Bistek Tagalog Recipe: So Tasty and So Easy

5:44 AM

Ah...Bistek Tagalog a.k.a Filipino Beef Steak.  I would like to share this very famous Filipino recipe and how I do it in my own kitchen.

It has been a month since my last post, which as usual, is about my hair. I am giving my hair a break and I am giving you guys something new to read about from my blog. So here I am...sharing a recipe.

Bistek Tagalog is one of the home favorites that I often cook for my family. It is also a common "pambaon" recipe. It is simple. It is tasty and it is a combination of two of our most favorite ingredients--Beef and onions.

Every household, mmm, every mom, has a different tweak for this dish. For us at home, we prefer it served with plenty of caramelized onions and roasted garlic.

There is nothing very fancy about the ingredients and the steps to making this famous Filipino dish is super easy. The taste, however, has a rich and luxurious feel. BISTEK, please correct me if I am wrong, is a colloquial term derived from BEEF STEAK.

The saucy dish originated from the Tagalog region. The strips of beef, preferably sirloin, is marinated and slowly cooked in soy sauce and kalamansi juice. In our home, and in most places, we top it with roasted minced garlic and lots of onions, then we serve it with steamed rice.

And the onions...some people use red onions while my family prefers white. It does not really matter which one you prefer. For me it tastes the same when caramelized, although white onions tend to have a stronger flavor. I cut the onions into rings and brown them in oil, then I pour enough water to cover them, then I add just one half of a chicken broth cube. I let it cook until most of the liquid is gone and then I set the onions aside.

Without further ado, this is how I cook my own version of Bistek Tagalog.

Pinterest Image Bistek Tagalog

The first thing to do is marinate the beef. You need at least one hour to ensure that the beef will be flavorful when cooked. Some people would marinate it overnight, but in our house, 1 hour does it. Also, I sometimes use tenderloin because I prefer my beef really tender, not chewy.

Marinating Beef
Other than the beef, I feel like this recipe will never be complete without white onions and calamansi--these green citrus fruits that look like lime but has a milder flavor than lime. Whenever I cook this recipe I always use two white onions. Oh, boy, I feel like saying, "Sibuyas pa lang ulam na!"
Onions and Calamansi on plate
The onions need to be cut into rings, it looks attractive that way. If you are a little sensitive, and cry a lot when slicing onions be ready with a box of tissues...Just kidding. Put a spoonful of salt, or wear glasses while you cut them. It helps. If you have a tip to share please let me know in the comments below.
Sliced White Onions
While the beef is marinating, obviously an hour can seem too long if you are simply waiting for it to pass, mince about 6 cloves of garlic and cook it in oil until it turns golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and drain on paper towels and set the garlic aside.
Golden Brown Minced Garlic
Then I caramelize the onions. I do this buy sautéing the onions in the same pan where I browned the garlic. Then I add a small amount of water, just enough to cover the onions. Add Magic Sarap or salt then let it cook under medium heat until most of the water is gone. Then I add butter and let is continue to cook until the onions are tender, translucent and brownish. Remove the onions from the pan and set it aside as well.
Nice Browned Onions
So those are the things that you need to do before you actually cook the beef. This is the recipe:


500 g of beef, sliced thinly
4 Tbsp of soy sauce
6-8 pieces of calamansi,juice
2 Tbsp of Knorr seasoning (optional)
1 beef broth cube
1-2 tablespoons of sugar
2 Big onions, cut into rings
Oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Cloves or Garlic


1. In a bowl, marinate the beef in soy sauce, Knorr, calamansi juice.

2. Mince the garlic and cook in oil until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan, add the onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add water enough to cover the onions. add salt or magic sarap to taste and cook under medium heat until the water is almost gone. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue cooking until the onions are caramelized and the water is all gone. Set the onions aside

3. Then in a bigger pan, heat oil then sauté beef until brown. Add water enough to cover the beef. When the water begins to boil drop the beef cube. Also, pour in the marinade.
4. Add more water, if needed. The beef should be very tender.

5. Continue until the water is reduced. Add sugar and continue cooking for about two more minutes or until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.

6. Remove from heat, and transfer to a serving dish. Top the beef with onions then sprinkle fried garlic.

7. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy.

That's it. Bistek Tagalog is so simple to make. What is your version of this recipe?


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