The preferred cut is brisket of beef, a boneless piece of tough meat from the underside of the steer, because of its rich, gelatinous texture when cooked. It is sold in Chinese meat markets as Chinese stew beef. Any tough beef cut can be used, such as boneless chuck and bottom round.
Trim away the outer layers of fat.
Cut the meat into 1½-inch strips.
Cut the strips into cubes.
Brown the meat on all sides in a wok over a high flame in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Set it aside.
In the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, over a high flame, break up the red bean curd with a spatula.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring them to a boil.
Add the beef to the sauce, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the wok, and braise the beef for 2 hours. After 1½ hours, add the roll-cut radish. Cook 30 minutes more, until both beef and radish are tender.
Serve the stew immediately.
May be refrigerated for several days or frozen. Reheating in the sauce improves the flavor.