Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stir-fried Beef N Heirloom Tomatoes

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Organic heirloom tomatoes
(This pic looks like it's taken with a dslr, doesn't it? The wonders of good lighting. From now on I will have to carry all my dishes into the garden.)

I don't know if these heirloom tomatoes are readily available in other parts of Malaysia, or the world, but these were the only tomatoes we had when growing up (I've been saying that quite a lot recently. It's called aging.) I used to eat these tomatoes with salt as a dip. We did get what was considered 'western' tomatoes (there's one in the pic above), the round red ones that are sweet, but the sour heirloom ones were more common. Now it's the other way around, and it's rare to get heirloom tomatoes, especially the really small ones with cracks near the stalk. Heirloom tomatoes can be found at weekend tamus (farmers' markets) and are usually home-grown and small. These ones were very big so I think they could be a new variety. I like heirloom tomatoes for the sweet-sour taste plus the intense flavor compared to round tomatoes which often lack flavor because they are picked while still green whereas home-grown heirloom tomatoes are usually vine-ripened.

I love tomatoes. I read that tomatoes, like mushrooms, are high in glutamic acid, from which you get msg, thus the savory-sweetness. Tomatoes are also high in beta-carotene (the pigment that makes them red and gives Vitamin A), a good anti-oxidant. So the Italians got it right when they came up with a cuisine heavily based on tomatoes.

This is the usual way my mom cooked sour tomatoes, other than use them in a soup with onions, carrots and potatoes. I loved coming home from school and seeing this dish on the table (in those days school's off by noon and we go home for lunch). The sweet-sour tomato sauce and the tender beef just goes so well with plain rice. This is one of those simple but absolutely delicious dishes only found at home or those quick-fry coffee shops.

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(I bought a cheap macro zoom lens with a ring adaptor for RM50 last Sat, and it looks like "You pay a cent you get a cent's worth". The 1st pic above, one of my best pics in terms of color and sharpness, was taken without the cheap lens.)

Stir-fry Beef N Heirloom Tomatoes
300g sirloin beef, cut into thin slices of 3 x 5 cm
2 t cornflour
1/2 T dark soy sauce
1 T water
1/2 t salt, shake of black pepper
--mix above and leave 1/2 an hour

400g heirloom tomatoes, in small wedges
1/2 t salt
1 t fine sugar
a handful of spring onions or chinese celery, in 2 cm lengths

Mix to make a seasoning sauce:
1 T oyster sauce
2 t cornflour + 4 T water, mix well

5 T oil for frying

1. Heat up a wok, add 5 T oil and when it smokes, add the beef and spread it on the wok in a single layer. When the edges start to cook, turn beef over with a frying ladle, let beef cook a couple of seconds and stir quickly. This is the right way to cook beef so that it remains tender, according to my friend Su who learnt it from her fatherstir. Now stir fry quickly--the beef would be about 80% cooked- turn heat off, scoop beef out, straining off the oil so that oil remains in the wok.

2. Heat wok up and fry the tomatoes under high heat. Add the 1/2 t salt and sugar. When tomatoes are 1/2 wilted (or if you prefer, 1/4), add the beef and spring onions/celery leaves, stir, add the seasoning sauce (adjust seasoning) and when sauce thickens and is heated through, dish it onto a serving plate. Serve with plain rice.

6 comments:

ekeng said...

The first pic really look beautiful..but the 2nd pic..i agree that "You pay a cent you get a cent's worth"

Anyway, i love beef with tomatoes..always order this for dinner :)

Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

Brownish-pink ?

Anways, I just ring my aunty ask her buy me some beef! HAHAHAHAHA =p
so I can try this! ( Pls dont feel pressure..do u feel pressure when ppl say want to try out ur recipe? I do sometimes u know! bcuz everyone's tongue R not the same! but I guess this Dish is 200% Delicious~

p/s I still love ur food blog. Election posts, etc I still can bare with it, EYE-BALL's?! I sKIPPED that!! too scary! hahahhah

triShie said...

so love ur tomato shot!!

Precious Pea said...

Never seen Heirloom Tomatoes before. Never seen this dish before too. The first pic indeed very very professionally taken..hehehe...ok, from now on i expect more dishes shot in garden.

Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

eh EKENG! I Dont agree with u on the 2nd pic
that's not a problem with the LENz=p
"cooked" tomato alwys turned out mash, off colour! so can't compare wih the 1st pic =p
I love BOTH PICS =p I THINK I LOVE thE 2nd ONE =p cuz it's COOKED & ready to eat

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ekeng: agree with u :0

denise: yea, the tomatoes give a good sauce when they are soft but i shd've dished them out earlier for the pics.

trishie: merci!

preciousp: tt's what i suspect..all you modern folks. hm, problem with me is not getting up early. i find tt morning sun gives the best lighting.

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