Bistek Tagalog 2.0 (Kalamansi version)

by arnold on November 2, 2008

We’ve been cooking a lot for my parents this week, and when my mom showed me the bags of kalamansi (Philippine musk lime) she got from her friends, the first thing I thought of making was Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beefsteak).

Bistek Tagalog

The first time I wrote about this, I only had lemons on hand, but kalamansi is the traditional ingredient.


Kalamansi are really small, and I think I used at least 30 kalamansi (I lost count) to get 1 cup of juice. The kalamansi juice is mixed with soy sauce and minced garlic and used to marinate the steak for about 30 minutes.

My mom said that the bistek she grew up with a had a strong citrus flavor, so instead of the 1:1 citrus/soy sauce mixture that I used before, I reduced the amount of soy sauce to let the kalamansi juice come to the forefront.

When my mom tried my bistek, she said it reminded her of home, which was the ultimate compliment.

I think regardless of whether or not I have kalamansi on hand or not, I’m going to go with this version of the recipe instead of the previous one.

Thinly cut steaks
1 onion, thinly sliced into rings

1 cup kalamansi juice
3/4 cup soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Combine marinade ingredients and marinate steaks for no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, cook the steaks over medium high heat. If you’re using thinner steaks, this should only take a few minutes. After the steaks are cooked, remove from skillet and place on a plate. Keep warm.
  3. Add the onion slices to the pan and cook until softened. Top the steaks with the onions
  4. Add the remaining marinade to the skillet and reduce for about a minute to make a sauce. If the sauce is too strong, add a little water to dilute it a bit. When the sauce is ready, pour over the steak and onions.
  5. Serve with steamed rice.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen November 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Looks absolutely amazing!


cous Aileen November 2, 2008 at 6:06 pm

i’m sure tita would love that! when you mentioned there’s more kalamansi than the soy sauce, that made my mouth water. I do the same for adobo (more vinegar than soy sauce). Darn it, why don’t they have more asian stores here in VT (that would at least sell some kalamansi)?!?!


Marvin November 3, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I’m always afraid of overdoing things with kalamansi, but I’m definitely going to have to give your version of bistek a try. My mouth is watering!


Jude November 6, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Love this stuff. So hard to find calamansi in Chicago but when I do, I think of bistek.


watson November 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Definitely one of my favorites!


michael brance July 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I really liked your blog!


marilou macapili November 22, 2012 at 3:29 am

more luto pa kc naglu2to din aq para marami me alam


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