BEEF CHOW FUN
One of China’s best kept secrets is beef chow fun. Unfortunately, the original version is difficult to obtain, and there aren’t many good recipes (until now!) out there.
Spicy Cantonese dish of beef with broad rice noodles (he fen, or huo fun), ginger, bean sprouts, and black soy sauce stir-fried in sesame oil.
Cantonese dim sum restaurants and some Cantonese roast pork establishments serve this dish known as gon chow ngau huo.
“Wok hei” is a key ingredient in beef chow fun. The term “wok hei” refers to the “breath of the wok” and the peculiar umami flavor that results while cooking over high heat.
In our Xi’An street food piece, you can observe street sellers cooking over roaring hot fires in the old-fashioned way, with high flames. With a home range burner, achieving wok hei is not straightforward, but it can be done.
The “pow wok” method of tossing the contents of a wok without using a spatula is also critical in this meal.
You should use a pow wok with a wooden handle for better control. Almost any neighborhood restaurant with an open kitchen will have a similar setup.
The rice noodles in this meal don’t stick because of the constant stirring in the hot wok. The good news is that I have made this meal successfully with the help of a metal spatula. What does it matter if one or two noodles are broken here and there?
We’ve prepared the recipe to be followed with a spatula, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try it using a “pow wok” tossing method instead.
BEEF AND MARINADE:
- 225g of sliced flank steak
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
THE REST OF THE DISH:
- 12 oz. of fresh wide rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 4 scallions, vertically split in half
- 4-6 ounces of fresh mung bean sprouts
- 3 thin slices of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of regular soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
- salt and white pepper
- Marinate the beef for about an hour with the marinade ingredients.
- Large sheets of fresh rice noodles are available in some cases, while others are already sliced and ready to go. Slice the rice noodles to about an inch wide if you have the sheets. If the noodles are stuck together, a kettle of boiling water will loosen them. To loosen them, blanch them for about 30 seconds. Drain well after transferring to an ice bath.
- When the wok is burning, add 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and coat the pan with it. Once browned, add the beef and continue cooking. The meat should not stick to your wok if it is heated to the proper temperature. Dispose of. 1 1/2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil in the wok should be enough now. Infuse the oil for around 15 seconds with ginger’s rich taste. Incorporate the scallions into the dish.
- Noodles should be uniformly distributed in the pan and stir-fried for around 15 seconds over high heat. Toss the Shaoxing wine into the wok in a circular motion.
- Sesame oil, soy sauce, a sprinkle of honey, and grilled meat are all excellent additions. Stir-fry, scraping the bottom of the wok with your metal wok spatula. Lift the noodles in an upward motion to ensure that they are evenly coated with the sauce and that they are mixed well.
- Add white pepper and salt to taste (taste the noodles before adding salt). Just before serving, add the bean sprouts and stir-fry for a few seconds. Serve!