52 Cookbooks #36: Beef in easy tomato sauce

Well I missed last week of this challenge - we spent some time in Cornwall and although I had a recipe planned I didn't get a chance to cook it - never mind, I'll either try and catch up or I'll just miss a week and not beat myself up over it. After all, I was on holiday...

This week I've turned to Gok Wan and his Gok Cooks Chinese book. It's a book I've used before with success but not for a while. The recipe I chose - beef in easy tomato sauce - played to my store cupboard ingredients, some home-grown tomatoes and some steak that was in the freezer. The only thing I needed to buy was a humble onion, so nothing too exotic there!

52 Cookbooks: the challenge is to cook a new recipe from one of my (many) cookbooks each week for a year...

52 Cookbooks: the challenge is to cook a new recipe from one of my (many) cookbooks each week for a year...

I started by frying the beef until was browned and then swapped it for the onion in the wok. These took on the colour and flavours of the meat and looked like the onions you get in takeaway Chinese, so I was already pleased!

In went the garlic and ginger, closely followed by three of my tomatoes roughly chopped. When the flesh had broken down a bit, in went the chicken stock and it simmered for a few minutes to reduce a little. With that the main sauce ingredients went in a tablespoon of oyster sauce and soy sauce, half a tablespoon of sugar and three tablespoons of tomato ketchup. Yup, that's the easy tomato sauce bit!

It simmered for a couple of minutes before the beef went back in to warm through. It really was that easy. But as we wanted more for dinner, this was then put into the oven so I could wok-fry some vegetables and noodles.

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I'd bought one of those plastic boxes of stir-fry veg from M&S so the larger veg went into the wok ahead of the noodles I'd cooked and stirred some sesame oil through. With those softening, warming and sticking to the bottom of the wok the leafier veg went in along with some of the water from the drained noodles. As it was a fairly large box of veg I'd purposely cooked less noodles than usual so the veg to noodle ratio was high. With a splash of soy sauce, we were done, so with chopsticks at the ready we ate...

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The verdict

  • We both liked this dish and would cook it again
  • I'd definitely use this cookbook again and plan to try some of its other recipes 
  • This dish would be relatively easy to tailor to add veg, perhaps some peppers or some green beans
  • The sauce was good, but I'd add some chilli next time - either freshly sliced or substituting some chilli sauce for some ketchup