BISTEK a la FILIPINA
This dish is one of my absolute favorites because of it’s versatility in terms of when one would eat it. Filipinos can eat this for breakfast with some eggs to have a hearty meal before work or for lunch or dinner. However, I do primarily enjoy this for breakfast because of the wonderful memories of waking up in the morning to a sunny day to find a sunny side up egg, a mound of rice, and a few pieces of bistek and onions on my plate. My mom or aunt would cook it so fresh that the oil would still crackle on the meat itself and undulating steam would rise from my plate. It was a SPECTACLE. To a 7 year old, this is what we call MAGIC ….
But let’s talk a little bit of background. For you language buffs, most of you would realize that “bistek” is quite similar to the spanish “bistec” meaning “steak.” Filipinos did borrow the word and it became very much incorporated into this fabulous dish. As with many dishes in the Philippines, you can definitely see a story of the cultural exchanges between the EAST and WEST …. Primarily speaking of the EASTERN WORLD, we utilize soy sauce as a major component of this dish while influences of the WEST can be seen through the use of onions, garlic, and olive oil.
Again, like many filipino dishes, this is a QUICK and EASY dish to make. So now that you know a little about this dish, let’s get to cookin’ !!
1 lb sliced, rib-eye or sirloin (or even a roast …. I work on a budget too !!)
3 medium sized cloves of garlic (add more or less depending on your love/disdain)
2 medium sized spanish onions (use vidalia or red onions if you want a little sweetness)
1 calamansi (this looks like a smaller version of a lemon, rounder, and green)
Soy Sauce (I would go against Kikkoman since I feel that it’s best used as a condiment)
White Vinegar (if you can get spiced, even better !! But only if you like a hint of spicy)
Olive Oil (as Rachael Says, “EVOO” :D )
- 1 Large pan
- Cutting board
- a sharp knife
- a big bowl (needed for the sliced beef)
The How To: (I posted some pictures up top so you can visually see the steps)
Step 1: Slice the beef to thin wide slices. Then place in the bowl.
Step 2: Mince the garlic and chop the onions such that you get pretty rings. Then add part of the minced garlic into the bowl with the beef.
Step 3: Lightly salt (I stress this ALOT) the beef and add pepper. Add soy sauce to the beef, just enough to cover all of it (DO NOT drown the meat in soy sauce).
NOTE: The reason for lightly salting is the fact that if you look at a nutritional label for soy sauce, it already contains a lot of salt, unless you are a salt eating fiend … =)
After that, half the calamansi and lemon and squeeze the juice into the beef.
Now the fun part, use your HANDS and MIX IT ALL TOGETHER !!
Step 4: Let it marinade for a good 30 mins. to and hour. As you get close to the end of marinating, heat up your pan with some olive oil and begin to sauté the rest of your minced garlic and the onions.
Note: For better flavor, I would marinade over night but if you do not have the time, it can taste just as good in the span of an hour !!
Step 5: as the onions begin to “sweat" and the minced garlic has been sizzling for a good 2-3 mins., add the beef into the pan. Try to evenly distribute the meat so that it cooks evenly throughout. Now, add your vinegar. I would start off with 3 table spoons of vinegar. Add more if you wish !! Finally, close the lid and let it cook until the meat is fork tender. I usually check after a good 30 mins. to see if the beef has tenderized.
The cooking should not take longer than 45mins to an hour. So check your beef periodically !!
As you near completion, please try the sauce and the beef. Depending on how much of the ingredients you added, you may need to place more.
REMEMBER, if you doubt the amount of a certain ingredient, just add a little of it. That way if you need more, that won’t be a problem. The other way around DOES NOT WORK !! (too much will ruin the dish)
Now the dish should be close to finish or it is done!!
Last step, plate over a bed of steamy white rice, cook yourself an egg, and enjoy !! =D