This past weekend I made a pretty damn good version of Bistek Tagalog – a Filipino dish that I don’t remember having as a child, but I’m sure it was at some of the big family gatherings at Auntie Naty’s. The version pictured here called for 4 tablespoons of kalamansi juice – a native lemon-type fruit – but since we didn’t have any in our local (read: crappy) Price Chopper, I substituted the juice of 3 limes and 1 orange. To the juice, I added about half a cup of soy sauce, three cloves of crushed garlic, and salt and pepper. Marinate 2 lbs. of sirloin slices (about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick) in the mixture for about an hour in the fridge.
Slice two large red onions into thin rings and fry lightly in a good amount of oil (I used vegetable with a couple drops of sesame). Remove these to a paper towel and pan-fry the beef slices until done. This is when things in the kitchen start to get smoky and greasy and just the tiniest bit fire-hazardous. If you have a husband, it’s probably best to remove him from the site until it’s time for the clean-up.
I still don’t get how all these other people manage to fry things without the huge frying mess I almost always end up having. Is it because our kitchen sucks? (I mean, I know it does, but is that why the frying thing doesn’t work?) Is it our dismal ventilation, or complete lack-there-of? How come one never sees the Barefoot Contessa jumping back from little drops of burning oil, or splashes of grease lining her entire counter?
Regardless, the dish turned out deliciously. Once the beef is cooked and removed, add the marinade to the skillet and boil for about a minute – it turns into this amazingly rich brown sauce. Place the beef on a serving platter, the onions on top of the beef, and pour the sauce over it all. Good stuff.Back to Blog