Cantonese Beef and Tomato

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How to tenderise beef with baking soda

Always cut beef across the grain.

Sprinkle just a small amount of baking soda over the beef and then stir to coat.
Then let the meat sit for 15 minutes before washing really well to remove the baking soda.
The meat will change color and will be so tender!
Pat it dry before you fry it to ensure it gets nice and crisp and doesn’t sweat as you cook it.

This will work for the packets of stir fry beef or for any cut of beef you want to buy.

Tips for making Cantonese Beef and Tomato Stir Fry

  • Prepare the beef correctly by cutting across the grain and then marinating in baking soda.
  • Prepare your onion, garlic and tomato before you start cooking.
  • Chinese stir frying is quick cooking so you need everything prepped and ready.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together before you start cooking, but ensure you whisk it well before you add it to the pan.
  • Don’t let the beef or tomatoes cook for too long, you want everything to be crisp and just cooked.
  • For the best heat use a flat bottom skillet/fry pan (see above for why)
  • For a truely authentic flavor grab a bottle of in Chinese rice wine also known as Chinese Cooking Wine or Chinese Shaoxing Wine. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store or online. It will make ALL the difference.


For the Stir Fry

  • 450 g beef – steaks or stir fry strips
  • 2 tsp baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 onion – yellow/brown/white
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 450 g fresh tomatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Can include ( add when stir frying ):
    • Bean shoots, bamboo , water chestnuts

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine


To Tenderise the Beef

  • If using beef steaks, slice beef the beef across the grain, into 1/4″ / 0.5cm thick strips.
  • Place the beef strips in a non-metallic bowl and sprinkle with baking soda and gently mix so all the beef is fully coated.
  • Set the beef aside for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the beef extremely well and then pat it dry with kitchen paper. Ensure you dry the beef really well so it stir fries rather that sweats when you cook it.

Prepare the vegetables.

  • Peel the onion and cut into thick wedges.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic.
  • Cut each tomato into 6 wedges.

Prepare the sauce:

  • Mix the corn starch, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese rice wine together in a small measuring cup. Set aside.

To cook the stir fry

  • Place a heavy based fry pan or wok over high heat.
  • Once hot add the 1 tablespoon of oil to it and swirl gently.
  • Add the beef and cook quickly for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the beef from the pan and set to one side.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan and stir fry the onion until just starting to color. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Give the sauce a stir and then add it to the pan along with the cooked beef.
  • Stir well and cook for a further minute until the sauce thickens.

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