Real talk: I feel like the last few posts have been quite lengthy! And so, by comparison, this one will go by quickly. Also, I’m excited to finally share some recipes again with you since I’m all moved in and have some time again! Today I have for you an interesting twist on a classic Filipino dish–Bistek. For those of you who don’t know, bistek is really beef steak, aka a Filipino version of beef steak. But instead of the classic beef version, I made Pork Chop Bistek for you!
When I was younger, I thought my Filipino parents were just running their syllables together by saying bistek instead of beef steak. Turns out, it’s actually the name of the dish! In this case, it refers to the flavors and seasoning of the dish. The greatest thing about making this dish is that it’s one of the simplest and easiest things to make. So, if you’re a beginning cook who’s just starting out, this is a really good place to begin.
There are really only three ingredients in bistek, other than the meat: red onions, soy sauce, and lemon juice or calamansi (sweet Filipino lemon juice). First, if you’re using beef, cut the meat into small strips. You’ll want to use tenderloin so that it’s quick to cook, and juicy once fried. If you use chuck roast or an equally tough meat, cut into very thin strips or pound it out first. That will help to ensure your meat isn’t too tough. But again, this dish is all about pork chop. So, you don’t need to do anything other than season both sides of each chop with salt and pepper.
Second, prepare the marinade. Add equal parts soy sauce and lemon juice/calamansi to the bowl of meat. Have enough marinade to cover at least half of the meat to let it really soak in. Also, toss the meat so that it gets coated in the marinade. Cover it with saran wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
You have one step of prep left. Take one very large red onion–or yellow for a milder taste–and cut it into thin, round strips. Just cut off the ends, peel back the top skin, and cut them into circles. The thinner you cut, the more onions you’ll have. And you’ll want a lot in this dish! They add just enough aromatic enhancement and spicy complement to the meat and marinade. You guys! The prep does not get easier than that. The only way it could be easier is if you didn’t have to cut anything! That would be the day, right?
Once the meat is ready to cook, take it out and heat up some frying oil in a deep pan with a lid, a cast iron skillet with a lid, or a wok. One by one fry the meat on both sides. But save the marinade! With both beef and pork chop, you want to brown both sides–maybe even sear it a little–but do not overcook it! I mean, unless you like it burnt. Remove the meat to a different plate and saute the onions in the remaining oil until they are slightly wilted and fragrant. Add back the marinade and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and the teeniest bit of water to let the meat further cook through the center of the pork chop–this will take about 20-25 min. And then you’re done!
Bistek is easy to cook but big in flavor! The marinade doesn’t overwhelm the meat so much that you can’t taste its natural juices. The onion is the perfect balance and complement to the rest of the flavors in the dish. It’s savory and tart, and totally tasty. Throw it together during a busy night in. I like to use pork chop every once in a while just for a lighter version. I don’t like to eat a lot of red meat at one time, and I happen to adore pork chop in general. So, I’ll make this variety for a savory meal that is filling but still not too filling. You know what I mean?
My favorite part of making bistek is that it keeps on giving even after the first meal! My mom would take the leftovers and make us the most delicious Fili(pino) cheese steak sandwiches for lunch the next day! She would quickly re-fry the meat and onions, heat up some thick sub bread, lather it with mayonnaise, add the meat top it with cheese before baking it to let the cheese and bread cook! I got so excited every time. I’ve never tried it with pork chop leftovers, but I may have to now! Maybe in a salad, perhaps?
Beef or pork chop, cheese steak leftovers or pork salad leftovers, bistek is versatile and delicious. No matter how you have it, you’re guaranteed to love it. Bonus? It takes less than an hour to throw together with very little spending, shopping, or effort. I hope you love it as much as I did as a child, and still do to this day.
Shoot me a comment with your variations and ideas as well!
Pork Chop Bistek
- 4-5 pieces pork chop pound flat if thick
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1-2 large red onions cut into circular strips
- 1 tbsp water enough to immerse half of meat
Season both sides of the pork chop with salt and pepper generously. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice. Toss the meat to coat both sides. Submerge in marinade. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Sear both sides of the pork chop--about 4-5 minutes on both sides, depending on how thick the chop is. Remove to a separate plate. Save the marinade!
If necessary, add more oil. Saute the red onions until slightly wilted, caramelized and fragrant. Add the marinade and lower the heat a little. Bring to a simmer.
Add back the meat and enough water to cover half of the chops' thickness. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let it cook through for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with rice!