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barbecue chicken Filipino

Filipino Barbecue Skewers

One of my most enduring food memories is grubbing on skewer after skewer of Filipino Barbecue, but it wasn’t until my friend asked me to cook for her son’s 2nd birthday yesterday that I even thought of making it myself.

Filipino BBQ Chicken SkewersChicken Skewers

Filipino Barbecue is usually made with pork or chicken. and the marinade is a combination of salty, sweet and citrus components. Many recipes call for 7-Up or Sprite, which works as a sweetener and tenderizer. I found a recipe that I liked and made some adjustments and additions to come up with this marinade. I’ll probably tweak this a bit more when I make it again, but here’s what I used yesterday.

Filipino Barbecue Marinade
1 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of kalamansi juice or lemon juice
1 cup of lemon-lime soda
2 cups of tanglad (lemon grass) for whole chicken
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
3 tablespoons of brown or white sugar

This marinade works best with a 2-3 pounds of chicken or pork cut into cubes. If you use chicken, my preference is for thighs, but breast meat should work fine if you don’t like dark meat. It’s best to marinate the meat for only a couple hours instead of overnight, and then skewer the meat and grill it until it’s done.

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reviews seafood Southern California steak TV

Providence – Los Angeles, CA

My parents’ wedding anniversary is two days after Christmas, and in the last few years, we’ve started taking them to restaurants that normally aren’t on their radar. Last year, we took them to Osteria Mozza, and this year, after reading my French Laundry post, my mom said she wanted to experience something like that. Granted, it’s impossible to find something comparable to The French Laundry in Southern California, but L.A. is no slouch when it comes to great restaurants. I ended up choosing Providence because of its seafood-centric menu and more affordable five-course tasting option, but two Michelin stars didn’t hurt either.

ProvidenceTwo Michelin Stars in Los Angeles.

My first exposure to Providence and Chef Michael Cimarusti was on the second season of After Hours with Daniel Boulud, the MOJO HD show where Boulud throws after hours dinners at prominent restaurants. Season two was set in LA, and admittedly, it was hard to keep track of which one-word restaurant was which. As I rewatched the episode on Hulu.com, I instantly remembered Providence while watching the episode where a lobster attacks a piece of Kobe beef. You can watch the episode in its entirety at Hulu.com.

One of the first things we noticed about the tasting menu was that the dessert course featured a kalamansi gelĂ©e. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that kalamansi is the citrus of choice in the Philippines, especially in one of my favorite dishes, bistek tagalog. My parents were especially excited to see this versatile Filipino citrus featured in a fine-dining setting. For us, it was the second time in a month we’ve seen Filipino ingredients on a high-end tasting menu. (The first was the Ilocano salt and Pili nuts at The French Laundry.) So while the rest of the tasting menu looked fabulous on paper, we already had our eyes on dessert.

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beef Bistek Tagalog Filipino recipes

Bistek Tagalog 3.0 (Grilled Version)

Thanksgiving was at my cousin’s this year, and we both agreed we didn’t want to do turkey. I decided that I would make a big batch of Bistek Tagalog, only this time (and inspired by Marvin at Burnt Lumpia) I was going to grill it. Bistek is great as a traditional single-pan dish, but I was confident that grilling the steak would make it even better.

Grilled Bistek

Unlike previous versions of bistek I’ve made that used thinly sliced New York or sirloin steaks, I picked up some flap steak at Costco. Flap steak is very similar to skirt steak, cooks quickly, and is extremely tender. Again, you can use almost any cut of steak to make bistek, but I think that skirt, flank, or flap steaks might be the best cuts of meat for this dish.

I used the same methods as in Bistek Tagalog II (Kalamansi version). I got some more kalamansi from our family friend and ended up needing 60 of them to get almost 1.5 cups of juice. I mixed this with a cup of soy sauce (to ensure there was proportionally more juice than soy sauce) and four chopped garlic cloves to finish the marinade. The meat should be marinated for no more than an hour before putting them on the grill. (Make sure you save the marinade to make the sauce later).

Grilled BistekOn the Grill

I grilled them for about 5 minutes a side on a very hot grill and then rested the meat for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. The meat ended up being between medium rare and medium, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Grilled BistekSlice against the grain.

I had a bit of trouble getting the onions onto skewers, so I just put them directly on the grill. I lost a bit of onion this way, but for the most part it worked well. I’m sure you could fry up the onions in a hot, dry frying pan or grill pan if you want to maximize your onion yield. :) When you’re done cooking the onions, mix it up with the meat.

While the meat rests, take the remaining marinade and cook it down to your desired consistency to make the sauce. You might find that you don’t even need the sauce after you try the meat, but it’s always good to mix it in with your rice, too. We ended up pouring the sauce into a gravy boat so that people could just pour it on the meat if they wanted.

Of the three different bistek’s that I’ve made, this one is by far my favorite. Grilled meat always trumps pan-fried in my book, and the flap steak was also the ideal cut of meat to use for bistek. A pan-fried flap steak would also be excellent, but if you have access to a grill, by all means use it.

How did it go over at Thanksgiving? The bistek was the first platter to be finished off, and I also got several compliments on it, so it went very well. :)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend…now it’s time to focus on Christmas dinner!

Categories
beef Bistek Tagalog Filipino recipes

Bistek Tagalog 2.0 (Kalamansi version)

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

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.