Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tomato Beef

Tomato beef (also called fragrant beef at my local Chinese restaurant) is a popular Chinese dish although I think it’s more popular among Americans for its sweet and tangy sour flavors.  Although I’m no expert in Chinese cooking, allegedly Chinese people are rarely into sour flavors as they associate this taste as “old”.  Well, I’m pretty American when it comes to Chinese food (sounds weird?) and love sourness with sweet flavors.
Tonight I was really craving for some good tomato beef but in this small town where I go to law school, I didn’t have access to a Chinese restaurant serving tomato beef.  I didn’t feel like eating orange chicken again so here I am going after what I want in my own kitchen.  I was crossing my fingers that this would turn out well and it did.  It’s not that difficult to make although there are just a few extra steps to a regular stir fry dish.
Ingredients: beef (flank steak, loins, or ribs), 2 tbsp sake, 1 tbsp soy sauce, black pepper, 2 tbsp corn starch, 1 tbsp red pepper oil (or chili oil), 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp sesame oil, 3 tsp brown sugar, (minced garlic optional to your sauce), veges (onions, mushrooms, zucchini or green bell peppers)
1. First, cut your beef and marinate them with sake, soy sauce, black pepper, and corn starch. Let the meat marinate in your refrigerator for an hour.

2. Then prepare the tomato sauce.
First pour sake on your sauce pan. If you wanted to use minced garlic to this dish (which I recommend), now is the time to add.

Also add table spoon of chili oil. This is one of the key ingredients to flavor the sauce.

Of course, some brown sugar.

And ketchup!

Little bit of soy sauce to your sauce.
Add the dissolved corn starch in cold water. (Just use little bit of water because you don't want to flood your sauce with water!)

Mix around the sauce and add just a tiny tea spoon of sesame oil for a final touch. It will flavor up your dish at the end.  Do not add too much because you don’t want this to overpower.

This is when it's done.

3. Now, let’s heat up the marinated beef in high heat. First heat up your wok for a few minutes and then add oil your pan.  Without heating the pan up first, meat will stick to your wok. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

4. It will probably be a good idea to prepare the vegetables before this hectic process of cooking. I just added this picture to show that you will need this but cut them and have them ready so you can throw them in in those shapes.

5. Add the veges to your wok.

6. Add the sauce to it and mix around.

7. Final touch of some sesame seeds and green onions.

It's all done!

Enjoy your tomato beef!

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