Chinese Steak

Sometimes you just have to “change it up” just a bit.  I love cooking Salisbury Steak and I love cooking Swiss Steak.  Both are Midwestern comfort food classics.  OK, actually what I love is eating Salisbury Steak and Swiss Steak.  And a lot of people have commented in my posts that they love these dishes too.

I’ve always loved cooking in the wok.  Wok cooking is simple.  Typically the hardest part is the prep and having everything ready to go before cooking.  But that’s simply a matter of “slicing and dicing”.  Chinese-style cooking is also something that goes well with Cheap Bastid’s love for simple, inexpensive, fresh ingredients.  And, proteins like meat especially go further Chinese style making it even better for diet and budget conscious folks.

Here’s one of my all-time favorite Chinese recipes to cook and especially to eat.  This dish is pungent and tasty.  It combines beef with my favorites of tomatoes and onions along with an aromatic sauce that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  It’s a different twist on Comfort Food.

Cheap Bastids Chinese Steak

It’s served over rice, or with rice on the side, whichever you prefer.  So first, I’m going to provide my basic rice recipe which I got 30 years ago from “Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook” which came with my first wok.  This is as close to “foolproof” rice as you can get without investing in a rice cooker. 

And yes, the rice will stick together when you serve it and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  You can’t eat rice with chopsticks when the grains are all separate and going their own way.  And I think this tastes far better than “Minute Rice”.  It’s just basic, long-grain rice that I buy in bulk at the grocery store for $.79/lb.

Here’s a link to the recipe for basic rice:

When you cover the pan of rice on the stove is when you can go ahead and start heating your wok to cook the rest of the meal. Have all your prep for the wok done so you can just start cooking. This will usually mean that the wok cooking is done and the rice is done at about the same time.


Recipe: Chinese Steak


Summary: Simple ingredients and full of flavor and aroma, Chinese Steak is easy to make and is certain to become one of your favorite ways to make comfort food with just a little different twist.


IngredientsChinese Steak Meat Marinading

  • 1-1½ lbs sirloin steak
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Couple of good splashes sherry or wine
  • 1 tbsp Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 2 egg whites (give the yolk to the dog)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup oil for fryingMeat Browned for Chinese Steak
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges—about 8 wedges each
  • 1 cup onion cut into appx. 1” long slices
  • Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire, 4 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar. Mix all together in advance.



  • Using a meat tenderizer/mallet pound meat on both sides.Stir fry onions and add beef Cut meat into 1” cubes then put into a non-metal dish or into a 1 gal. freezer bag.
  • Mix the soy sauce, sherry/wine, ginger/garlic powder & diced onion together and pour over meat. Marinate at least 2-4 hours.
  • Add the egg white and cornstarch and mix thoroughly into the meat mixture.
  • Do all your cutting and prepping before you start cooking. Cut the tomatoes and onion and put into small bowls.Adding sauce to Chinese steak (You want everything next to you on the counter ready to go in the wok. This basic organization makes a big difference anytime you cook but especially in wok cooking).
  • Start the rice according to the earlier recipe. When you put the cover on the rice pan, it’s time to start cooking the rest of your dinner.Adding tomatoes to Chinese Steak
  • Put wok on burner, burner to high, add 1 cup oil. Heat until water flicked on oil immediately sizzles off. Add meat in small batches (about 1/3 at a time) and fry 2-3 minutes per batch—allow oil to reheat between batches. Drain on a plate or pan lined with 2-3 paper towels.
  • When meat is done, let oil cool then drain all but 2 tbsp of oil from the wok. Reheat the wok. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes just until they start to soften. Add the beef and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the sauce and stir all together.Chinese steak ready to serve
  • Finally, add tomatoes, mix everything and serve over rice.


Preparation time: 15 minute(s)


Cooking time: 25 minute(s)


Number of servings (yield): 4

This smells fantastic during the final cooking when the meat and sauce and onions and tomatoes all get together in the wok.  It’s pungent and aromatic. And it tastes just as good.  It’s got just a hint of “heat” (enough to make the top of my head sweat a little) and that comes from the Worcestershire.

Chinese Steak plated

The Cheap Bastid test:  Well, the sirloin cost $3.00/lb. on special at Stater Bros.  And I used about 1/3 lb of rice for another $.30.  Plus, 1 lb of tomatoes for $1 and half an onion for about $.25.  Total budget for this great dinner for 2 was $4.55.  And there’s plenty of left-overs for tomorrow too.

That’s the Cheap Bastid way:  Eat Good, Eat Cheap, Be Grateful!

About Walter Blevins

My wife started to call me Cheap Bastid a while back because I enjoyed coming up with dinners that cost next to nothing--and making them taste good. Yeah, I love to cook. And I love to cook good food cheap. I'm not a chef and I'm definitely not anything close to a gourmet. I'm just a home cook who grew up in a home where cooking was from scratch and was a little bit Midwest and a little bit country. That's because my Mom was from Michigan and my Dad was from Kentucky. I started sharing recipes when my daughter called me in 2006 and asked for my recipe for Swiss Steak. That year for Christmas I put together a cookbook for my 2 kids called "Dad's Everyday Cookbook and Kitchen Survival Guide". And I heard back that they both use it regularly. It was full of basic recipes that I had cooked for them when they were growing up. I work hard at creating recipes that are original and creative and inexpensive. You won't find a foo-foo foodie approach to my recipes and style. I believe that it's OK for food to go up the side of a plate. Food is for eating--it doesn't have to be pretty. And I write about my cooking and my recipes so that I can share them. I hope you enjoy these posts. Leave me a comment--that you liked something or that you didn't, it doesn't matter. I'd love to hear from you.
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8 Responses to Chinese Steak

  1. Rae says:

    This looks pretty good. I may have to give it a try to see about putting it in the rotation.

  2. Terry says:

    Heat comes from the Ginger. I added too much ginger to a wok recipe one time and we couldn’t even eat it, it was too hot (spicey).

    • Walter Blevins says:

      Terry, thanks. You’re right, ginger can get really hot and pungent. That’s why it’s in the marinade of this dish rather than in the sauce (where it would be pretty easy to over-do it). And, over and over again I have violated the old rule of putting a spice in and then tasting and adding more if needed. I usually dump it in, then a little more and then taste–oops, too much!

  3. RubeRad says:

    So it looks like this is essentially a sweet&sour sauce?

    I like the idea of using the wok to pre-deep-fry the meat! If you have a metal scoop of some sort, you should be able to carefully remove the excess oil without waiting to cool. Or if you maintain something like a coffee can of used grease/oil, you could just pour it off straight from the wok.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      RubeRad, with very little change, you can turn this into a sweet & sour sauce. However, sweet & sour uses more vinegar and doesn’t use Worcestershire. My wife thinks I should just make more of the marinade and use that for a sauce but I’ve always “done it this way”. Fortunately, the oil cools quickly and is easy to pour off into an old can. Thanks. Like I’ve mentioned before, stop by Mossy Poway sometime (not to buy a car, just to shake hands).

  4. Blondie says:

    Hey, Cheap Bastid, it’s your long-time fan from MB & JAP.What a lovely recipe. Can’t wait to try and give you feedback. In your spare time, come on over and poke yout head in and vusut out site! Ha!poy Cooking and Bon Appetit

  5. Blondie says:

    Hey, Cheap Bastid, it’s your long-time fan from MB & JAP.What a lovely recipe. Can’t wait to try and give you feedback. In your spare time, come on over and poke your head in and visit our site! HappyCooking and Bon Appetit!

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