You know how some people like to do the same things over and over again? I used to tease my friends that they should order new dishes when they go out to eat. Try new things, mix it up. But I found out that eventually I’m turning into one of them. I do similar things every week. Life becomes very routine. One of my college buddies used to order Tomato and Beef every time we went out for dinner. We were in a very small town back then where there were only a couple of Chinese restaurants around. Of course, the chef would know right away that it must be some Chinese ordering that dish because no one would order that, it was not even on the menu. We usually made friends with the restaurants staff that way by ordering things that were not on the menu. They knew we were Chinese and would treat us nicer, gave us bigger portion. Tomato and Beef was not a dish that I grew up with. Mom never made that. So I learned how to make this from my college buddy. It was good. But I only like it cooked a certain way. I have never ordered this dish from a restaurant. Well, I don’t usually order any beef dish from any Chinese restaurant. You know, most of them give us cheap cut of meat, and it’s yucky. So for most Chinese beef dishes, I prefer to make it at home.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
Beef, about a pound (use some good cut of meat, I used sirlon tips)
Tomatos, 2 small ones, about 1 pound
- Garlic, 2 cloves
- Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
- Soy Sauce, 1 tsp
- Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
- Ketchup, 2 Tbsp
- Sugar, 1 tsp
- Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp
- Salt, a dash
- White pepper, a dash
- Vinegar, 1 tsp (optional)
- In a big frying pan, spray non-stick cooking oil. You can use regular oil. (I’m just more cautious about the amount of oil I use as I’m on diet)
- Finely chopped the garlic. Put the garlic into the pan.
- Cut tomatos into cubes, put them aside.
- Cut beef against the grain into thin slices. Put them in a bowl. Add a dash of salt, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, a dash of sugar, a tablespoon of cornstarch and a dash of white pepper. Mix it well. Put it aside.
- Use high heat. Let the pan heat up for 1 minute and let the garlic cook a little bit. Then add beef slices to the pan. Keep stiring. Let the beef cook for a couple of minute or until it is about 80 or 90% done. Dish it up. Don’t worry, we’ll put the beef back to the pan later so it is ok that it’s only 80 or 90% cooked.
- Add tomato to the pan. Keep stirring. Let it cook for a few minutes until the tomato starts to break down a little bit. You will see it is getting mashy. Add 2 Tbsp of ketchup and mix it well.
- Optional: If you like it a little bit sour and sweet in taste, add a teaspoon of vinegar. Mix it well.
- Add the beef back to the pan. Mix it well. Add 1 Tbsp of oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix it well. Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed.
Serve it with a bowl of rice.