Beef with Tomatoes
Blanching tomatoes makes the skin easy to peel off. Serve this dish with Sweet-and Sour Celery (page 252) for an interesting combination of flavors.
1 pound beef steak, round or flank
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 large tomatoes
3–4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
3 slices ginger, minced
½ cup beef broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Cut the beef across the grain into slices that are approximately 1½ –2 inches long. Add the dark soy sauce, salt, pepper, cornstarch, and baking soda to the beef. Marinate the beef for 20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes. Peel off the skin and cut each into 6 equal pieces. (Be sure to remove the tomatoes from the boiling water before they soften.)
Add 2 tablespoons oil to a preheated wok or skillet. Add the beef. Fry until it changes color and it is nearly cooked through, turning it over once. Fry in batches if necessary. Remove the beef from the wok.
Wipe the wok if necessary and add 1–2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry briefly, making sure they don't soften too much.
Add the beef broth, oyster sauce, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixed with water to the middle of the wok, stirring to thicken. Add the beef back into the wok. Cover and simmer until everything is cooked through. Drizzle with the sesame oil.
Baking Soda — The Secret Tenderizer
A general rule of thumb is to use ½ teaspoon of baking soda per pound of meat. When cooking with a very tough cut of meat, add the baking soda alone first. Use your fingers to rub it over the meat. Wait 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly to remove any baking soda flavor before adding the other marinade ingredients.