Garlicky Filipino Bistek (Bistek Tagalog)

Garlicky Filipino Bistek (Bistek Tagalog)

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
537 Calories
35g Fat
9g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 537
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 44%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 1355mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 47g
Calcium 53mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

While bistek is thought to have originated in the Phillipines by the Tagalog regions, there are other widely held opinions that suggest it is more Spanish by influence. With a majority, if not all, of the other countries that Spain colonized having a similar dish to bistek, it makes for a great argument that Spain brought the recipe to it's newly conquered territories and each region created their own take.

Although garlic is not a traditional ingredient of bistek, the spice adds depth of flavor and tempting aroma.

The amount of citrus juice in the ingredients list is approximate because calamondins (spicy oranges of the Philippines), limes, and lemons have varying degrees of acidity.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef sirloin (top round, bottom round or rib-eye)
  • 1/4 cup calamondin juice (or lime or lemon juice; more or less in amount)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or more as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion (thinly sliced)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons scallions (snipped, to garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Garlicky Filipino Bistek (Bistek Tagalog) ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Slice the beef thinly; about 1/8-inch thick or less is ideal.

    slice beef thinly

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Place the beef in a shallow bowl. Pour in the calamondin, lime or lemon juice, and soy sauce. Add the black pepper and minced garlic.

    beef with spices and marinade

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Mix thoroughly but gently so you do not tear the meat. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

    beef in a marinade

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. Drain the beef and reserve the marinade.

    Drain the beef and reserve the marinade

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

    frying pan with oil

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Fry the onion slices just until softened, remove from the pan, and set aside.

    onion slices cooking in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Add the drained beef when the oil reaches its smoking point, spreading the slices to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook just until the underside changes color and then flip the meat over.

    beef in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. Add the reserved marinade to the pan. The water that the meat will expel during cooking and the marinade will form the sauce for the dish.

    beef cooking in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Cook the meat in the marinade, and when it is no longer pink, scatter the sliced onions on top. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes more or until cooked to the desired doneness.

    beef and onions cooking in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  11. Sprinkle snipped scallions over the cooked bistek before serving, if desired.

    Garlicky Filipino Bistek (Bistek Tagalog) in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

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