The Happy Home Cook: Liver in Bistek Sauce

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Liver is a good source of vitamins A, B, C and D. It contains glycogen and is considered an energy food. Liver comes in all sizes and flavors: poultry liver is the most tender and small; beef liver is the largest; lamb's and calf's liver have mild flavors as opposed to the strong distinctive flavor of pork liver. In all cases, liver must be cooked at low heat, as it gets mushy easily.
Beef liver bistek (Source:

Beef liver bistek (Source:


1 lb beef liver
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cornstarch
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
2 thickly sliced onions
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup dark vinegar
2-4 bay leaves

Garnish: 1 sliced red onion


  • Rinse and slice beef liver into 1-inch thicknesses.

  • Beat an egg with milk in a bowl. 

  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

  • Soak liver in this mixture.

  • Dredge each slice in a platter of flour, pepper, paprika and breadcrumbs.

  • Heat butter and oil in a skillet.

  • Fry each slice. Set these aside.

  • Carefully deglaze all fried sediments left from frying liver with one cup of heated water.

  • Remove burnt debris.

  • Leaved browned juice at the bottom of the skillet.

  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter, add garlic and onions until softened.

  • Stir in cornstarch in water paste and make a smooth sauce.

  • Pour vinegar and soy sauce.

  • Replace liver slices in skillet. Cook at medium heat for at least 10 minutes.

  • Add 2-4 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of sugar and crushed peppercorn.

  • If the mixture gets a bit dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of lukewarm water.

  • Season with salt and crushed peppercorns. 

Serve liver slices in a warmed platter, decorated with a thinly sliced sweet red onion. Spoon sauce around liver and onions.

Liver in Bistek Sauce will go well with boiled white rice and cold ensalada with a sweet and sour dressing, and a glass of Merlot.

Finish off with a kalamansi or an orange sorbetes

From Sagana, a book about Filipino food and recipes by G. B. Korten, 2015.

Sagana, by G. B. Korten, 2015.

Sagana, by G. B. Korten, 2015.

GB Korten.jpeg

G. B. Korten wrote Sagana after she earned a certificate in basic cuisine at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The second of five books she has published, this book is now part of the Le Cordon Bleu’s list of recommended International Culinary Books. A resident of Massachusetts, G. B. Korten is also a travel agent and an artist. She has a nursing degree from the University of the Philippines. 

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