Beef Salpicao is a beef stir-fry dish flavored with Worcestershire, butter, garlic, and red chili pepper flakes. It’s quick and simple to make yet packs fantastic flavor. Delicious as an appetizer or main dish!
I spent a good portion of this morning researching the background of beef salpicao and how it came about in the Philippine cuisine.
Although I didn’t find a definitive history, from what I read, it appears the name of the dish is a derivative of the Spanish word salpicar, which means to spatter, sprinkle, or pepper. An appropriate description of this beef-stir fry as it is heavily dotted with browned garlic bits!
Like sizzling gambas, this Filipino-style beef stir-fry is said to be of Spanish influence. Solomillo al Ajillo (beef tenderloin in garlic) seems to be the point of inspiration but adapted to our Pinoy taste, such as the use of soy sauce and sugar in making the sauce.
And like gambas, it’s also popular as an appetizer to accompany ice-cold beer but can easily double as a satisfying main course.
Beef Salpicao is a simple dish to make for everyday family meals yet fancy enough for company. It has simple ingredients, cooks in one pan, and is ready in minutes.
However, due to the cost of premium beef cut, it can get rather pricey, especially if preparing for a large crowd. Adding button mushrooms is a delicious way to extend servings without breaking the bank.
As this is a quick stir-fry, use the choicest cut of beef for the juiciest morsels. I like prime ribeye steaks but I’ve seen recipes that use beef tenderloin or sirloin as well.
Cut the meat in uniform size for even cooking. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
The center of flavor in this dish is the garlic. To draw out the maximum wonderful flavor and aroma, brown the garlic in warm and NOT hot oil. This way it can cook longer and infuse the butter and oil mixture with more flavor without burning.
Once the oil is thick with the necessary garlic flavors, crank up the heat to high so that the beef can brown nicely. Use a wide, heavy-bottomed pan and do not overcrowd lest the meat will steam rather than sear.
Don’t overcook the meat. I prefer medium-rare for succulent, yummy bites!
For added color and freshness, toss chopped green onions in the pan during the last minute of cooking or sprinkle over the beef just before serving.
How to serve
Serve as an appetizer with an ice-cold beer or as the main entree with garlic fried rice for lunch or dinner.
To store leftovers, transfer in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 days.
Heat in wide, heavy-bottomed pan or wok over high heat, stirring constantly.
More delicious meat recipes? Try my version of beef pares which pairs well with sinangag, too!