Restaurant style Cantonese beef and tomato stir fry is so easy to make at home and tastes better than takeout. This delicious Chinese recipe is healthy and quick to make. Plus the sauce is delicious over rice or make it even more healthy and serve with stir fried veggies.
This is one of my Dad’s favorite takeaway dishes so making it at home and gluten free is a big plus in our house!
I know a lot of people have said to me that they just can’t recreate takeout food at home. That the meat ends up tough and the sauce is always missing the special something. Well today I am going to give you a FOOLPROOF way to have super tender beef at home.
Plus we will take about getting that authentic takeout flavor!
How to Tenderize Beef Strips for Stir Fry
Have you ever bought the packets of beef strips for stir fry only to have your beef end up tough?
It is because those packets don’t use the expensive cuts of beef. It makes sense they won’t sell beef fillet for the price of chuck.
BUT there is a quick and cheap solution that will give you tender beef strips!
The answer is baking soda! (Also called Bicarb, Bicarbonate of Soda and Sodium Bicarbonate) it will break down the fibres in the meat and leave it so tender. SERIOUSLY WE ARE TALKING THE MOST TENDER BEEF STRIPS YOU HAVE EVER EATEN!
How to tenderise beef with baking soda
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.
So which cut should I buy for beef stir fry?
Using the baking soda trick you don’t need to lay out for beef fillet, you can use the more economical cuts and still have melt in the mouth tender beef.
I suggest using:
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
- Stir Fry Strips
- Rump Steak Strips
- Round Steak
How to cut beef for stir fry
If you have bought a whole steak then how you cut the meat can have a big impact on how tender it is!
I KNOW CRAZY RIGHT!
The trick to super tender beef is to find the way the grain of the meat runs and then cut across the grain. This allows the meat to just fall apart in your mouth.
If you cut with the grain you will end up with tougher strips of beef.
Have a look at the picture below for an easy visual, in the first picture you can see the lines running along the meat. This is the grain of the meat. And you want to cut across this as shown in the second photo.
How to make your stir fry taste like a takeout
The key to getting that great takeout style flavor is to use the right ingredients.
In some dishes like my Beef and Broccoli that includes a couple of different easily available sauces. But this Takeout Style Cantonese Beef and Tomato really only uses one ingredient that might not usually be in your pantry.
That is Chinese Rice Wine, also known as Chinese Cooking Wine or Chinese Shaoxing Wine.
You can buy it in the grocery store, it will be in the Asian section. BUT if you really can’t find it then dry sherry is a great substitute. Don’t confused Chinese Rice Wine with rice wine vinegar…. your stir fry will be gross if that happens!
Which tomatoes should I use?
The recipe specifies fresh tomatoes unfortunately canned tomatoes don’t work here.
You can use any fresh tomato, but I recommend either standard tomatoes or roma tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes tend to be on the large size and don’t soften fully, whilst cherry tomatoes area little small and turn easily to mush.
What to serve with beef and tomatoes stir fry
Serve this delicious Takeout Style Cantonese Beef and Tomato with rice for a takeout style dinner.
Or for those cutting back on the carbs it is equally delicious with cauliflower rice.
Alternatively add a bowl of noddles on the side!
Find out why a frying pan is the perfect pan for cooking your stir fry in.
All the information can be found here.
Tips for making Cantonese Beef and Tomato Stir Fry
- Prepare the beef correctly by cutting across the grain and then marinating in baking soda (see above for detailed pictures)
- 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.
More delicious Takeout inspired meals
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Takeout Style Cantonese Beef and Tomato Stir Fry
For the Stir Fry
- 1 lb beef – steaks or stir fry strips (see Note 1)
- 2 tsp baking soda (see Note 2)
- 1 onion – yellow/brown/white
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lb fresh tomatoes (See Note 3)
- 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Sauce:
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (See Note 4)
To Tenderise the Beef
- If using beef steaks, slice beef the beef across the grain, into 1/4″ / 0.5cm thick strips (see bulk of post for detailed pictures).
- 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. (See note 5)
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.
- You can either use a packet of beef stir fry strips or choose a beef steak. Any of the following will work:
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
- Stir Fry Strips
- Rump Steak
- Round Steak
- Baking soda is also called Bicarb, Bicarbonate of Soda and Sodium Bicarbonate, it will break down the fibres in the meat and leave it so tender.
- You can use any fresh tomato, but I recommend either standard tomatoes, plum tomatoes or roma tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes tend to be on the large size and don’t soften fully, whilst cherry tomatoes area little small and turn easily to mush.
- Chinese Rice Wine, also known as Chinese Cooking Wine or Chinese Shaoxing Wine. You can buy it in the grocery store, it will be in the Asian section. If you can’t find it then dry sherry is a great substitute. Don’t confused Chinese Rice Wine with rice wine vinegar…. your stir fry will be gross if that happens!
- Ensure you dry the beef really well so it stir fries rather that sweats when you cook it.
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