30 Jul2009


Every once in a while, I try and sweep through the freezers and refrigerators and cook up any odds, ends, or pieces of meat or fish which have been otherwise “forgotten.” In this case, a pretty nice hunk of tuna emerged from the deep freeze, and I realized it was an aborted piece that didn’t pass my sashimi quality test, but would probably do well in any cooked recipe. So I decided to defrost it and slice it into roughly 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick pieces (slice when still semi-frozen, it’s easier) and attempt to make a dish like Bistek Tagalog, but only this time, using fish instead of meat.


In a large skillet, add some vegetable oil and turn the heat up to medium high. I added two medium sized spanish or white onions, sliced into 1/4 inch half rings, and tossed that to keep it moving. After about 2-3 minutes, I added about 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce and the same amount of kalamansi or calamondin juice. Toss some more and set this aside, leaving any excess oil in the pan. Add a little more vegetable oil to the pan, season the tuna slices with salt and pepper, and quickly pan fry the slices, perhaps adding a splash of soy sauce to each slice before flipping it over. It’s nice to keep the tuna a bit undercooked to retain some moisture, but you can cook it to a crisp if you prefer it that way. Place the cooked slices onto a warmed serving platter.


Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of flour into the oil and drippings in the pan and stir for just 10-15 seconds before adding say a cup or so total of soy sauce, kalamansi juice and water. Omit flour if you don’t like the sauce to thicken up a bit. I used roughly 25% soy sauce, 25% kalamansi juice and 50% water. Adjust this to taste or to volumes of sauce you want. Add some pepper and stir to thicken. Add back the sauteed onions and when this is all hot, pour this over the fish and serve with lots of rice and a vegetable side dish. Super easy, and surprisingly good. The fish can get a little tough but if sliced relatively thinly, it isn’t such a big negative. A nice variation on the classic bistek tagalog. But a little bit healthier. :)



  1. brownedgnat says:

    Yumm! I’ll try this recipe soon.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 8:39 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. sanojmd says:

    i usually cooked bistek with beef and liver.. a healthier option than meat and entrails.. thanks MM.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 8:57 am

  4. Jen Laceda says:

    Being a Filipino, I enjoy Tuna steaks this way!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 9:14 am

  5. fg says:

    looks so good! my mom stopped eating meat years ago, so she makes a really awesome bistek tagalog using boneless bangus belly.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 11:24 am

  6. silly lolo says:

    Another “Why didn’t I think of that” post from the very clever Marketman! I wonder if this will work on chicken wings? I’ll try it!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 11:43 am

  7. Marketman says:

    silly lolo, it works with pork chops/steaks too. I bet it would be decent with chicken paillards, or flattened chicken breasts as well…

    Jul 30, 2009 | 12:09 pm

  8. Connie C says:

    Ehem, easy on the soy sauce, silly lolo.

    MM, I tried something similar but with grated ginger and a little sugar. The tuna was somewhat tough and not as flavorful. You really have to cook it quickly . Perhaps my stove was not hot enough.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 12:13 pm

  9. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, if i came late for this lunch and you run out of the tuna steak, I would still be very happy with just the sauteed onions and a plate full of rice!!!! MMMMMMMMMMM (hehehehe) Your shot of the onions is awesome!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 1:30 pm

  10. moni says:

    Connie C, the addition of ginger and sugar would make it like teriyaki tuna. Overcooking the tuna will make it tough.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 2:04 pm

  11. Fred says:

    Ill try this with Tofu. Those onions look reaaally goood!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 3:19 pm

  12. ariel says:

    looks so good. I like this with boneless bangus. One bad thing though you end up eating a lot of rice which is the killer.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 3:43 pm

  13. dishesandplaces says:

    at home we do this with bangus too. works really well :)

    Jul 30, 2009 | 4:08 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Artisan, I too love the onions, probably more than the beef or tuna… :)

    Jul 30, 2009 | 4:13 pm

  15. THELMA says:

    i like tuna steaks grilled and still raw in the middle, or served as sashimi. i will try your recipe, mm.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 5:13 pm

  16. joey says:

    We do something similar with tuna but ala pobre style instead of bistek style :) This looks awesome!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 6:15 pm

  17. Anne says:

    Yummmy!!! As I am based in Dubai and kalamansi is very difficult to find here, we use lemon instead, though nothing beats the genuine taste of “bistek” and for this you really have to use kalamansi.
    Marketman! I love the flavor of caramelized onions so much, every now and then I would cook a big batch (3-4 kilos)of white onions “bistek style” ahnd this any without any meat or fish,I will keep this in the freezer! Voila!instant ulam or as a side dish for steak or fried fish!

    Jul 30, 2009 | 7:50 pm

  18. diday says:

    This is how I cook my beef steak. My husband, who was born and bred in Manila, calls it Cebuano steak. His family in Manila cooks it differently. When is it called Tagalog bistek or Cebuano bistek? Which region the cook is from? Oppss… are we opening a can of .. you know what about beef steak. Sorry, too much soda tonight.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 8:53 pm

  19. cheeseheadeatsushi says:

    I love the combination of sourness from the calamansi, saltiness from the soy sauce, and that extra savory zing from the onions. I want to try this with liver but not sure if I should soak it in buttermilk first.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 9:22 pm

  20. Connie C says:

    Yes Moni, I find that you really cannot overcook some or most fish in general and certain fish are best cooked certain ways. So, better know your fish.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 10:07 pm

  21. chrisb says:

    Yum! Like the 2 commenters above, I too love this with bangus! The fattier the fish, the better =)

    Jul 30, 2009 | 11:53 pm

  22. atbnorge says:

    Hei MM and Artisan Chocolatier, you are happy just with the sauteed onions, huh? Coming from a big family, I was happy just to eat my rice with the gleanings in the frying pan. Wonderful!

