These Malinamnam Bistek Recipes Hit The Spot

There's more than one way to enjoy bistek!

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!

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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. 

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

1 Pinoy Bistek Recipe

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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.

Next to adobo, bistek is one of the most common baons for kids and adults because it keeps well for hours.

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2 Bistek at Ensaladang Mangga Recipe

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.

Liven up the classic bistek by pairing it with a Thai-inspired mango relish.

Photo by Patrick Martires

3 Beef Tenderloin Bistek Recipe

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This might be obvious to some, but the reason tenderloin is named as such is because it’s the most tender cut of beef. If you’re dreaming about the most tender bistek ever, choose tenderloin.

This recipe combines grilled steak and the classic bistek Tagalog.

Photo by Michael Angelo Chua

4 Beef Steak Rice Bowl Recipe

Maximize your enjoyment of bistek with a cup of hot steaming rice. If you need a little more help in figuring out bistek, watch our video so you can see for yourself just how easy it is!

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Serve Filipino-style beef steak, or bistek, with lots of rice for an easy weekday meal.

Filipino bistek, or beef steak, is a saucy beef dish best served with lots of rice!

Photo by Patrick Martires

5 Bistek Wrap Recipe

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.

Transform leftover bistek into yummy wraps!

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Beef Alternatives

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.

This is the tofu version of the bistek tagalog.
Photo by Riell Santos

6 Tofu Bistek Recipe

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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.

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It's got all the flavors in a lighter but no less flavorful "steak".

Here's an easy dish that requires only pantry staples, so it's perfect for busy weeknights.

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7 Fishtek Tagalog Recipe

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 lapu lapu, maya maya, or cream dory fillets that offer a creamy, tender bite and a mellow flavor that really makes the bistek flavor shine.

This healthier version uses fish fillets instead of beef. Just as yummy - minus the calories.

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

8 Bangus Belly Bistek Recipe

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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!

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This is a healthier version of the Pinoy bistek!

Bangus belly lovers will absolutely love this truly Pinoy dish.

Photo by Majoy Siason

9 Bistek-Style Tanigue Steak Recipe

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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.

Love the sweet-savory flavors of Pinoy-style beef bistek? Try using tanigue for a change.

Will you be cooking the original bistek recipes? How about checking out our quick guide on getting to know your beef cuts? 

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!

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