Sweet Tomato Beef Recipe

Sweet Tomato Beef Recipe Recipe

Tomato beef is one of those meals I make when I'm in a rush. The beef needs to marinate in rice wine, soy sauce and ginger for a few minutes. Once you're ready to cook, sprinkle on a little tapioca starch and sauté the beef with ketchup-hoisin mixture and fresh tomatoes.

The sweetness and tanginess from the fresh tomatoes and ketchup make the dish absolutely delicious. I added sugar snap peas for crunch and served with steamed jasmine rice. It’s a great weekday meal when you’re pressed for time.


Yields: 4 servings

1 pound flank steak, very cold
3 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
8 ounces sugar snap peas
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-½ tablespoons rice wine
2 teaspoons palm sugar, freshly grated
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
3 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
¼ cup beef stock (or canned chicken broth)
3 tablespoons green onions, cut into 1-½"-pieces
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


How to prep sugar snap peas:

Wash the sugar snap peas. To trim them, snap the ends between your fingers and pull out the fibrous strings on each side of the vegetable.

In a non-stick wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook until fragrant. Add the sugar snap peas and sauté until they turn into a glossy, bright green color. Season with salt. Transfer to a platter. It's okay if the vegetables are not fully cooked, as they will finish cooking later.

Freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh Microplane. Gather about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger root.

Prepping the beef:

Make sure the beef is very cold so it's easier to slice the meat. Thinly slice the flank steak into 2-inch pieces using a sharp Chef's knife. Make sure to cut the meat perpendicular to the grain so the slices remain tender.

In a bowl, combine the beef, palm sugar, rice wine, cayenne pepper, soy sauce and grated ginger. Drizzle with a little oil. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Assembly time:

In a large bowl, combine wine, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, pepper and oil. Add the meat strips and toss to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Pat the meat dry using paper towels. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch using a fine mesh strainer and coat all sides of the beef pieces. Shake off the excess tapioca starch.

In the same wok, add more oil if necessary. Once the oil is hot, add the green onions. Cook until they're wilted. Add the meat and pan-sear each side of the pieces until the meat changes color. Season with salt. Quickly transfer the beef to a platter.

In a small bowl, combine the beef stock,  remaining tapioca starch, ketchup and hoisin sauce. Set aside.

Place wok over high heat, add the tomatoes and the ketchup-beef broth mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until it thickens slightly. Add the beef mixture, sugar snap peas and cilantro. Mix well. Drizzle with sesame oil.

Bon appétit!


Dredging the meat in tapioca starch keeps in the moisture and makes a golden outer crust. Once you add the tapioca, sauté the beef immediately. If you wait too long, the moisture from the meat will make the coating glue-y and soggy. If you don't have tapioca starch, you could use corn starch instead.

You could remove the skin from the tomatoes (I didn't). This step is optional but if you find tomato skin unpleasant to chew, here's a neat method for peeling tomatoes. Make a small, shallow criss-cross cut at the bottom of the fresh tomatoes using a bread knife (I use a bread knife because the blade won't bruise the fruit). Fill a small saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the water and wait for at least 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes quickly (I use a large strainer or a slotted spoon), then transfer to an ice cold bath to stop the cooking process. The skin will come right off. Coarsely chop the flesh. Set aside.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on November 4, 2010.


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