This Homemade Beef Tapa Filipino Recipe is an authentic dish that has its origin in the Philippines. Tapa is usually made from cured and dried meat. Though beef is most commonly used for making tapa, other dishes like mutton, horse meat, and venison are also used to make this lovely dish. It is the main course, prepared in a traditional way in the Philippines.
Thin strips of beef (or any other meat) are first cured with salt and spices before they undergo a conventional preservation method to prepare delicious tapas. It can be served with rice, fried eggs, ketchup, sliced tomatoes, or any other side dish you want.
Tapa, or Thapa, in the Filipino dialect, means “smoked.” In the earlier days, tapa was usually made from smoked fish. Only later, other types of meat were used for making this dish. Today, beef tapa is one of the most-loved dishes (besides this famous Filipino chicken adobo) by people all over the world, and this dish has brought Filipino cuisine to the limelight indeed!
Beef Tapa Filipino Recipe
Ok, it’s time to make another fantastic Filipino dish, so gather the ingredients, and let’s start with Beff Tapa Recipe!
- Soy Sauce – ½ cup
- Calamansi Juice – ¼ cup
- Garlic – 1 head, peeled and crushed
- Sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Salt – ½ teaspoon
- Freshly Ground Pepper – ¼ teaspoon
- Beef Sirloin – 3 pounds (cut into very thin slices)
- Canola Oil – as needed for cooking
- Preparing the Marinade:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients: ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup calamansi juice, crushed garlic (about 1 head), 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
- Marinating the Beef:
- Add the thin slices of beef sirloin (3 pounds) to the bowl. Ensure each slice is evenly coated with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 8 to 10 hours. This duration allows the beef to properly absorb the flavors.
- Cooking the Beef:
- After marinating, remove the beef from the refrigerator. Drain any excess marinade from the meat.
- Place a pan on the stove and heat it over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil.
- Add the marinated beef to the hot pan. Cook the beef for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Frequently turn the slices to ensure even cooking and wait until the liquid in the pan is fully absorbed.
- Continue cooking until the beef slices turn golden brown.
- Once the beef slices are golden brown, turn off the stove.
- Serve the cooked beef with traditional Filipino side dishes such as sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (fried egg) for an authentic experience.
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Tips for Cooking Beef Tapa the perfect way
- To ensure that the spices seep into the meat well and the beef cooks well, you should always make very thin slices of the meat. Filipino cooking experts recommend freezing the meat for 10 to 15 minutes to make thin slices easily.
- You don’t have to stick only to the ingredients mentioned here. You can use your creativity with the ingredients available in your area. For example, if you cannot find calamansi juice in a store near you, don’t worry. You can always substitute it with lemon juice, vinegar, or wine.
- While marinating the beef in the refrigerator, it is highly recommended that you only do so for about 8 to 10 hours. Marinating the meat for a long time will take away the taste of the beef because the protein fibers will lose their natural taste.
- Beef tapa tastes awesome when you use sirloin or the tender cut of the meat. These will cook in about 5 minutes. However, if you are not able to find sirloin, you can also use tougher cuts of meat. After marinating the tough cuts of meat, you can cook them with a bit of water to allow them to turn soft and tender. Once they turn tender, you can cook the meat with oil and switch off the stove when it turns golden brown.
- The best way to serve this beef tapa is with garlic fried rice and sunny-side-up eggs. This combination makes for a wholesome breakfast option.
Some changes you can try with beef tapa
- For the marinating ingredients, you can use ¼ cup of coconut sugar, two tablespoons of fish sauce, one tablespoon of tamarind soy sauce, and ½ teaspoon of baking soda, along with the usual calamansi juice and soy sauce. With these ingredients, you may marinate the beef for about 5 to 6 hours.
- Though beef tapa is a Philippines-based dish, you can also add/delete certain ingredients to make it belong to your country. For example, to make it a Thai-based curry, you can mix certain authentic Thai ingredients like two tablespoons of lemongrass, one teaspoon of kaafir lime leaves, and two tablespoons of coriander roots to the normal marinating elements to make delicious beef tapas. It is enough for these ingredients to keep the meat marinated for about 4 hours. While serving, don’t forget to serve beef tapa with pickled cucumber.
- To make Japan-based beef tapa, the unique marinating ingredients you can use are equal measures (about ¾ cups each) of Japanese soy sauce, Japanese sweet rice wine, and cooking sake, one teaspoon of butter, and four teaspoons of special Japanese chili powder. Mix all the ingredients with the thin slices of beef and marinate them for about 3 to 4 hours before frying them as usual and serving the tapa with rice and eggs.
As you can see, as long as you take care of the beef cuts and the marinating time, you can make fantastic Filipino beef tapas. This dish requires a lot of time only for the marinating spices to seep in. You can cook the tapas in minutes if the meat is marinated well. Ensure you always choose the right type of beef cut to make delicious beef tapa.