When I was a child, my family had a membership at a sports club. Almost every afternoon in the summer, my sisters and I would swim at the club's pool. The pool was near the lounge and every now and then, mouthwatering smells from the lounge's restaurant would waft to the pool area and one of their specialties is "Bistek Tagalog" (Tagalog Beef Steak). I believe our nose has its own memory because every time I smell the distinctly wonderful smell of onions and garlic in butter, I can also almost smell the chlorine of the swimming pool and I am transported back to the happy days of my childhood. This recipe is an attempt to recreate that wonderfully savoury dish, Bistek Tagalog which the club restaurant serves in a sizzling plate. For bistek, calamansi is usually used, a citrus local to the Philippines. Since it's almost impossible to find calamansi in Japan, I substituted lemon which can be found in any supermarket. I am also partial to using the nice thin slices of pork as my kids find that easier to eat than beef or even pork chop slices. Soysauce is crucial to this dish. It is essential for marinating the meat and it gives the meat and the onions a beautiful caramel color.
3 cloves garlic chopped finely
ground black pepper
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
3-4 T soy sauce
300 g thinly sliced pork (or beef if preferred)
1 large onion sliced into ring
1 T butter (or olive oil if preferred)
Mix the garlic, ground black pepper, lemon juice and soysauce in a bowl. Marinate the thinly sliced pork in this mixture for at least 30 minutes. In a frying pan, heat the butter or oil on medium high and pan fry the onions until soft. Move to the side of the pan. Pan fry the pork pieces until done but do not overcook. Serve hot with rice.