Filipino Bistek

One of my favorite and easiest Filipino dishes to make is Bistek.  Which is really “Beef Steak” but shortened and condensed in Tagalog (Filipino Language).  Like I mentioned in my intro, I didn’t learn how to cook until after college.  And when I asked my Mom for this recipe, I was like “Really?  That’s super easy!”   There’s just 6 simple ingredients needed to make this simple and flavorful dish, which is served with white rice.

So you want to buy the most tender steak at the market so when you cook it, it won’t get hard and chewy.  Today I bought some sirloin steaks and cut them in uniformed strips about 1/2 inch thick.  For every pound of meat, marinate in 1/4 cup dark soy sauce and the juice of one whole lemon.  Also throw several dashes of black pepper.  You are supposed to marinate for 1 hour, but who has time for that after an 8 hour work day and 50 minute pilates class.  So I just marinate for 30 minutes, but I’m sure its better to do it for 1 hour.

Thinly slice a 1 medium sized white onion into rings.  Saute in 1 tablespoon of canola oil on low to medium heat.  You want to cook these guys slow until soft and almost caramelized.  Fun fact:  my eyes didn’t water when I cut the onions in rings but they usually do when I chop them.  I’m guessing not much of that “onion gas” is released.  Google it!  When the onions are soft and brown set them aside on a plate.

I absolutely LOVE garlic and pretty much every savory dish I make has garlic in it.  So for the next step mince 3-4 cloves of garlic.  Saute in 1 tablespoon of canola oil on medium heat.  Saute until just brown.  Be careful not to burn the garlic as it gets bitter when its burned.  This all should take about 1 minute.

After you have marinated the steak, add the steak to the pan with the garlic, no juice.  Saute for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through, don’t over cook, the meat will get chewy and hard.  Take the steak out and put in on a plate.  Add the remaining liquid from the marinade and bring to a boil so its all cooked through and there is not raw steak juice.

Add the steak back in the pan, add the onions on top, and viola!  Filipino Bistek.

Serve over white rice and ladel some of the sauce over the rice as well.  YUMM! My mouth is watering looking at this photo.  Pardon the amature plating, after the fact I noticed I probably shouldn’t have poured the sauce the way I did.  It could look prettier.

Final thoughts: I wanted to share with you all the type of rice cooker I use.  It’s not the typical Asian one that costs $200+ at Ranch 99.  I got this one at Target (My Happy Place), for $38.  I like this rice cooker because it has settings for white rice, brown rice and for steaming.  Plus its way cheaper than the Asian ones and works just as well.


  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound of steak
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • black pepper
  • canola oil

Mince garlic, cut onion into rings and cut steak into uniformed slices 1/2 inch thick.

Marinate steak in 1/4 cup soy sauce, juice of 1 lemon and pepper for 30-60 minutes.

Saute onions in 1 tablespoon of canola oil on low to medium heat until just caramelized.  Low and slow.  Set aside.

Saute garlic in 1 tablespoon canola oil until just brown.  Add steak and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Set steak aside.

Pour the steak marinade into pan, boil for 1 minute.  Turn off burner, add steak, add onions and serve over white rice.

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