Bistek a la Manila
This is breakfast this Saturday morning. Ok, it is 11am…so maybe it’s more like brunch.
I lived in Manila for 9 years. The thing I miss most…aside from my family & the cheap manicures…is the food.
"Bistek" translated = Beef Steak. It’s a traditional Filipino dish that every Pinoy has eaten many times. I think the real name of the dish is Bistek Tagalog. But most Filipinos just call it "bistek" pronounced (BEES-tehk). You can also substitute the beef with pork. I actually like the pork version better. But I had beef in my freezer.
Marinate thinly sliced NY Strip in dark soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper & a splash of sugar. I’m not great with measurements. So I would say to use about 15 shakes of a soy sauce bottle, the juice of half a lemon, 5 turns of a pepper mill & a teaspoon of sugar. You want to use a little more soy than lemon juice. The marinade is intense. You don’t want the beef swimming in the marinade or it will be too salty. Marinate for about an hour or overnight.
Heat a heavy skillet, add oil & pan-fry the beef slices so they’re nicely browned. Sometimes, I add a little sugar as the beef is browning so that everything is nicely caramelized. Transfer the beef to a plate.
Use the same oil to fry the sliced onion rings. I like a bit of crunch to my onions so I “almost” caramelize them. You can cook them longer if you prefer.
Place the onions over the beef & serve with white rice. This is not a traditional breakfast dish. It’s usually eaten at dinner. But I’m not one to stick to tradition. For breakfast, I usually eat this with an egg over-medium.
The thing about Filipino food, is that everyone has their own version of classic dishes. Most omit the sugar in this dish. Others fry the onions before the beef. I prefer all the beefy goodness in my onions. And I like to add sugar to take the bite off of the acid & saltiness of the dark soy.
And that’s it. Quick, easy, cheap & yummy. This is a great “go-to” dish when you don’t know what to cook. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry.