Savory Bistek Recipe

This Savory Bistek, a classic Filipino dish, combines tender beef slices marinated in soy sauce and calamansi (or lemon) juice, then cooked with caramelized onions. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, this dish is perfect for a family dinner or special occasions.

Preparation Time:

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes to marinate)
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes (plus marinating time)


  • 1 lb (450g) beef sirloin or round steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste


1. Marinate the Beef:

  • In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, calamansi juice, minced garlic, and ground black pepper.
  • Add the beef slices, ensuring they are well-coated with the marinade.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

2. Cook the Beef:

  • In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the marinated beef slices in batches, cooking until browned on both sides. Remove the beef from the skillet and set aside.

3. Cook the Onions:

  • In the same skillet, add the sliced onions and cook until they become soft and caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Combine and Simmer:

  • Return the beef to the skillet with the onions.
  • Pour in the marinade and add 1/2 cup of water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  • Season with salt to taste.

5. Serve:

  • Transfer the Bistek to a serving platter.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Main Dish: Serve as a main dish accompanied by steamed white rice.
  • Vegetable Side: Pair with a side of sautéed green beans or steamed broccoli for a balanced meal.
  • Toppings: Garnish with additional caramelized onions and a wedge of calamansi or lemon for an extra citrusy kick.

Cooking Tips:

  • Marinating Time: For a deeper flavor, marinate the beef for up to 2 hours.
  • Tenderizing the Beef: Thinly slicing the beef against the grain helps ensure it stays tender.
  • Flavor Variation: Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to the marinade for an additional depth of flavor.

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Beef: High in protein and essential nutrients like iron and zinc.
  • Onions and Garlic: Rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Calamansi/Lemon Juice: High in vitamin C and aids in digestion.

Dietary Information:

  • High-Protein: Excellent source of protein for muscle maintenance and growth.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure soy sauce used is gluten-free for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Dairy-Free: Naturally dairy-free, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • Simple and Quick: Ready in under an hour, perfect for weeknight dinners.
  • Delicious and Nutritious: Combines savory beef with the sweetness of caramelized onions and the zing of citrus.
  • Versatile: Can be served with various side dishes to complement the flavors.
  • Comfort Food: A beloved dish that brings a taste of Filipino home cooking to your table.


This Savory Bistek is a simple yet flavorful dish that is easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion. With its combination of tender beef, caramelized onions, and a tangy marinade, it offers a delightful taste experience. Whether served as a main course for a family dinner or a special gathering, this recipe is sure to impress. Enjoy your Bistek with a generous serving of steamed rice and savor the delicious flavors.

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