Who can say “no” to bistek? It offers you that homey, nostalgic flavor that hits all the right flavor notes: a slight tang, that delicious, perfect-for-rice saltiness, and that unmistakable umami. The umami, or malinamnam, flavor is all natural as well, thanks to the right spices bringing out the best flavors of the meat. It’s also the perfect packed lunch as it can last for hours and still maintain its bold taste.
If you have reservations about bistek because of a bad memory of a tough piece of meat, don’t worry: we have the answer. There’s really no reason why you can’t enjoy the delicious taste of bistek even if you have diet restrictions. That’s because beef is not the only meat you can cook into bistek. You can also use beef, fish, or even tofu – and these are all delicious reincarnations of the beloved beefy bistek!
Also, don’t forget that bistek pairs beautifully with an array of delicious side dishes that can make your meal extra hefty. You can go as simple as chopped tomatoes and onions with salted egg slices or try out these piquant ensalada recipes.
Beef Bistek Recipes
Did you know that the Tagalog Bistek actually comes from the Spanish bistek recipe, which is derived from the English “beef steak”? Other former Spanish colonies also have their version of this hearty recipe. At the heart of these recipes, is, of course, the beef.
1 Pinoy Bistek Recipe
Aside from the secret ingredient that both flavors and tenderizes our version of the bistek, there’s another way to give it an even more tender bite. You can actually pound your slices of meat, flattening it, which will give it an even more tender bite. Plus, the thinner slice will allow even more flavor to penetrate.
The deep, rich flavors of bistek are brought to life and given a lift with the addition of ensaladang manga to your meal. The acidity of the ensalada cuts through the fat and saltiness, too, letting its flavors tickle your taste buds.
Have some leftover bistek? How about making a wrap out of it? This will also make the perfect packed lunch. Wrap it in aluminum foil so you can put it in the pantry’s oven toaster for a hot and delicious meal.
Bistek in the Philippines has come to mean more than just “beef steak.” Bistek has come to mean its own method of cooking resulting in a specific salty-tangy flavor profile. The signature dark, umami-packed sauce and a generous serving of onions makes it perfect for all sorts of bistek versions beyond beef.
If you’re on a diet, are a pescatarian, or simply cutting down on red meat, then you can still get that bistek-induced satisfaction through other ways. You don’t just get the flavor of bistek in these recipes, but you also get a protein-packed meal that still fills you up for a long time.
6 Tofu Bistek Recipe
Tofu is fantastic in absorbing flavors. That’s why there are so many reasons for you to try this recipe. It’s a healthy alternative, is safe for many diets, and will even help you save money since tofu is much more affordable than meat. Even we have to admit that beef isn’t always affordable so you can’t always satisfy your bistek craving on a whim. Bistek made of tofu is really incredibly affordable! In fact, replacing one meat dish in your meal plan weekly with a tofu dish will dramatically reduce your overall expenses.
Bistek is just as incredibly tasty when made with fish. With this simple recipe, any easy-to-source white fish will do in a snap. You can choose from lapulapu, mayamaya, or cream dory fillets that offer a creamy, tender bite and a mellow flavor that really makes the bistek flavor shine.
Trading in beef for fish doesn’t mean your bistek has to be less rich. This recipe decadently uses delicious, omega-3 rich bangus belly. Plus, because it uses a sealed and prepped boneless milkfish belly, it’s nearly effortless to make. In fact, this recipe only uses five ingredients and takes only seven minutes to prepare!
You will love this for sure. There is no going wrong when you use delicious tanigue. Just because you’re skimping on beef doesn’t mean your bistek is any less special since we think tanigue is quite a special fish to have for any meal.
If you’re cooking the fish bistek, then you should definitely check out our guide to keep you from overcooking fish and other mistakes you might be making.
Pack bistek for your lunch, prepare it for tonight’s dinner, or have a small bowl of it for a hearty merienda to get you through the rest of the day. We say, why not? Its delightful, deep, and strong flavors make it the perfect match to rice and are sure to put a smile on your face. What’s your favorite way of having bistek? Tell us below!