Bistek Tagalog

Bistek Tagalog… What the heck is bistek tagalog you might be wandering? Thankfully I took about 11 years of Spanish, so I know a few things. Kidding aside, bistek, which translates simply to Beef Steak, and well, Tagalog (as I know it) refers to the Filipino language, one of which I know very little but I love participating and using those Spanish words to try to decipher that language but I always fail for the most part. So to me, bistek tagalog simply refers to Filipino beef steak.

It is more than just beef steak though. If you have been following any of my recipes over time, you will know that Filipino cuisine uses some common ingredients and a few of them being soy sauce, garlic, chilies, black pepper, and bay leaves, only to name a few. This particular dish is so darn simple to make, smells amazing, and delivers just a great bite of food that it may make it onto your lazy susan of weekly dishes to make!

Bistek Tagalog Recipe
Bistek Tagalog Recipe

Let’s get started on this delicious recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs top sirloin (splurge for guests using beef tenderloin), thinly sliced against the grain (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 whole, large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick, 1/4 of the slices reserved
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • salt to taste
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving

There is one thing to take notice on the recipe and that is the beef selection. If you are wanting to elevate this dish, go with beef tenderloin, otherwise stick to top sirloin (lightly tenderize with meat mallet).

Start, as always, by preparing all of your ingredients. Often times it is easier to freeze the meat slightly for easier slicing, and more control over the thickness of the meat. Keep that in mind.

Once your beef, onions, and garlic are all set, then it is time to get to work. What I love about this is not only the flavor in this dish, but how quick it is to get it to the table.

In a mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, lemon and lime juice, garlic, and black peppers. Add in the sliced beef and massage the meat getting that marinade really concentrated into the beef. You can let this marinate for hours if you want, but simply 10 minutes should work just fine. Set aside.

Heat a very large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and let it come to a shimmer.

Bistek Tagalog Ingredients
Bistek Tagalog Ingredients

Toss in the 3/4 of the onions, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for about 5 minutes. I like the onions to still have a bit of bite, so only a few minutes in the skillet, and you should be ready. You do not want to overcook these until they are limp, and definitely not fully raw.

Remove the onions from the skillet and onto a plate, and set aside for later.

Now, get the skillet back on the stove on medium-high heat. Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef and garlic from the bowl and into the skillet, reserving the marinade.

Cook the beef for about 4 minutes, per side. Once cooked and a bit seared on each side, add in the marinade, along with any remaining garlic in there and bring to a simmer.

Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover, and top with the slightly cooked onions. Give this a good stir, and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Now you are ready to plate. You can do this two ways. Serve individually (what fun is that?) or serve family style. I go family style. Pour the beef mixture into a large serving bowl and garnish with the remaining quarter of raw onions on the top, while adding the cooked jasmine rice to another serving bowl.

Plate with rice, and top with the bistek tagalog. The flavors are out of this world. The tender beef along with those onions and garlic. Whoa, watch out people! This is not only loaded with flavor, but the beef should be super tender, and the onions slightly crunch and pungent that just goes phenomenal with sweet, cooked jasmine rice.  Enjoy!

Filipino Bulalo

I often wish that there would always be a pot of soup of the stove. Warm and ready to go any time of the day, all day, and every day. How cool would that be, especially if you had a wood burner or something and it was your task to keep that warm pot of goodness warm all day long. I know I would be into something like that! I don’t want to be premature but I think fall sprung in Wisconsin. What does that mean? Well, what it means every fall Sunday at the Phillips house; comfort food season.

This weekend was no exception. The chicken pot pie came rolling out as did pumpkin spiced ‘you name it desserts’, as well as soup. The thought of soup seemed like a warm blanket on a cold afternoon. Granted chicken pot pie is that thickening agent that just coats your stomach lining, and almost putting you instantly to sleep, but that soup on the otherhand, well that got me thinking. Thinking not only about how delicious each bite would be, but thoughts of making a rustic bread,, and leaving that soup of the stove all darn day only to be had more of later. That’s when I thought of the communal Filipino soup known as Bulalo.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

The thing about bulalo is that it might be intimidating if it is served in front of you without ever have tried it. It’s almost like a Mexican caldo de res where you get large chunks of meat and vegetables. It’s definitely a spoon, fork, knife, and hand meal so probably best to eat around close friends and family in case you get down and dirty and want to roll up your sleeves, not have a care in the world and just get to town on some bone marrow!

Yes, the bone marrow. It’s the luxurious part of this soup and part of the beauty. Beef bones with marrow, cooked really low and slow until pot roast tender. That’s this soup. Simple, delicious, and slurpable.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs of beef shanks
  • water
  • 2 bundles of bok choy, quartered whole
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into half, or quarters
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off (exposing cloves)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, more to your liking
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • limes, optional
  • cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • fried shallots, optional
  • fried garlic, optional

Start by adding cold water to a stock pot. Add the beef shanks (find these on the cheap at local Mexican grocery stores), and turn on the heat to a medium high heat.

Cook the shanks for about 15 minutes or until they come to a boil for about 5 minutes. During the boil, get a large spoon out and skim the top surface of all of the bone scum. Discard the scum. We are going to discard the water and scum anyway but it’s always nice to get rid of the majority ahead of time.

Put a strainer in your sink and pour the beef and water into the strainer. Rinse the beef well.

Rinse out the stock pot. Place the bones back in the pot along with the onion, garlic, and peppercorns. Fill to cover with water, and return to a boil.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

While the beef is boiling, continue to skim off any scum that comes to the surface and discard. After about 4 hours, remove the garlic, onion, and any peppercorns.

Season the stock with fish sauce and some salt. Stir and taste. If the stock is getting a bit low, add a bit more water to your liking, just keep the beef stock flavored as you add more water.

Add in the corn and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or so. Once the beef is ultra tender, add in the bok choy and cabbage. I tossed in a small amount of fresh green beans from our garden as well (not necessary), and give that a good stir. Good for another 10 minutes or so, give a taste and adjust salt if necessary.

When you are ready to serve, transfer some of the soup mixture into a soup serving bowl, ensuring some beef bone, corn, and cabbage, then give a good squeeze of lime. Serve alongside a big bowl of cooked jasmine rice, and dig in! I like to top mine with fried garlic chips and shallots, and some fresh chili, but that’s just me.

Not only is this a great communal dish, but it is one that is perfect for long, cold days and evenings, and one that is sure to please a crowd.

Get a plate. Take some rice onto the plate. Slurp some broth. Spoon out some chunks of cabbage or beef onto the rice. Get into it. Repeat.

Hope you enjoy!