Filipino Bistek

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Credit: Chef Roy Villacrusis
National Culinary Review, 2023

From the Chef

“Bistek (bistek tagalog) is a classic Pinoy dish made with braised sliced beef marinated with the juice of kalamansi, a native Filipino citrus fruit, and Filipino soy sauce, red onions, garlic and pepper. A delicious medley of salty, tangy and savory flavors, bistek is perfect to be served with steamed rice that is omnipresent in a traditional Filipino meal. For this recipe, we added some fried leeks for an extra crispy texture, being very conscious to not alter the flavor. Also known as beefsteak, bistek was adapted from the Spanish bistec encebollado to suit the local tastes and indigenous ingredients.”


For the steak:
1 pound thinly sliced Australian grass-fed strip steak (or ribeye or top sirloin)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 sliced lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large red onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher salt to taste

For the fried leeks:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup finely sliced leeks
1 tablespoon cornstarch


For the steak:
1. In a shallow pan or zip-top bag, combine the soy sauce, sliced lemon and pepper. Marinate the steak, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion rings and fry until the texture becomes soft, but do not overcook. Set aside.
3. Drain the marinade from the steak; set aside to reserve.
4. In the same pan, fry the marinated beef for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
5. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
6. Pour in the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Add back the fried beef and simmer for a few minutes, or until the meat is tender. Add a little bit of water as needed.

For the fried leeks:
1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat, until it reaches 350° F on a deep-fry thermometer.
2. Toss the julienned leeks with the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper. Fry them until light brown, stirring them to cook evenly. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and lay them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Season for final flavor with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Add the stir-fried onions to the beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:
1. Serve the beef hot over rice and top with the fried leeks.


Serves 2 - 4


Beef, Main Dish, The National Culinary Review

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