I used to order this dish at China House Restaurant in Saipan, and the combination of flavors grabbed me. Admittedly this is an Americanized version of Chinese broccoli beef, but I like the extra layer of flavor the tomatoes add. Don’t add them too soon or cook them for too long; otherwise, they will turn to mush.
The key to making this dish successfully is to prep everything ahead of time. You’ll feel like you are on a cooking show with all the bowls of measured ingredients beside you, but it will help immensely because once you start stir-frying things move very quickly.
Preparation time depends on how long you want to marinate the beef, which can sit for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Freezing the beef for about 20 minutes prior to cutting will make it much easier to achieve very thin slices. The broccoli benefits from a quick steam or parboil before adding it to the stir-fry. You can do either right in the wok before you add the beef or you can do it in a separate pot.
And a word of caution—don’t wear your best clothes when making this dish. In fact, you should probably wear an apron or old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting messy. The wok is very hot when you add the meat and marinade, and it will definitely splatter.
[Updated November 15, 2009.]
CHINESE BEEF AND BROCCOLI WITH TOMATO
medium to large pot and steamer (optional)
1 pound (~450 g) sirloin steak, well-trimmed and thinly sliced across the grain
1 pound (~450 g) broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large Roma tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup (60 ml) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
1. Place the meat strips into the small bowl. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef, stirring until all of the beef is coated. Put in the refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or as long as 3 hours.
2. In the medium pot, steam or parboil the broccoli florets just until the color changes to a bright green. Drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside.
3. Preheat the wok over high heat, then add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and the broccoli. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from the wok and set aside.
4. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of canola oil and the garlic. Stir for a just 30 seconds, then add the beef slices. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until the meat is just a little short of done. Add the broccoli back to the wok.
5. Pour the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and chicken broth into the wok and stir. Make a well in the middle. Stir together the cornstarch and cold water and pour into the center of the wok, stirring to incorporate. The sauce should start to thicken almost immediately. Lay the tomatoes on top of the stir-fry and turn off the heat, allowing the dish to sit for just a minute or two. Serve with hot rice.