Put down the phone; you can make takeout at home! Beef Chow Fun is a well-known Chinese dish that you can prepare in under 30 minutes. It is made with flavorful marinated beef, bean sprouts, and green onions that are combined with tender wide rice noodles and an incredible sweet soy and sesame sauce.
What Is Beef Chow Fun?
Using beef, wide rice noodles (he fen or huo fun), scallions, ginger, bean sprouts, and dark soy sauce, beef chow fun is a popular Cantonese dish.
It is sometimes served at Cantonese roast meat establishments and is referred to as gon chow ngau huo in Cantonese.
Wok Hei & Pow Wok
Wok hei, or “beef chow fun,” is a crucial component. The term “wok hei” describes the distinctive umami flavor that results from cooking over extremely high heat and the “breath of the wok.”
In our Xi’An street food post, you can see instances of vintage high flames where street vendors prepared food over blazing hot fires. Although it’s difficult, wok hei can be made on a home range burner.
The use of “pow wok,” which involves tossing the contents of a wok without using a spatula, is another crucial technique in this dish.
It’s best practiced with a seasoned pow wok with a wooden handle for easy gripping. You may have seen something like it in any local takeout place with an open kitchen.
The rice noodles in this dish are kept whole and prevented from sticking by the constant stirring of the noodles in the hot wok. But do not be discouraged, I have successfully prepared this dish using a metal spatula. What’s a few broken noodles here or there anyway?.
If you’re feeling particularly daring, try the “pow wok” tossing method even though we’ve written the recipe to be used with a spatula.
For more details on the carbon steel woks and other tools we use in our daily cooking and recipes, visit our page on Chinese cooking tools!
While all of this may seem difficult, it’s actually quite simple to make a tasty Beef Chow Fun at home if you can find fresh rice noodles at your neighborhood Asian market.
It is not the simplest item to locate, but if you ask your neighborhood Asian grocer, they can direct you to the correct aisle where you can buy the fresh variety.
You could also use dried rice noodles as an alternative, like you would for pad Thai.
Judy has also published her recipe for Homemade Rice Noodles. Try it out, and you can create your own whenever you want!
Ok, on to the recipe!
Beef Chow Fun: Recipe Instructions
Start by combining 8 oz. sliced flank steak, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Marinate for 1 hour.
The meat is made more tender by the baking soda, giving it a texture similar to that found in restaurants. The beef becomes more tender the longer it is marinated.
Another helpful tip is to freeze the beef before slicing until firm but not solid. (Read more about how to prepare and tenderize beef for stir-fry in our article on the subject.) This makes slicing the beef much easier!.
Additionally, get the remaining ingredients ready before you start cooking.
Fresh rice noodles can be purchased in pre-cut or large sheets. If you have sheets, cut the rice noodles into pieces that are approximately 1 inch wide. You will need to blanch the rice noodles if they are very stiff and clumped together.
Just heat up some water in a wok and add the noodles.
Blanch them for 30 seconds or so. You’ll see them loosen into longer strands of noodles.
Remove from the wok and transfer to an ice bath. Drain.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your wok after heating it on high heat until smoking. Add the beef and sear until browned.
If your wok is sufficiently hot, the meat shouldn’t stick. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Add the ginger and 1 1/2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok. Add the scallions after giving it about 15 seconds to infuse the oil with its flavorful richness.
In the wok, evenly distribute the fresh rice noodles and stir-fry for 15 seconds.
2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine should be added to the wok’s rim.
Then, combine the beef with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar.
Make sure to stir-fry while scraping the bottom of the wok with a metal spatula. To thoroughly combine and evenly coat the huo fun with the soy sauce, lift it upward.
To taste, add a little salt and white pepper (taste the noodles first).
You might need to toss the rice noodles for a longer period of time if they were cold when you started. Less time will be needed if the rice noodles are fresh, at room temperature, or blanched. You should always keep your heat as high as possible. That is the key to achieving wok hei.
Stir-fry the bean sprouts with the addition and cook until just tender.
Serve your Beef Chow Fun Noodles piping hot. It tastes fantastic when served alongside some homemade chili oil or chiu chow chili sauce.
For the beef & marinade:
- ▢ 8 oz. flank steak (225g, sliced into 1/8 thick pieces).
- ▢ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
- ▢ 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ▢ 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ▢ 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
For the rest of the dish:
- Beef should be mixed with the marinade ingredients and left to sit for about an hour.
- Fresh rice noodles can be found in large sheets or already cut. If you have sheets, cut the rice noodles into pieces that are approximately 1 inch wide. Bring a wok’s worth of water to a boil, add the noodles, and stir if the noodles are extremely stiff and stuck together. Blanch them for 30 seconds to loosen. Transfer to an ice bath and drain thoroughly.
- When your wok is smoking from high heat, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to coat the surface. Add the beef and sear until browned. If your wok is sufficiently hot, the meat shouldn’t stick. Set aside. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons more vegetable oil to the wok. Add the ginger and stir for about 15 seconds to give the oil a rich flavor. Add the scallions.
- In the wok, distribute the noodles evenly and stir-fry for about 15 seconds on high. Add the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok.
- Add the seared beef, sesame oil, soy sauces, and a pinch of sugar next. Stir-fry, being sure to scrape the bottom of the wok with your metal spatula. To thoroughly combine and evenly coat the noodles with the sauce, raise the noodles in a single motion.
- To taste, add a little salt and white pepper (taste the noodles first). Stir-fry the bean sprouts with the addition and cook until just tender. Serve!.
TheWoksofLife. com is written and produced for informational purposes only. Although we try our best to provide nutritional information to our readers as a general guide, the values provided should be regarded as estimates since we are not certified nutritionists. brands that were purchased, naturally occurring variations in fresh ingredients, etc. will change the nutritional information in any recipe. Additionally, depending on their sources, different online calculators produce various results. Utilize your preferred nutrition calculator to calculate the nutritional information for a recipe using the actual ingredients and quantities used.
Note: We originally published this post on June 12, 2014. Although the original recipe has not changed, we have updated it with new pictures, more detailed instructions, nutritional data, and other things. Enjoy!.