An adaptation of the Spanish encebollado, the Filipino bistek is a dish made of sliced beef braised in a mixture of calamansi juice, soy sauce, garlic, and onions. In recent years, however, the term “bistek” has evolved to include not only beefsteak, but also other meat such as pork chops, chicken, and fish cooked in the signature marinade.
This chicken version has the same tangy and savory taste we love in Bistek Tagalog but is quicker to make and more budget-friendly. Both are similar in ingredients and procedure other than the generous dollop of liver spread I stirred in at the end of cooking to thicken the sauce. It’s a simple addition that kicks up the flavor!
Ingredients for Chicken a la Bistek
- Bone-in chicken cut into serving portions-swap with boneless chicken thigh meat if desired
- Lemon or calamansi juice
- Soy sauce
- Onions, garlic, and peppercorns-saute the meat in these aromatics and garnish with additional onion rings when ready to serve for presentation
- Liver spread-helps thicken the sauce and adds flavor
Tips on How to Make Chicken Bistek
- Cut the chicken in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
- Do not marinate for too long as the acids in the lemon or calamansi will denature the protein fibers and turn the meat mushy. Thirty minutes to an hour should be enough to boost flavor.
- Drain the chicken well and squeeze off any excess liquid so it will brown properly. Reserve the marinade and the aromatics.
- The liver spread thickens the sauce and adds flavor. If you prefer to skip, simmer the sauce longer to reduce.
Give this chicken cooked a la bistek a try and make sure to have plenty of rice ready. Hearty and full-on flavor, it’s sure to be a family favorite. Enjoy!
- 3poundschicken, legs, thighs or whole cut up into serving parts
- 1onion, peeled and sliced
- 4clovesgarlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2teaspoonpeppercorns, cracked
- 1/4cuplemon or calamansi juice
- 1/4cupsoy sauce
- 1tablespooncanola oil
- 2tablespoonsliver spread
- salt to taste
Rinse chicken and drain well.
In a bowl, combine chicken, onions, garlic, peppercorns, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Massage the marinade into the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
Drain chicken and squeeze excess liquid. Reserve marinade and aromatics.
In a wide skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken and reserved onions and garlic from the marinade.
Cook, stirring regularly until chicken is lightly browned.
Add reserved marinade and water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced.
Add liver spread and stir to dissolve. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
Season with salt to taste. Garnish with sliced onion rings, if desired. Serve hot.