Bistek is a simple but classic Filipino dish that traditionally features thinly sliced beef and onions cooked in soy sauce and lemon juice. It uses simple ingredients and is cooked in a simple process but you end up with a sarap, complex dish!
Makes 6 sliders
3 cups jasmine rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance Butter
1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (set aside) cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 lemons (set aside 3 paper thin slices for garnish)
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 stalk of scallion
salt and pepper to taste
PREPARE THE RICE BUNS
1. In a rice cooker, combine jasmine rice and water. While you let this cook (takes around 30 minutes), you can work on preparing the filling.
2. Once the rice is cooked, uncover and mix. Let it sit to cool.
3. When it's cool to touch, take a greased 12 muffin pan and fill each mold halfway with rice. Press down on each mound with the bottom of a glass cup or spoon until it's flat making a disc shape. This will be your bun!
PREPARE THE FILLING
1. Pre-heat an 8-inch frying pan on low (do not add the oil yet!).
2. Remove tofu from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Slice the tofu into 6 even slices, then cut those in half to make 12 square slices. Julienne the onion, mince garlic, and set aside. Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl or cup and remove the seeds.
4. Place the tofu in a bowl and lightly dust with cornstarch until each piece is evenly coated.
5. Now you're ready to fry! Turn up the heat of the pan to medium-high and add the oil.
6. Carefully fry tofu on each side until crispy and golden. Set aside on a dry paper towel on a plate.
7. In the same pan, cook the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice. Let this cook for another minute. You want the onions to cook slightly but maintain a bit of their crunch. Make a slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add this to the pan to thicken the sauce.
8. Add the fried tofu to the pan and lightly toss until it's coated. Turn the heat down to low and set aside while you finish preparing the buns.
ASSEMBLE THE SLIDER
1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a 8-inch frying pan on medium-high heat.
2. Sear 4 molded rice buns until browned on both sides.
3. Repeat for the remaining buns.
4. On a serving platter, place 6 rice buns down. Top with 2 slices of tofu, a tablespoon of cooked onions, and drizzle with sauce from the pan. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and a thin quarter slice of lemon (optional). Finish with other rice bun on top or tilted to the side.