Tomato & Beef Pan-fried Noodles (HK Style)(番茄牛肉煎麵)

Savory, tangy, crispy and hearty, Chinatown favorite will win your heart too!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

This is a big favorite in Chinatowns and Chinese American communities! We love the tender beef, the tangy tomatoes, and the crispy crunchy pan-fried noodles. This is a sure crowd-pleaser, and we know you'll love it too!

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh chow mein noodles
  • 10 oz beef (

    New York steak or other tender cut

    )
  • 10 oz tomato
  • 2 oz red onion
  • 3 slice ginger
  • 6 tbsp corn oil (

    or any neutral cooking oil

    )

Beef Marinade

  • 0.50 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp corn oil (

    or any neutral cooking oil

    )

Sauce & Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

Slurry

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp water

Crispy and crunchy

Because we don't have the equipment to deep-fry the noodles (nor can we bear to pour such large amounts of oil to do so), we'll pan-fry with a generous amount of oil, and rely on some patience!

Let time and heat work to crisp up those chow mein noodles and get both sides crunchy. Be true to that name, 兩面黃 (loeng5 min6 wong4), golden on both sides.

Give it a boost

If you remember our Tomato and Eggs recipe, you'll see some familiar ingredients. Ginger, sugar, and ketchup are our forever friends whenever we cook with tomatoes!

Daddy Lau uses ginger basically every time he makes something with tomatoes. The ginger's warmth complements the tartness of the tomatoes.

Sugar is another ingredient that we often pair with tomatoes. The sweetness helps tone down the tartness, so if you have an especially sour tomato, try upping the sugar a bit.

Ketchup may be a funny thing to see in a Chinese recipe. It doesn't even get a spot in those condiment caddies on the table at Chinese restaurants! As a cooking ingredient, though, its acidity is great for brightening up the flavors of your food, and since it's tomato-based, it also amps up the tomato flavor for this dish.

First, cut the beef (10 oz) into thin slices. Make sure to cut perpendicular to the grain of the meat to ensure tender bites!

Mix together the beef marinade in a separate bowl, combining baking soda (0.50 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and water (2 tbsp). Add the beef and mix everything well to really push the flavor and the tenderizing ingredients into the beef. After a really good mix, you should see that the beef will have absorbed all of the liquid of the marinade.

Cut the tomatoes (10 oz) into halves, then cut away and discard the stems and hard parts. Slice the halves into wedges, then large chunks. To help preserve the shape when they go into the stir-fry, try to angle the chunks so that the core and sides stay intact.

Thinly slice the ginger (3 slice), then stack the slices and chop into thin strips. We always include ginger when we cook tomatoes!

Cut the red onion (2 oz) into thin strips. We're not using a lot, as we want it mainly for its color.

With raw, fresh chow mein noodles, we need to first steam them. Prepare your steaming set-up, whether that's a dedicated steamer pot or a wok and a steaming rack.

Add water to the steamer or wok. Use boiling water to save time. Make sure the water level is below where the noodles will sit, so the water doesn't actually touch any noodles.

Set the heat to high, and set your noodles (12 oz) into a steamer basket or on a plate. If you use a steamer basket with a perforated bottom, it'll take about 10 minutes to steam the noodles. If you're using a plate, add 2-3 minutes of additional steaming time.

When they're done, remove the cooked noodles from the steamer or wok and pour the water out.

If you used the wok for steaming your noodles in the previous step, give it a careful wipe to dry it down.

Heat the wok on high heat. When the wok is hot, add oil (2 tbsp) and give it a quick swirl to spread the oil around. Lower the heat to either medium to low, the add your steamed noodles. Use chopsticks to loosen the noodles up and spread them out, but don't overly mix or stir them; you want them to pan-fry beautifully on this side.

After a minute, add more oil (1 tbsp) along the edge of the wok to further fry the noodles and help them get even crispier. Give the noodles some gentle nudges to help spread the oil evenly.

After 30 seconds, check the bottom for color. It should be a lovely golden brown color. Flip the noodles to the other side so that it can be crispy on both sides.

