Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cantonese-Style Curry Beef with Tomatoes (Ga Lei Fan Chie Niu Row)

Recently, I've been on a vintage (i.e., used) cookbook buying spree on Amazon, particularly of Chinese cookbooks from circa the 1970s. I adapted this recipe for Cantonese-style curry beef with tomatoes from one of those cookbooks, Chinese Village Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Cantonese Country Cooking by Rhoda Yee, published in 1975. Gil told me that when he was a kid in Singapore this was a common dish, sometimes even served with scrambled eggs or noodles. This saucy version is fantabulous served with steamed white rice. 


2 lbs. flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Beef Marinade:
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine
2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
3 tbsp. water

5 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. kosher salt
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 tbsp. brown sugar
6 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. chopped scallion
1-2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1. Tenderize the beef as follows (my method): Mix 1 tsp. baking soda with the sliced flank steak in a bowl and let marinate 15-20 minutes. Pour enough cool water to cover the meat and add 1 tbsp. lemon juice; let sit for 1-2 minutes. Pour the beef into a colander and rinse well under cool tap water. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Add the beef marinade ingredients to the beef, mix well to combine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before using.

3. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil to a wok or large saute pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeños and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add 3 tbsp. water and cook until the water has evaporated.

4. Add another 2 tbsp. oil to the pan and stir in the curry powder; stir for a few seconds then add the beef and kosher salt. Saute for an additional minute or until the beef is partially cooked through.

5. Add the tomatoes and toss for several seconds. Add the sugar, ketchup, and oyster sauce; bring to a boil until the sauce has started to thicken. Stir in the scallions and cilantro. 

6. Remove from heat and plate. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve with steamed white rice on the side.

Flank steak.

Cut the flank steak into thin slice across the grain.

Mix in 1 tsp. of baking soda and let sit 15-20 minutes.

Cover the meat with cool water and add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice; let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Rinse the beef thoroughly.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels.

Add the marinade ingredients to the beef and mix well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before using.

Oyster sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and curry powder.

Diced onion, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and jalapeños.

Saute the onion, garlic and jalapeños in 2 tbsp. of oil for about 1 minute; add 3 tbsp. water and cook until evaporated.

Add another 2 tbsp. of oil to the pan and stir in the curry powder, toss for a few seconds.

Add the beef and kosher salt.

Add the tomato wedges and saute for a few seconds. 

Add the brown sugar, ketchup, and oyster sauce; bring to a boil until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the scallions and cilantro and remove from heat.

Plate and garnish with cilantro. Serve with steamed white rice on the side.

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