There’s no better celebration of garden bounty than diving into a tomato-beef stir-fry, crafted from your own harvest. Our vibrant tomato plants brim with unmatched flavor, offering an abundance of produce. This savory stir-fry, a testament to Cantonese cuisine, is my preferred dish, particularly when the tomatoes are at their peak. Revered in the lively Chinatown diners, it guarantees a nourishing, tasty meal without the fuss.
In my childhood, our backyard was a haven of greenery, thanks to my mother’s magical touch. It was adorned with ripe tomatoes, snow peas, spinach, bok choy, and more, making every summer day feel like a farmer’s market. Those cherished moments—cultivating the soil, the joy of the first sprout, and eventually, the harvest—were our bonding rituals. One dish that stands out from those days is this tomato-beef stir-fry. The blend of tender beef with tomatoes, swathed in a luscious sauce, was the embodiment of comfort on a plate.
The heart of this dish is the impeccable balance of soy sauce and ketchup, enveloping fresh tomato wedges, delivering a burst of flavors with every bite. It’s a dish that’s reminiscent of my childhood yet stands the test of time in its universal appeal. As gardens across the nation yield ripe tomatoes, many are diving into salads or crafting sauces. But here’s a different proposal: embrace this flavorful stir-fry and let it be your end-of-summer culinary masterpiece.
- 1 pound flank steak (450g, cut into ¼-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1½ teaspoons sugar (adjust as needed)
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Ground white pepper, as per preference
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 2 ginger slices
- 1 garlic clove (minced finely)
- ¼ cup shallots (sliced)
- 1 scallion (sliced into 2-inch segments)
- 4-5 robust tomatoes (segmented)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (blended with 1 tablespoon water)
- Season the beef with cornstarch, oil, and salt. Let it sit for an hour. Meanwhile, mix all saucy blend ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok until it lightly smokes. Distribute the beef uniformly, sear for a minute, aiming for 80% doneness, then set aside.
- Introduce another tablespoon of oil. With a medium flame, add ginger. After 10 seconds, raise the heat and toss in garlic, shallots, and white scallion parts.
- Position the tomato slices in the wok, allowing them to sear for about 15 seconds. Splash in the Shaoxing wine, mixing for an additional 10 seconds.
- Shift ingredients to one side, then pour in the saucy blend on the empty half. Let it bubble and harmonize.
- Bring back the beef, blending everything together for roughly 20 seconds, ensuring tomatoes retain their form.
- Introduce the green scallion parts, and gradually add the cornstarch solution until you achieve the desired sauce consistency. After the final cornstarch addition, let it cook for 15 seconds. Serve immediately, ideally over a generous portion of rice.