Ginger Tomato Beef

I remember eating this delightful and refreshing dish during a visit to Malaysia. The ginger plant of tropical South-east Asia, with its yellowish-green flowers and strongly aromatic rhizome, is a basic seasoning throughout Asia. The lively and zesty flavour pairs well with tomatoes, they in turn balancing the robust beef. This dish can be served with pasta or rice.


  • 450 g (1 lb) lean beef steak
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh or tinned tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 225 g (8 oz) onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes

For the Garnish

  • Handful of fresh sprigs of coriander


Cut the beef into thick 5 mm (¼ in) x 5 cm (2-in) slices and put them into a bowl. Add the light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well.

If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel, seed and cut them into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes. If you are using tinned tomatoes, chop them into small chunks.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes to brown. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of oil.

Re-heat the wok, add the onions, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and chilli flakes. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Return the beef to the wok and heat through. Garnish with the coriander and serve at once.