take away from the amazing succulent taste of the Bistek.