Cantonese Inspired Beef & Tomato Stir-Fry

Sam Icklan, Project Bread

School Lunch

School Lunch: Beef Tips

Cantonese Inspired Beef & Tomato Stir-Fry

This is an adaptation of a popular Cantonese recipe that highlights the most iconic of summer vegetables, tomatoes! The trick to this dish is making sure the tomatoes are cooked, but not breaking down. Typically made with flank steak, this version uses ground beef instead, but if you have access to shaved steak, that would work well, too.

The original version calls for Shaoxing cooking wine, an ingredient that is ubiquitous in Chinese cooking, but this recipe uses chicken stock in its place. If you make this dish at home, I highly recommend trying it with Shaoxing cooking wine! Be sure to omit the sesame oil if tree nut allergies are a concern.

cantonese beef and tomato stir fry

Yield: 100 servings, 4 oz. stir-fry, 1 1/3 cups rice


½ cup vegetable oil, divided
18 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup fresh ginger, minced
½ cup fresh garlic, minced
3 cups shallots, sliced
3 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces at an angle
21 lbs fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cups ketchup
4 cups low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup sugar
¼ cup sesame oil (optional)
2 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 ¼ cup prepared chicken stock
¾ cup corn starch
1 ½ cups water
14 lbs dry brown rice
Enough water to cook rice, based on manufacturer’s


  1. Cook rice according to preferred method.
  2. Using the tilt skillet, heat ¼ cup of vegetable oil over high heat. Add beef and sear until cooked, stirring frequently. Drain fat, remove beef and set aside.
  3. Add rest of vegetable oil to skillet. Add ginger, garlic, shallots & white portions of the scallions. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato wedges and spread into an even layer and sear for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Add chicken stock and stir, using the stock to release any brown bits on the skillet.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk sauce ingredients together: ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil (if using) and ground white pepper. Push tomatoes to one side of the skillet, add the sauce. Stir until bubbling. Add beef back to skillet and stir well, be sure not to overcook the tomatoes to keep them from disintegrating into the sauce.
  6. Toss in the green parts of the scallions. Mix together corn starch and water to make a slurry, add half of the slurry to the skillet and stir. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, adding more slurry a little at a time to thicken the sauce to the desired consistency. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes to ensure that the corn starch is fully cooked.
  7. Serve immediately over cooked brown rice, or place in warmer to hold hot for service.

USDA Requirement

2 oz. meat/meat alternative

2 oz. grain equivalent 

½ cup red/orange vegetable

Nutritional Information

Calories 465 calories  Saturated Fat 4.7 g Sodium 483 mg Carbohydrate 59 g

* nutrient data and allergen information may vary depending on the specific ingredients and equipment used in your location.

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