By Gian Franco 2021-02-10

Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Stew Recipe) For the Long Winter

You’ll love it for the rich and tangy, savory sauce.

We could be in for a long winter as the late arrival of the cold season means inches of snow piling up and then winding down until the good months of spring. Until then, everyone is going to hate the potential winter storms that will certainly keep us curled up under thick blankets amidst a pandemic. You know what would lift our spirits? A soul-warming food to drive away the blues of winter. This is when we prepare ourselves a carefree and hearty stew with some hint of citrus.

Every country has their own special version of beef stew. France has Boeuf Bourguignon that ages like a wine as it literally uses some for the sauce. Vietnam finds comfort in Bo Kho that gives off aroma from ginger and lemongrass broth. The Greeks came up with the tangy Beef Stifado that is beautifully marinated in a sauce made out of red wine, orange rind, and pearl onions. Puerto Rico, given the Spanish influence, makes Bistec Encebollao out of any cuts of steaks that soak up the hearty combination of oil, oregano, vinegar, and onions, then served with rice. Farther to the West of Pacific, Filipinos feel cozy with the taste and deep aroma of an identical beef stew—Bistek Tagalog.

“Bistek” is not exactly the Filipino version of beef steak from Western cuisine as some consider it.  Its preparation calls for any cuts of steak and a handful of thinly sliced onion rings. The ingredients are then stewed in soy sauce; the savoriness of the sauce only made rich by the oil and given depth by the contrasting citrus flavor of calamansi or lemon. This easy recipe from Kawaling Pinoy is loaded with deep and rich layers of flavor—great for a busy night after work.  



  • 2lbs top round or sirloin, sliced thinly
  • 2 lemons, juiced (make about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings


Get these ingredients from My Tindahan here.



  1. In a marinade bowl, mix beef, lemon juice, soy sauce, sliced onions, garlic, and pepper. Massage the meat to make it tender and juicier. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove meat, onions, and garlic. Squeeze the juice from meat. Set aside used marinade for later.
  3. Heat oil over high heat. Add and cook the beef for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side until lightly cooked through.  Remove excess juices during frying. Remove meat.
  4. In the same pan, saute onions and garlic and stir constantly until softened. Put back cooked meat into the pan.
  5. Add used marinade and meat juices. Add water and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes under low heat or until meat is tender and sauce is reduced. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Turn off the heat. While in the pan, garnish with a handful of onion rings. Cover again to let the steam soften the onion. Transfer to serving dish. Enjoy while hot.


Photo from Kawaling Pinoy.


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