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Chicken Bistek

Chicken Bistek is a classic Filipino dish wherein meat slices are braised in flavorful liquid made with soy sauce, pepper and calamansi juice. Onion rings are used to crown this before serving. If you’re you an onion lover like me, this savoury dish with your favorite onion rings is definitely a must-try!


Unlike other kids who hate onions, I love them so much. I grew up having onion rings as an afternoon snack. We usually use red onions to our dishes so whenever I see a large white onion in our pantry, I know that it will either end up as onion rings or bistek.

Bistek is which is widely known for its savoury umami sauce made sour using our local calamansi. Another defining characteristic of bistek is the onion rings. If you pass by a karinderya and see a dish with onion rings on top, it’s 100% bistek. The word bistek is actually derived from “beef steak”. Contrary to that, I love making my bistek using chicken or talong as they are much economical than other meats especially this quarantine period.

I learned how to make chicken bistek from my mom who’s an onion lover too. Whenever bistek is served, we are the only ones to hoard all the onion rings. Bistek is rarely cooked at some since we prefer dishes with a lot of vegetables in it. But for my birthdays and all occasions related to me, bistek is a must at our table. As I learned how to make this easy dish on my own, I always add extra onion rings so the next person will still enjoy the small white crowns of this dish.


Chicken bistek is much easier than the bistek made with beef. As chicken cooks faster, this version is also prepared in less time.

Start the chicken bistek by marinating the chicken in a miture of soy sauce, calamansi juice and pepper. Bistek is widely known due to its sourness brought by the calamansi juice, so for a kilo of chicken, we will use the juice of 7 calamansi.

While marinating, let’s talk about our onion rings. Large white onions are the ones used for this dish. Make sure to sharpen your knife before slicing to ensure a smooth ring cut. Any thickness is good but I personally like them a bit thin, around 5mm. This thickness will make it cook faster and absorb the savoury sauce for later. I am also an onion lover which is why I want to see A LOT of onion rings in my bistek.

Stir-fry the marinated chicken and then add the marinade.  Make sure to strain the kalamansi seeds from the marinade before adding it to the pan. Add some water to dilute the sauce since it is too powerful. Then, add only half of the onion rings you make and cook it in the sauce. You’ll be surprised how little they will end when cooked (Haha J)

Add more onion rings on top as you serve the chicken bistek. Serve with a lot of hot steaming rice!

Chicken Bistek

Course: Uncategorized




  • 1 kilo chicken (skin on and cut into serving pieces)

  • 1 large onion (sliced into rings)

  • ¼ cup soy sauce

  • 7 pieces calamansi

  • 3 cloves of garlic (freshly crushed)

  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns

  • pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon spring onions (chopped)

  • oil


  • Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add the crushed garlic, calamansi juice, soy sauce and ground black pepper. Mix well and marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat some oil in a pan. Add the onion rings and cook for a minute. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the marinated chicken into the same pan. Reserve the marinade. Stir fry the chicken for 2 minutes. Flip to cook the other side. Add the garlic from the marinade. Pour a cup of water and strain the marinade (to remove calamansi seeds).
  • Add the peppercorns. Season with salt. Stir a bit. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add half of the cooked onion rings. Stir a bit.
  • Transfer the chicken bistek to a serving dish and garnish with the rest of the cooked onion rings on top. Serve with a bowl of hot steaming rice. Enjoy!

Chicken Bistek Recipe (TAGALOG)


  • 1 kilo manok (may balat, hiniwa sa serving pieces)
  • 1 malaking sibuyas na puti (hiniwa ng rings)
  • ¼ tasa ng toyo
  • 7 piraso ng kalamansi
  • 3 butil ng bawang (dinurog)
  • 1 kutsarita ng buong paminta
  • paminta
  • 1 kutsara ng spring onions (hiniwa)
  • mantika


  1. Ilagay ang mga manok sa isang bowl. Ilagay ang bawang, calamansi juice, toyo at paminta. Haluin ng mabuti at i-marinate ng 30 minutes.
  2. Magpainit ng mantika. Ilagay ang onion rings at igisa ng ilang minuto. Alisin ang mga ito sa kawali at isantabi.
  3. Ilagay ang marinated chicken sa kawali. Isantabi ang marinade. I-stir fry ang manok ng 2 minutes. Baliktarin para maluto ang kabilang side. Ilagay ang bawang galing sa marinade. Maglagay ng kalahating tasa ng tubig at i-strain ang marinade (para maalis ang mga buto ng calamansi).
  4. Ilagay ang mga buong paminta. Budburan ng konting asin at haluin. Takpan ang kawali at hayaan itong maluto ng 20 minutes.
  5. Ilagay ang kalahati ng nilutong onion rings. Haluin ng konti.
  6. Ilipat ang chicken bistek sa isang serving dish at ilagay ang natitirang onion rings sa ibabaw. Ihain kasama ng mainit na kanin. Enjoy!
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