2 lbs chateaubriand steak
sliced thin about .25 inch, preferably by the butcher's slicing machine, mom used rump roast
1/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp avocado oil
plus more if needed for browning
1 whole onion
white or yellow, slivered into .25 inch pieces
steamed white rice
  • wok or stainless steel skillet
When I was growing up, having my grandma’s bistec for a meal always excited me! I’d be delighted to eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I love its saltiness and tanginess. I love how the flavor of the sauce gets into the onions and the rice.

Bistec is a Filipino home-cooking dish that is essentially thin slices of beef marinated in lemon and soy sauce. The beef is seared and browned, the onions are sautéed, and a reduction sauce from the fond and drippings naturally emerges.

This dish is a crowd pleaser for casual settings. I once made this dish for a potluck and when all the ladies asked me for the recipe, they were surprised at how easy it was to make.
Marinate the beef with the soy sauce and lemon for at least an hour in the fridge but not for more than 4 hours. Pull it out about 20 minutes prior to cooking so that it comes up to room temp.
Pre-heat the wok at medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil and coat the pan.
Remove the slices of beef from the marinade. Pat dry before placing in the hot skillet.
Brown beef on both sides. Drain out the liquid as you cook but be sure save it in a large bowl. As you brown the beef in batches, transfer it into the bowl with the precious juices. Add more oil to the wok if needed between batches.
Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and coat the pan. Add slivered onions to the pan and sauté to soften. Transfer the onions out of the pan when the onions are slightly caramelized but still al dente.
Add the beef into the now empty pan. Add drained juices and/or water and simmer the beef in it for 5 minutes, covered. Add the onions and stir until evenly coated with sauce. Simmer uncovered until the sauce is reduced and thickened. The onions should absorb some of the sauce.
Serve over steamed rice.
Extra credit: To get beautifully tapered ends for your onion slivers, cut the onion in half, then in sixths. Reserve the thin inner slivers, and continue to slice the outer layers to divide into slivers that are just as thin as the inner pieces. I remember that grandma did her onions like this. Also, if you have drippings left in the pan, swirl the rice around in it as you serve it. This will coat the rice in bistec flavor.