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Filipino Poorman's Steak (Bistek a La Pobre)

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“This is a variation of a popular Filipino dish called Bistek a la pobre. This is a mainstay in my family's weekly diner menu back home. The beauty of this recipe is that it is very flexible and you can make it any way you want it. My mom would sometimes make this with finely chopped carrots. I prefer adding chopped spring onions to the stir fried onion rings for garnish. Serve it with steamed rice.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 12 kg thinly sliced sirloin steak
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (reserve half for later)
  • 3 garlic cloves, pounded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (calamansi, or filipino lime works best)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced in thick rings (you can substitute this with chopped spring onions)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (for stir-frying)


  1. Pat the beef dry.
  2. Marinate beef in soy sauce,1 teaspoon of sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce,garlic, pepper and oil (to lock the moisture in meat) for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Put the pan in high heat, heat oil till smoking hot and stir-fry beef along with the marinade until cooked and tender. This takes about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and onion rings, sautee until translucent and slightly caramelized. Serve immediately.

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