How to Make Tapa
Tapa is dried, cured meat served popularly in the Philippines. Traditionally, it was left out in the sun for several days to dry, but most people today speed the process up by frying the meat after curing in the refrigerator for several hours. Tapa pairs fantastically with fried rice, but is also frequently served on it's own for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
1 lb beef steak, sliced (round, chuck, and flank are popular cuts)
1/8 cup soy sauce
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 head of garlic, cleaned and minced
¼ cup brown sugar
Spices cayenne, cracked red pepper, chili powder
Basic Beef Tapa
Slice the beef into thin, pinky-width slices.You want to cut against the grain. To cut against the grain, look at the long horizontal strands that run through the steak and cut perpendicular to them.
- Don't be afraid to leave a little fat on the beef, it will help it cook later.
Mix the vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.You want to cut the garlic finely into small chunks. Mix your ingredients well.
Add the beef to the mixing bowl and massage it with marinade.Take your time to let the beef soak up the mixture, using your fingers to lightly message the meat. Think -- honestly -- about giving a gentle message to a loved one!
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.Make sure you create a nice, tight seal around the beef -- it will marinate for a long time.
- Scents and flavors from the air will mix into your food if you leave it uncovered, changing the flavor of your tapa.
Refrigerate your tapa for 1-3 days.If you are in a hurry you can leave it in overnight. However, the longer the beef marinates the better it will taste.
Heat a large skillet on medium after the tapa has finished marinating.You can put a little bit of cooking oil at the bottom of the pan, but it is not necessary.
Pour the beef and marinade into the hot pan.You want to keep all of the juices in the skillet. Turn the beef regularly, every minute or two, to keep it from burning.
Cook the beef until the liquid has evaporated and absorbed completely.You may even want to keep the beef cooking another 2-3 minutes if you want it to be crispy on the edges.
- If the liquid is gone and you still want to cook the beef, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan to help it fry.
Try different types of meat for new tapa recipes.While the most popular tapa is made with beef, there are many variations in Filipino cooking, including:
- Tapang Usa:Venison
- Tapang Baboy Ramo:Wild Boar
- Tapang Kabayo:Horse
- You can also try pork shoulder or pork belly, or use different cuts of beef, like a roast.
Substitute lemon juice for vinegar for a tart Tapa.Usually you need to add some sugar too to cut the sourness a bit, but this recipe gives your tapa a nice sweet & sour flavor.
- Feel free to mix and match too, using half vinegar and half lemon juice.
Add brown sugar for a sweet, molasses-like flavor.Sugar can also help the outside of the beef caramelize, but you will need to turn it more frequently to prevent burning.
Add spices like cayenne to give your tapa a kick.An extra tablespoon of black pepper, cayenne, or even a tablespoon of Sriracha will all make deliciously spicy tapa.
Cook the meat without liquid for a crispier dish.For some people, cooking the meat with the liquid leads to a dish that is too tough for their preferences. You can always drain the liquid before cooking if you want crispier meat. Use 1-2 tablespoons of high heat oil (vegetable, sesame, canola) to fry the meat instead of cooking it with the liquid.
Making Tapsilog (Tapa and Fried Rice)
Serve Tapa with fried rice and an egg for a traditional breakfast dish.Called Tapsilog because it is a mixture of three foods,Tapa (beef),Sinangag (fried rice), and Itlog(fired egg), this is a classic Filipino breakfast.
Crack an egg into the tapa skillet as the beef finishes.You want to add the egg when you only have 2-3 minutes left for the beef to cook. Cook one egg for every person eating.
Cook and drain 1 cup of rice.You want to rice to be slightly undercooked.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat in a skillet.You want enough oil to coat the rice.
Chop and sauté 2-3 cloves of garlic and half an onion in the hot oil.Cook it for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are slightly see-through.
Add the rice to the hot oil and mix.You want the rice to be coated in the oil.
Cook the rice for 4-5 minutes.Add any salt and pepper to taste and stir the rice regularly to prevent burning.
Serve the egg and tapa on top of the rice.If you have limited cooking space it is usually easiest to cook the rice ahead of time and reheat it before you eat.
- To reheat rice, put a drip of oil and 2-3 tablespoons of water in a skillet and cook the rice on low, covered, for 4-5 minutes. Stir regularly.
Serve with a Filipino vinegar sauce for a perfect, authentic meal.Vinegar dipping sauce is simple to make if you have the ingredients. Simply mix the following in a bowl:
- 1 1/2 cup White Vinegar
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Pepper
QuestionWhat if I don't have a bowl? I only have a Tupperware.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can marinate the meat in the Tupperware. It will work just as well as a bowl.Thanks!
If you want to make beef tapa, slice a steak into slices about the width of your pinky, being sure to cut against the grain. Mix vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, and finely chopped garlic in a bowl, then stir in the beef. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the tapa for 1-3 days. Once the meat has finished marinating, place a large skillet over medium heat and pour the beef and marinade into the pan. Cook the beef until all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring every 1-2 minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Things You'll Need
A can or bottle opener for the soda
A chopping board
A mixing bowl
A frying pot
A liquid measuring cup
Sources and Citations
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