Beef Tapa Recipe
Beef tapa is the opposite of a thick, juice steak, but in a good way. Traditional tapa, a Filipino heritage food, is thinly sliced, salt-cured venison, beef or lamb, fried until crumbly. The salt-curing occurs by way of a soy-sauce-based marinade that usually contains sugar, garlic and spices.
Any cut of beef works, but choose economically; paper-thin slices of marinated-and-fried tenderloin have the same texture and taste as marinated-and-fried bottom round. Buy the freshest top or bottom round and have the butcher slice it paper thin across the grain; the slicing is integral to the texture.
- Beef top or bottom round, sliced thin across the grain
- Soy sauce
- Aromatics and spices, such as garlic and onions
- Vegetable oil
1. Mix the marinade, typically 1 part soy sauce to 1/2 part each sugar, minced garlic and sliced onions. Measurements are approximate, though, so rely more on taste than ratios. Add other ingredients, such as sliced chilis and lemon juice, if you like.
2. Add the beef to the marinade and coat it on all sides. Marinate the beef in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
3. Lift the pieces of beef out of the marinade and scrape the excess off with your fingers; lay each piece on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can shingle the slices, but don’t stack them on top of each other.
4. Set the oven to warm and place the beef in it. Prop open the door a couple of inches and dry the beef for about 2 or 3 hours, or until it doesn’t look wet; the beef doesn’t have to be dehydrated.
5. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Lay the slices of beef flat in the pan, spacing each about 1/2 inch apart. Work in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan, or the beef will steam, not fry.
6. Fry the beef until crisp and transfer it to a plate. Serve the beef as is or chop it into bits and serve it with rice or noodles.
For traditional tapsilog, serve the beef with fried rice with an egg cooked sunny-side up. Garnish with tomato wedges.
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