“‘Mom, why do we have so much FOOD!” exclaimed my son to me as I was busy cooking up a storm. I was getting panicky with all the media frenzy of weather forecasters discussing the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene.
This got me into survival mode and I immediately got cooking and baking like there was no tomorrow. I quickly opened my refrigerator to see what ingredients I had. Immediately a big bag of lemons caught my eye. I had an “ Aha “ moment and knew I just had to make BISTIK.
Filipino BISTIK is a beef dish of thin, tender slices cooked in a sauce of citrus and soy sauce. When I was growing up, my late Mom used to make this a lot. She used tenderloin slices and cooked it in calamansi, the Philippine lime, a sweeter type of citrusy lemon. Mom would mix it with some soy sauce, making sure to put in a larger amount of citrus flavors…and the refreshing lime-like aroma surrounded the kitchen like a wondrous sweet-tartlike scent.
Now that I live in America, I use LEMONS as a more affordable and convenient alternative. I make sure to put in just the right amount of soy sauce, pan sear the succulent beef slices and large round onion rings. I had this delightful combination sizzling on the pan when my husband walked into the kitchen and said ” What’s cooking? I smelled it all the way from the driveway! ”
Yes, we sure were in Hurricane Irene survival mode…cooking up a storm to get ready for the storm.
Filipino Bistik, Pan seared Beef Slices in Lemon Sauce
1 and 1/2 pounds beef skirt steak, marinated in the juice of 2 lemons
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic,minced
2-3 large lemons
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup seltzer water (or any sparkling water)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pound beef slices with a mallet to tenderize. Marinate with juice of 2 lemons and keep in a non-reactive container. Cover with a plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated for a few hours or overnight.
2. Over medium heat, in a large frying pan, put the vegetable oil. Add the onion slices. Stir around pan to flavor the oil. When cooked, remove onions from pan and set aside.
3. In same pan, fry the garlic. Then add the beef slices and pan sear on both sides, for about 8 to 10 minutes to cook well done.
4. Separately, in a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, soy sauce, water. Season with salt and pepper. At the last 5 minutes before beef gets well done, add the lemon and soy sauce mixture to the pan. Let boil. Add back the onion rings. Turn off and serve while still hot.
COOK’S COMMENTS: Filipino Bistik is a Philippine colloquial term for “Beef Steak”. Beef has always been an expensive item in the Philippines, so a more economical way to have it as a family dish, is to serve in thin slices like this recipe. The use of lemons, or if one is in the Philippines the use of “Calamansi” is typical of Filipino households to use produce that one grows in backyards. When I was growing up, we had an abundance of calamansi and lime trees in our yard. And a lot of these fresh produce were put to good use by my late Mom to flavor everyday dishes.