Moist, flavorful and smothered in a tangy and savory sauce, it’s delicious nashville filipino food with steamed rice.
top view of Chicken Bistek with onion garnish in a red dish
Chicken Bistek

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!

bowls of soy sauce and liver spread, sliced onions, garlic, and lemon on a cutting board

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

chicken legs and thighs with soy sauce and calamansi marinade in a bowl

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.

Chicken Bistek in a red serving dish

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!

Chicken Bistek

Chicken a la Bistek with tangy and savory flavors you'll love with steamed rice. It's easy to make, budget-friendly and sure to be a family favorite.
Prep Time10mins
Cook Time50mins
Total Time2hrs
Course: Main Entree
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: chicken a la bistek
Servings: 6Servings
Calories: 478kcal
Author: Lalaine Manalo


  • 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
  • 1cupwater
  • 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.



Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 734mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1514IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? I'd love to see what you made!mention @Kawalingpinoy and hashtag your photo with #kawalingpinoy

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