‘Mein’ is Cantonese for ‘noodles’, an everyday food eaten in southern China. However, in America it has been transformed into a typical Westernized Chinese combination. In China itself beef is rarely eaten, and tomatoes were not a staple in Chinese cuisine until one hundred years ago. In the West both foods are widely popular, and Cantonese restaurants, always alert to what the customers want, happily obliged by haphazardly mixing together much bigger portions than any Chinese person would expect. The dish became a standard on the menu of every Chinese-American restaurant. Beef, tomatoes and noodles are a wonderful combination, but they must be cooked properly to bring out their virtues. Frequently, the restaurant versions are greasy and overcooked. I offer here a recipe that captures the best qualities of these enduringly popular and nutritious foods.
Cut the steak in half lengthways, then cut into thin slices 5 cm (
Heat a wok or deep pan until it is very hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and smoking, toss in the beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain off all but
Reheat the wok, toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the chicken stock,
Transfer the contents of the wok to a large platter and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.