How to cook: Beef salpicao

How to cook: Beef salpicao

Despite the foreign sounding name, it appears that beef salpicao is a Filipino dish. Is it related to the Portuguese sausage called salpicão? Well, the Filipino beef salpicao is definitely not a sausage but, rather, a garlicky stir fried dish.

It was a challenge finding the history of this dish, I still don’t know where in the Philippines it first appeared but I did discover two things which may help explain the “salpicao” part of its name. First, salpicado is a Spanish word which means “spattered with” (thank you, Clair). Considering that the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over four centuries, “salpicao” just might be a derivative of salpicado. Second, farther search led me to references to salpicao as a Brazilian word. I found a Brazilian-English translator which says that salpicao means “dotty” in English.

I figure that “spattered with” and “dotty” might just refer to the gazillion bits of garlic in beef salpicao. Maybe. Perhaps. Arguable. Debatable. What isn’t in doubt is how delicious beef salpicao is. Tender and juicy beef cubes that are salty and subtly sweet and boldly smelling and tasting of garlic. The way the meat tastes and smells, you’d think it has been flavored by a hundred spices. But beef salpicao has very few ingredients! The simplicity in the preparation and the startling deep flavors… it’s just the perfect main dish for a party. You can even serve it as a cocktail food! Place in a platter, hand out small forks and voila!


  • 700 to 800 g. of beef tenderloin, cut into one-inch cubes
    3 tbsps. of finely minced garlic
    1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
    3 tbsps. of olive oil
    4 to 5 tbsps. of Worcestershire sauce
    4 to 5 tbsps. of liquid seasoning (I used Knorr — I do not recommend substituting soy sauce)
    about 1/4 c. of flour
    3 tbsps. of butter combined with about 6 tbsps. of olive oil
    about 1-1/2 c. of sliced mushrooms

    To garnish:

    2 to 3 tbsps. of toasted garlic bits
    2 to 3 tbsps. of finely sliced onion leaves


  1. Place the beef cubes in a bowl. Add the minced garlic, pepper and 3 tbsps. of olive oil. Mix well. Cover and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours.

    Heat the butter and olive oil in a wide shallow pan — wide enough to contain the beef cubes in a single layer. The heat should be very high.

    Place the beef in a plastic freezer bag. Add the flour. Shake to coat each piece of meat with flour. It is the flour that will thicken the sauce later and make it stick well to the beef.

    When the olive oil and butter are hot, add the floured beef, spreading the pieces so that every piece touches the oil. Do not stir for a minute or so to allow the underside to brown. Keep the heat very high. Stir and cook for a few minutes, with occasional stirring, until the beef changes color and a light crust forms.

    Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and liquid seasoning. Stir briskly; the sauce should thicken quite fast. Add the mushrooms, cook just until heated, stirring occasionally.

    The actual cooking should take no more than five minutes. If you overcook the beef, the meat will turn tough and dry.

    Transfer the beef salpicao to a serving platter, sprinkle with toasted garlic bits and finely sliced onion leaves. Serve hot with rice.

Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes, excluding marinating time

Number of servings (yield): 5 to 6

Meal type: lunch / supper

  • Sherry

    It looks delicious. Reminds me of a Korean dish I’ve had recently. My hubby hates too much garlic, but he still might like this. Thanks!

  • jazzie

    Hi connie! is there an alternative to beef tenderloin? how about sirloin? thanks,

    • Connie

      Haven’t tried other cuts so I can’t say if they will work too.

  • charms

    what kind of flour did you use?

    • Connie

      All purpose flour. :)

      • charms

        thanks.. :)

  • cathy

    thanks looks delicious and easy to do, addition to my kids lunch in school.

    • Jannette

      Naku Ms. Connie, i’ve been looking for this recipe. I will definetly try this one. I’m your avid fan kahit na ng nandiyan pa ako sa pinas. Thanks!

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        • zel

          hi Ms.Connie! am thinking to do this with pork kasim, in a big batch of around 4 kilos. is there anything i should be careful about in cooking this using pork and in such big quantity. thanks very much!

          • Connie

            Just cook in batches. Should be fine. :)

          • zel

            thanks for the reply:-) just needed the confirmation that the same speed with beef tenderloin cooking can be applied to the kasim:-)
            wish me luck:D thank you very much!

          • Connie

            Oh, if that’s what you meant, I suggest you use pork tenderloin.

          • zel

            great!good that i was able to check into your post before going to the market today:D i’ll also be doing your lengua recipe:D thank you very much:D

          • Renee

            Hi Connie, thanks for the recipe..I have so wanted to get a recipe ever since I first tasted it in a resto…but I want it a little bit spicy–is this recipe spicy or do i need to add chilies? i guess ur wondering why i want it spicy, am a bikolana and used to having almost every viand spicy, lol. will try this out this weekend..also, is it okay if i share it in my blog and a link to ur site?
            thanks again…

          • Connie

            Very finely chopped chilies will do it. :)

          • Renee

            Thanks a bunch…will let you know how it goes. I sure hope it turns out as delicious as how your beef salpicao looks!

          • Connie

            You can do it! :)

          • Raisinette

            Used beef sirloin since that’s what I had on hand. I think I used too much flour though coz the worcestershire & seasoning combined weren’t enough to give the sauce that nice consistency you had in your pic so I added water till I had the consistency I wanted. Turned out fine. The flavor was great. Thank you so much for the recipe.

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          • Belle

            Hi miss connie. I’m thinking of using tuna (fresh, not canned). Do i still need to coat it with flour? Thank you.

          • Connie Veneracion

            I can’t answer that because I’ve never tried using tuna.

          • Belle

            Hi miss connie. Another question, hope you dont mind. I’ve seen recipes that omit worcestershire and use oyster sauce instead. What do you think of that substitution? Thank you!

          • Connie Veneracion

            I’ve never tried that so I can cannot pass judgment. :)

          • Belle

            Thanks miss connie. I appreciate your candor. That’s why i like to read your blog. No pretensions! :-)

  • Marky Marin


    Can i add a little salt with the garlic and the pepper before i marinate the beef. Thank you.

    • Connie Veneracion

      You can do whatever your taste buds prefer. :)

  • Sherleen Chan

    can i marinate the beef overnight? or will it become too salty?

    • Connie Veneracion

      “Too salty” doesn’t have anything to do with the length of time of marinating. That happens when you add excessive salty ingredients.

  • Clair

    I have a question: Why not use soy sauce? What is the difference?

  • Joy

    Great recipe. I only had this a hand full of times in my life.

  • Connie

    You’ll lose the subtle sweetness of liquid seasoning.

  • Christina

    I’m looking forward to making this tomorrow! For the mushrooms, did you use fresh or the kinds in a jar/can? Really excited about the recipe, it sounds wonderful – we love garlic!

  • Connie

    I used canned but I really recommend fresh button mushrooms if you can get them.

  • peterb

    I have yet to get this right. It always turns our too tough for me. It’s either i cook it too long or the cuts i bought weren’t good. That’s why I always use chicken. Will definitely try again though. :)