Bistek is the vice mayor of Quezon City, no, this dish is not named after him, it’s the other way around, it’s probably his favorite food that’s why he got that monicker, I know someone who’s called bangus after his fave milkfish or pansit (rice noodles) because she likes that food so much.

Back to the dish, bistek is meat marinated in calamansi (a very sour citrus fruit that looks like small round limes) and soy sauce. It is then pan fried and serve with sauce and lots of (caramelized) onions. I am not sure if the term bistek is a way of cooking or a shortened Tagalog word for beef steak, but I know that it is not necessarily beef. My mother makes 3 versions of this; beef, pork, and pork liver or combination of the last two, they are all delicious.

Its aroma is enough to make you hungry. My children know what’s for dinner when they smell it through out the house, and they would get excited because it is one of their favorite, they like it way better than my adobo.

I remember my mother making this by slicing some meat thinly and pounding it with the dull edge of a kitchen knife before marinating it, but I found a shortcut to this, I either use pork tenderloin or pork steak- these cuts are already tender and when you marinate it they take no time to cook, this recipe is always adaptable to anyone’s taste, as always, adjust the quantity and the seasoning accordingly and always do a taste test.

serves 4-5 persons

400 grams pork steak (3-4 pcs) or pork tenderloin

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup calamansi juice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)

olive oil for pan frying
1-2 large red onion, cut into rings or minced
1/8 cup water

Wash the meat and pat dry with paper towel. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a plastic container with cover, then add the meat, put the lid on and marinate overnight ( I haven’t tried it less than this) or at least 6 hours, the longer the better but don’t go beyond 3 days.

To cook, heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan and carefully lay pieces of marinated meat on the pan (be careful, it will splatter because of the marinade), to avoid splattering, drain the meat first but reserve the marinade, pat dry any excess liquid before putting it in the hot oil in the pan. Brown both sides ( some water/juices will come out of the meat, let it evaporate to brown the meat and then flip to cook the other side); and set aside.

In the same pan, heat another tablespoons or more of olive oil, saute onions in it, when it becomes transparent, pour in the reserved marinade, add water, let it come to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, taste it, adjust seasoning if necessary cook for about 8 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, slice the fried meat/steak into strips, then add this to the sauce, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then turn off the heat. Serve hot with steamed rice.



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