Bistek Tagalog is made of thinly sliced sirloin braised in a mixture of citrus, soy sauce, onions, and garlic. This Filipino beef steak is hearty, tasty, and perfect with steamed rice.
If you noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe throwbacks lately. The blog is five years old, and a lot has changed since I launched it in January 2013. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I’d like to think I’ve improved at taking pictures or structuring my posts.
Bringing old recipes to the front of the blog is a great way to reintroduce them to readers and the perfect opportunity for me to refresh them with new cooking tips and, sometimes, new photos.
Today’s throwback is very special to me. Bistek was the first recipe I posted on the blog, and below is the whole entirety of that post.
I took the new pictures months ago but I am a sentimental old hag, and I didn’t have the heart to change the post. There’s just something so awful and yet endearing about a very first, I couldn’t quite decide whether to keep it as-is for posterity’s sake or update with additional information.
But before we head further, allow me to get emotional for a quick minute. Thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, visiting, and supporting Kawaling Pinoy. When I hit “publish” for the very first time, I didn’t realize how much it would change the course of my life. Being able to own my business and blog full time was all but a pipe dream then, and I can’t believe I am now living it.
What is Bistek
Bistek Tagalog is a classic Filipino dish made of thinly sliced beef braised in a mixture of citrus juice (more commonly, the local fruit, calamansi), soy sauce, onions, garlic, and pepper. A delicious medley of salty, tangy, and savory flavors, it’s traditionally served with steamed rice.
Also known as beefsteak, it was adapted from the Spanish bistec encebollado to suit our local tastes and indigenous ingredients.
I usually use top round or sirloin for the cut of beef but if you prefer a bit of fat marbling, chuck roast is a good option.
Do not skip pan-frying the beef as this step adds incredible flavor. Make sure to squeeze the marinade well from the meat and pat dry if necessary to ensure a good sear. Brown on high heat and don’t overcrowd the pan to ensure a nice outside crust.
The beef will release a bit of juice when pan-fried. Spoon it from the pan and add it back along with the marinade during braising.
Squeeze the onions and garlic of the marinade and use them to braise the beef. Use a fresh piece of onion as the garnish.
Season the sauce with salt when already reduced as the depth of flavor (saltiness etc.) concentrates as the liquid evaporates.
The recipe calls for lemon juice because I don’t always have access to calamari. If you do, you might need to adjust amounts as lemon has a stronger acid taste.
Use the same pan to finish the dish; those browned bits in the pan from searing the meat means maximum flavor!