In the Philippines, “Tapa” is considered cured meat, and it is usually beef. Although, we also have cured pork in longanisas and tocino, and chicken tocino. Tapa is pan-fried, after several days of curing in juices and brine. Most Filipinos enjoy eating beef tapa as a breakfast entree, paired with a huge platter of garlic fried rice and eggs.
This combo is called tapsilog in the Philippines. It is an acronym for the Tagalog words tapa (cured beef), sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (eggs). The mere mention of this tantalizing combination of savory-sweet beef, garlic-flavored fried rice, and eggs, sunny side or over easy, makes everyone start drooling. This is the kind of meal that can be served for breakfast, but one can opt to relish it for any meal till dinnertime, or in between and beyond. There are no rules for enjoying soft, succulent slices of beef tapa.
My own version of beef tapa, made in my American kitchen, is a shortcut of what I used to make back in the Philippines. A favorite is the beef tapa I make with skirt steak cuts. No matter which cut of beef, or what time I cook Beef Tapa, this is the kind of meal that will make you stop whatever it is you’re doing, and head to the dinner table asap.
- 1 large skillet - 10 to 12 inches in diameter
- 1 pound beef skirt steak, sliced very thin
For curing the meat:
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 1 Tablespoon white wine
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
For cooking the Beef Tapa:
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- garlic fried rice or sinangag
- fresh tomatoes, sliced or chopped
- eggs, sunny side up or over easy
To cure the Beef Tapa:
- In a large, non-reactive mixing bowl (use glass or plastic), combine the beef slices with the wet ingredients first: pineapple juice and white wine.Add the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and paprika.Mash and macerate the meat together with the marinade, with your hands, to incorporate the ingredients well.Store the meat slices in resealable plastic freezer bags. Freeze for at least 3 days to cure, before cooking.*(Note: The frozen beef tapa can keep for 1 to 2 months in the freezer).
To cook the Beef Tapa:
- Thaw the meat in the refrigerator a few hours before cooking. Do not microwave to thaw.In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add the meat and pour 1/2 cup of water. This is to allow the meat to tenderize. Cook this for 10 to 12 minutes.
- When water evaporates, and no trace of liquid is left, pour the oil. Continue cooking for around 6 minutes more. By this time, the beef slices will turn a darker brown and have a shiny glaze.
- When beef slices are cooked completely, transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm with garlic fried rice or sinangag, eggs, and tomatoes.
- The frozen beef tapa can keep in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. I cure a large batch of beef tapa, and keep them in portions in resealable plastic bags, frozen.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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