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Carne FritI am one of those overseas foreign worker (OFW) moms, and my life away from home is vastly different from my mommy life. In Afghanistan, we rarely have the chance to cook, all our meals are taken at any of the DIFACs (dining facilities) on camp. Occasionally, we go out to the boardwalk to eat, and most of the food there is American, or westernized versions that leave you longing for the authentic tastes our Pinoy palates are used to.

That’s why when I get home, one of my vacation pleasures is to cook up a storm of dishes, mainly those that I have been craving for. I cook for my boys, for family, and for friends that are brave enough to be my guinea pigs, a.k.a. food tasters. I am happy to report that all of them have survived my cooking.

My eldest son, Jeremy, has a growing boy’s appetite. When I am on break and spending time at home, he asks me to cook his favorite dishes. One of them is Carne Frita, stir-fried beef with soy sauce. This is a long-time favorite at our little household, and I make it with no salt, just light soy sauce to bring out the taste of good-quality beef. I add plenty of onions and sauce since my boys like it that way. And now I have finally sat down and written out the recipe for carne frita, for my friend Racquel, new mom to a cute little boy. Miga, here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Carne Frita

500 grams beef sirloin, sliced sukiyaki-style
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed
2 calamansi
1/2 cup light soy sauce (we use Lee Kum Kee)
cooking oil
2 small onions, cut into rings
sesame oil (optional)

Wash the beef and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the beef into smaller pieces if the pieces are too big. Trim some of the ligaments away.

In a big bowl, combine the beef, light soy sauce, garlic, and peppercorns. Squeeze the calamansi over the beef and mix well. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a non-stick skillet or wok over high heat, put in 2 Tbsps. cooking oil. Drop in the pieces of beef one by one and let brown on both sides. Set aside any remaining marinade. The beef will release their liquid after a few minutes. Once the liquid is boiling briskly, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain the liquid into the bowl of marinade and save for later.

Bring the heat up to medium and continue to fry the beef, adding cooking oil as needed. When the beef has turned crisp at the edges and is done to your preference (we like ours browned but still chewy), add the beef liquid and marinade back in.

Let the carne frita simmer for 2 minutes or so and then turn off the heat. Add in the onion rings and mix with the beef to cook the onions in residual heat. Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with a little sesame oil (optional) at the table.