Finally, I have a new Filipino recipe for you guys!
I know I’ve been teasing you with my memories of Filipino food (ube jam, lechon, green beans with squash and coconut milk, spicy snails with chilis, and other exotica) and while I’m the first to admit that I don’t cook Filipino dishes often enough, I am getting super excited for my upcoming holiday vacation in the Philippines that I decided to jumpstart my eating bonanza with a traditional Pinoy dish.
My family didn’t really prepare beef salpicao very often so I didn’t eat it much while growing up in the Philippines. However when I was in college, I remember going out with my friends and getting beef salpicao rice bowls – tender cubes of steak in a buttery, garlicky sauce, on top of garlic fried rice. This rich dish with chunks of beef and steaming rice seemed like the perfect meal during exam week (when we were all craving comfort), and also the perfect companion for a cold glass of beer or five (when we are all craving… something hearty). It tastes like comfort food at its finest.
This is a very indulgent dish, and also very easy to make. I start with a tender, well-marbled cut of beef (ribeye or tenderloin), marinate it for a couple of hours, and stir-fry the beef. There is a little secret to making mouth-watering, rich-tasting beef salpicao: adding a pat of butter that melts seductively over the meat. The butter gives the beef chunks a satin coat, with each bite bursting with umami flavors.
Filipino Beef Salpicao
1/2 – 2/3 lb beef tenderloin or ribeye, cubed (I used one big ribeye steak)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or better yet, oyster sauce, which you can find in the International/Asian aisle of most department stores)
1/2 tablespoon paprika
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Make your marinade: combine 1 tablespoon the olive oil, the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce (or oyster sauce), paprika, half of the minced garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper. Let the beef marinate for at least two hours.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a big pan over medium high heat. Add the meat and cook for about 5 minutes, until brown and lightly caramelized, stirring occasionally.
While the beef is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a separate pan and fry the remaining garlic. Watch the garlic closely as it fries/burns quickly. Strain out the garlic once it is golden brown and crispy.
Add the butter to the beef and stir, letting the butter melt and meld with the light sauce. Cook for another minute or two, and plate immediately. Sprinkle the salpicao with the fried garlic and serve with rice. (This is traditionally served with white rice or garlic rice, but I ate it with brown rice, no biggie.)
Have you ever had Filipino food? What’s your favorite? Adobo sits on top of my favorites list.