After flipping, add more oil (1 tbsp) around the edges, then raise the heat back up. You can continue to loosen the noodles up with chopsticks. Pan-fry this second side for 2-3 more minutes, and they're done.

Plate your double-sidedly crispy noodles on your serving dish, where they will await your tomato and beef sauce!

Give your wok a quick clean; you'll use it again for cooking the sauce.

First, add oil (1 tsp) to the beef. This will help loosen up the beef, preventing large clumps that would be difficult to cook well, and also seal in the juices and flavors.

Turn the heat to high and add oil (2 tbsp) to the wok, and give it a quick swirl to spread it out. Add the beef to the wok and spread it around to help each piece cook evenly. After 20-30 seconds, lower the heat to prevent overcooking. Tough beef is a result of overcooking!

After 30 seconds of cooking on low, take the beef out of the wok and set aside. It only needs to be 60-70% cooked through, since it'll come back onto the heat to cook in the sauce later.

Keep using the residual oil left in the wok that's left after removing the beef; that will be plenty to stir-fry and cook the rest of the dish.

Keep the heat on low and add the ginger and the onion. You can raise the heat to medium if it doesn't seem hot enough. Stir-fry the ginger and onion until fragrant, or about 15-20 seconds.

Add the tomato wedges, then stir-fry for 20-30 seconds.

Add ketchup (2 tbsp) and mix it in. Then, add water (3 cup). This may seem like a lot of water, but remember, this amount of sauce has to go with that large plate of crispy noodles! Turn the heat to high, then season the sauce.

Add sugar (2 tbsp) and salt (1 tsp), then taste and adjust it to your liking if necessary.

Once you're happy with the flavor, add the beef back in and turn the heat to low. Season with oyster sauce (1 tbsp).

Then, mix up a slurry with water (4 tbsp) and cornstarch (2 tbsp). As always, pour it in slowly while constantly stirring, and stop when you're happy with how thick the sauce is. You may not need to use all the slurry. The sauce is done! Turn the heat off.

Ladle the tomato and beef sauce right over your dish of crispy pan-fried noodles. Serve and eat immediately for maximum crunch. Enjoy!

FAQ

How do you cook tender slices of beef?

  • There are a few things you can do to keep your beef succulent and tender!
  • First, you can buy a cut of beef that's naturally tender, like New York steak.
  • Second, when you slice it, make sure you're slicing perpendicular to the grain. It's much tougher to chew those long fibers that run along the muscle, so your slices should be cutting those short.
  • Third, use a tenderizing ingredient in your marinade. We use baking soda in our recipe, but you can also check out other tenderizers as well.
  • Fourth, don't overcook the beef! In fact, you'll want to initially undercook the beef in this recipe, because the beef goes into the wok in two different steps, and it'll cook more when you add it back into the sauce.

How do you keep the tomato noodle sauce from tasting raw?

  • Ginger, sugar, and ketchup are our forever friends whenever we cook with tomatoes! These ingredients amp up the tomato flavor while adding depth to the sauce. They'll also counteract any raw, astringent flavor from your delicious, fresh tomatoes.

How do you keep crispy noodles from getting soggy?

  • As soon as any gravy or sauce hits crispy noodles, those noodles will start soaking up the moisture and softening up. To enjoy crispy noodles at their maximum crunch, there are two things you need to do.
  • First, wait to pour that sauce over until right before you serve. You'll notice that if you order crispy noodles for take-out, they (should) package the sauce and the noodles separately, so you can pour them when you're ready to eat.
  • Second, once you pour the sauce and serve the noodles, eat it right away! This is not a noodle dish that you sauce up and then take your time slowly setting the rest of the table. Hurry and eat it!

