Our Kitchens Around the World: Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak)

From Dr. Jojo Cangao, Medical Coordinator in the Philippines


Marinate beef in calamansi or other lemon juice overnight, or for at least 30 minutes.
Cut onions into rings. Cut potato into thin slices.
Heat cooking oil in a large pan.
Fry half of the onions, adding a pinch of salt when the onion looks soft, then remove and set aside.
Fry the potatoes in the same oil until brownish, then remove and set aside.
Pan fry the beef in the same oil used for frying the onions and potatoes (about 2–3 minutes on both sides or until brownish); remove and set aside. Keep the calamansi juice used to marinate the beef.
Sauté half of the remaining onions in the frying pan. Once soft, add in the earlier fried onions and the beef. Let simmer for about 3 minutes.
Pour in the soy sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, then pour the calamansi juice used to marinate the beef. Add the cooked potatoes into the pan.
Continue to simmer until the beef is tender. Add water later as needed to make the beef more tender. Cover the pan.
When beef is tender, place the remaining onion rings on top of the beef and let simmer for 2 more minutes (making sure the onions added at this time remain crunchy), then transfer to serving bowl.

Jojo serves his Bistek Tagalog with rice.


1/2 cup calamansi (local lemon) juice or other available lemon juice
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 large onions
Pinch of salt
1 large potato
2 lbs beef sirloin, thinly sliced
6 tablespoon soy sauce
1½ cups water

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