    Jul 31, 2009 | 12:58 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Hey Silly Lolo…the Chinooks are here! I usually do this with the belly when I trim the fish so it will fit in the freezer…do you know that the best parts of th salmon when making this like MM’s tuna Bistek…is the collar, the BELLY (hands down!), the tail end of the fish, and do not forget, the meaty backbone whe n you fillet thhe fish.

    …BARBECUE first, and then saute your onions and LIGHT SOY or LOw-Sodium toyo! and garnish with cilantro sprigs!

    Jul 31, 2009 | 3:51 am

  24. atbnorge says:

    I’ll try this recipe on a sea trout—I’ll surprise myself, hahaha. Oh, the mackerels are still waiting for me to hook them!

    Jul 31, 2009 | 4:19 am

  25. Lilibeth says:

    I never thought about this before but it sure looks delicious. I try to avoid red meat as much as possible so I did this once with thinly sliced chicken breast and my children who prefer to eat red meat loved it and I’m almost sure they would love this too. I always try to substitute dishes which you would normally cook with meat like bistek with skinless chicken breast and they hardly notice the difference although one thing I was never able to do was convert my family to vegetarianism when I once was a vegetarian for two years. I gave up and now I eat steak and lechon on special occasions and mostly fish, chicken and of course veggies. Thanks a lot for opening my eyes on this one. I’m almost sure this recipe is a keeper. Thanks to Betty Q also for that salmon suggestion. Salmon is actually more economical than tuna.

    Jul 31, 2009 | 10:33 am

  26. michelle says:

    I really like this great simple Pinoy ‘bistek’, thanks MM! You might want to try this style with boneless bangus belly…I like it’s softer meat than tuna, and less expensive ;) And with lots of onions too!

    Jul 31, 2009 | 3:55 pm

  27. michelle says:

    oops, sorry i missed the above comments…they already suggested Bangus :D and like Betty Q., the belly for me is the best part

    Jul 31, 2009 | 3:59 pm

  28. joyce says:

    craving for pinoy food now ;P haay

    Jul 31, 2009 | 4:39 pm

  29. ingrid says:

    yummy! at home we use Gindara or Tanguige, like you i like the onions too.

    Jul 31, 2009 | 4:50 pm

  30. liz says:

    I just got back from chinatown w 2 lbs of salmon belly! Now I know what Ill have for dinner, cant hardly wait to try this salmon bistek! yum yum,,,

    Aug 1, 2009 | 5:19 am

  31. betty q. says:

    Liz…dahil sa gusto ko kumain ng Salmon Bistek, too…I asked my fisherman friend for his Chinook which he caught a few days ago. I can hardly wait…though it is a MAJOR PAIN cleaning the 26 pound Chinook! Then I pulled out a fewof my Kelsae Giant onion bulbs…

    Oh, Thelma! If you are into planting onions like Walla Walla…you have to try planting this variety of sweet onions. Given the right conditions, it can grow into a humongous one. I started growing this Kelsae 5 years ago and now, I have majority of the gardeners in the Community garden growing this one now. I bought the seeds at Lindenberg Seeds (a Canadian company) but there are seed companies in the US selling them.

    Aug 1, 2009 | 8:35 am

  32. u8mypinkcookies says:

    love this! mom makes this one too.. makes the fish tastier and yummy!

    Aug 1, 2009 | 10:14 am

  33. bagito says:

    Agree w/ Artisan, sa onions pa lang winner na!

    Aug 2, 2009 | 9:51 am

  34. farida says:

    I have a couple pieces of tuna in the freezer and I was just wondering how to cook them. Now I will try your recipe, MM. I remember this bistek, too, with lots of onions. I still have a bootle of calamansi juice in the freezer. Hmm, time to thaw it and use it. Thanks, MM. Incidentally, the Anthony Bourdain in Cebu segment was repeated again the other day on the Travel Channel. I am wondering which one are you? Are you the one with the eyeglasses who was showing Mr. B. around? That must be you. Now every time I open your blog that is the picture of you that come to mind. :>)

    Aug 2, 2009 | 10:14 am

  35. Marketman says:

    farida, I did the lechon with Mr. Bourdain, and gave him a tour of the dried fish market. :)

    Aug 2, 2009 | 11:07 am

  36. betty q. says:

    Hey Liz…naunahan na kita! Had the Salmon Belly and Collar Bistek. Since the salmon was quite huge, I ended up with quite a bit of Barbecued Bistek Salmon…. it made really, realy good Salmon donair (for leftovers). Pita bread….shredded iceberg, sliced tomatoes (from my garden!), cucumbers (from mthe garden too!), caramelized onions, (pulled from my garden too) homemade toamto salsa, homemade ranch dressing (I like it garlicky), homemade tzatsiki, and the salmon! That is our lunch now! I should have barbecued more fillets!

    Aug 3, 2009 | 1:52 am


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021