Summary

Tomato & Beef Pan-fried Noodles (HK Style)(番茄牛肉煎麵)
Savory, tangy, crispy and hearty, Chinatown favorite will win your heart too!
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh chow mein noodles
  • 10 oz beef (

    New York steak or other tender cut

    )
  • 10 oz tomato
  • 2 oz red onion
  • 3 slice ginger
  • 6 tbsp corn oil (

    or any neutral cooking oil

    )

Beef Marinade

  • 0.50 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp corn oil (

    or any neutral cooking oil

    )

Sauce & Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

Slurry

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp water

Step 1 - Prepare beef

↑ Jump to details

First, cut the beef (10 oz) into thin slices. Make sure to cut perpendicular to the grain of the meat to ensure tender bites!

Mix together the beef marinade in a separate bowl, combining baking soda (0.50 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and water (2 tbsp). Add the beef and mix everything well.

Step 2 - Cut vegetables

↑ Jump to details

Cut the tomatoes (10 oz) into halves, then cut away and discard the stems and hard parts. Slice the halves into wedges, then large chunks.

Thinly slice the ginger (3 slice), then stack the slices and chop into thin strips.

Cut the red onion (2 oz) into thin strips.

Step 3 - Steam noodles

↑ Jump to details

Add water to your steamer or wok. Use boiling water to save time. Make sure the water level is below where the noodles will sit, so the water doesn't actually touch any noodles.

Set the heat to high, and set your noodles (12 oz) into a steamer basket or on a plate. If you use a steamer basket with a perforated bottom, it'll take about 10 minutes to steam the noodles. If you're using a plate, add 2-3 minutes of additional steaming time.

When they're done, remove the cooked noodles from the steamer or wok and pour the water out.

Step 4 - Pan-fry noodles

↑ Jump to details

Heat the wok on high heat. When the wok is hot, add oil (2 tbsp) and give it a quick swirl to spread the oil around. Lower the heat to either medium to low, the add your steamed noodles. Use chopsticks to loosen the noodles up and spread them out.

After a minute, add more oil (1 tbsp) along the edge of the wok. Give the noodles some gentle nudges to help spread the oil evenly.

After 30 seconds, check the bottom for color. It should be a lovely golden brown color. Flip the noodles to the other side so that it can be crispy on both sides.

After flipping, add more oil (1 tbsp) around the edges, then raise the heat back up. You can continue to loosen the noodles up with chopsticks. Pan-fry this second side for 2-3 more minutes, and they're done.

Plate your double-sidedly crispy noodles on your serving dish.

Step 5 - Cook beef

↑ Jump to details

Give your wok a quick clean.

Add oil (1 tsp) to the beef.

Turn the heat to high and add oil (2 tbsp) to the wok, and give it a quick swirl to spread it out. Add the beef to the wok and spread it around. After 20-30 seconds, lower the heat to prevent overcooking.

After 30 seconds of cooking on low, take the beef out of the wok and set aside. It only needs to be 60-70% cooked through.

Step 6 - Stir-fry everything

↑ Jump to details

Keep using the residual oil left in the wok that's left after removing the beef; that will be plenty to stir-fry and cook the rest of the dish.

Keep the heat on low and add the ginger and the onion. You can raise the heat to medium if it doesn't seem hot enough. Stir-fry the ginger and onion until fragrant, or about 15-20 seconds.

Add the tomato wedges, then stir-fry for 20-30 seconds.

Add ketchup (2 tbsp) and mix it in. Then, add water (3 cup). This may seem like a lot of water, but remember, this amount of sauce has to go with that large plate of crispy noodles! Turn the heat to high, then season the sauce.

Add sugar (2 tbsp) and salt (1 tsp), then taste and adjust it to your liking if necessary.

Once you're happy with the flavor, add the beef back in and turn the heat to low. Season with oyster sauce (1 tbsp).

Then, mix up a slurry with water (4 tbsp) and cornstarch (2 tbsp). As always, pour it in slowly while constantly stirring, and stop when you're happy with how thick the sauce is. You may not need to use all the slurry. The sauce is done! Turn the heat off.

Ladle the tomato and beef sauce right over your dish of crispy pan-fried noodles. Serve and eat immediately for maximum crunch. Enjoy!

Step 7 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 8 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.