Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beef Chow Fun

Gōn cháau ngàuh hó (Cantonese) 干炒牛河 (Mandarin: Gān Chǎo Níu Hé)

Beef Chow Fun has appeared on Chinese menus here and on the mainland almost as long as there has been restaurants.  In spite of this, searching for consistent chow fun recipes is a daunting task.  On the internet, there are as many versions as there are sites, the best being Andrea Nguyen's.  Published cookbook literature by Chinese authors are nearly as varied.  The recipe presented here is the one you'll encounter most often in Hong Kong (a city that rules the roost for Southern Chinese cuisine), and at Dim Sum restaurants, either as "special" item on one of the roving carts, or a menu item traditionally ordered along with the small snacks of dim sum.

Dry rice noodle can be used with acceptable results, but it is highly recommended that you buy fresh rice noodles (Cantonese: ho fun; Mandarin: he fen)these should be available if you live in an area that has a sizable Asian community and grocery stores serving that community. But fresh rice noodles are literally a delicacy: make sure you can purchase them unrefrigerated, or fresh from a noodle maker.  Otherwise, the cold ho fun will often be so stiff and compact, you will not be able to separate the noodles.  Moreover, it's a good idea to use the noodles as soon as they are purchased.  I bought a few pounds of ho fun from a producer on Friday, and by Sunday they were beginning to break down.

Other than the challenges of the noodle, Beef Chow Fun is easy to make, and works well in a vegetarian version, omitting the beef.

1 lb Fresh rice noodles (ho fun, at least 1/2" wide
7 oz Beef Tri Tip, sliced 1/8" thick across the grain, appx 2" x 2 1/2"
1/2 Lb.  bean sprouts
2 tsp fermented black beans, minced
2 lg cloves garlic, minced
1" x 1" pc ginger, minced
3 - 4 green onion, cut into 2" sections, white portion split lengthwise
3/4  small or 1/2 med yellow onion
4 Tab peanut or cooking oil

Meat Marinade

1  Tab soy
2  Tab rice wine
1 round tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tsp cornstarch


2 Tab Soy light
2 tsp dark soy
1 Tab Rice wine
1/2 rounded tsp salt (or to taste)
1 round tsp sugar

Sesame oil and a spring or two of cilantro for garnish

Marinate the meat for at least a few hours; overnight is even better.  Carefully separate the strands of ho fun and set them aside lightly covered with film or damp towel.

On high heat, with 2 Tablespoon of oil, add garlic, ginger, and both kinds of onion; toss a couple of times, then press onion to the wok to facilitate browning.  After half a minute or so, turn the onions and garlic/ginger over and press gently again.  As soon as you observe browning on the onion, move the mixture to the side of the wok.

Add a tablespoon more oil, allow to heat, then add the beef slices.  Separate the slices with a pair of chopsticks or with the wok shovel and press this gently to the bottom.  When the meat is browned, stir fry everything for a few seconds, until the meat is barely cooked.  Immediately remove to a platter. 

Wash wok, reheat on medium high, and swirl in the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil.  When the oil just begins to smoke,  add the rice noodles in a layer and gently press them to the wok.  In about a minute, when they begin to brown, flip the noodles over and repeat the procedure.  Add bean sprouts, gently stir fry for a few seconds, then add all other ingredients, including the sauce, and gently but quickly stir fry and mix the ingredients to combine and heat through.  

Pile on a serving platter and garnish with a little sesame oil, cilantro and slivers of red pepper


  1. Love Love Love Love your blog and recipes!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Glad you appreciate it! I hope to be posting some more recipes in the next couple of months...

    2. John.u r simply incredible.the way u hv narrated the steps are crystal clear and easy to grasp.pls let me know more abt you.pls mail me on my google mail
      I am an Indian.Presently staying in Mumbai,Actually frm Bangalore.

  2. this is my favorite food. in free time i make this my self and take full dose.
    thanks to discuss about this.
    traditional homes

  3. I do these things on my website called Pinterest Treats! I featured the General TSO chicken a couple of weeks ago, and gave you full credit. This is going to be featured tomorrow 6/24/2013. It looks amazing, and people love it!


    1. Brandon are you a chef? Pls let me know.i wl surely follow your web.get in touch with me on

  4. What a great dish! Congratulations!

  5. Friends i wanna open a chinese restaurant,who all wanna be a part of it pls lemme know.All good chefs pls feel free to contact.

  6. This blog is very meaningful to me, let me know how to make delicious food, thank you for sharing!

  7. Good topic .This Great blog referring to good topic . It is very interesting . I like it because it has give me very useful information. thank you for sharing. High Blood Pressure Diet || Non Communicable Disease || Foods in Different Languages

  8. keren dan enak2 masakannya. mampir ya

  9. Good food brings people together. Finger food is best suited for all occasions, it is light and people love eating it restaurant in Satyaniketan

  10. Your blog caught my attention thanks to the quality of your
    recipes.From, one of the biggest recipe search engines in
    India and in the world chinese restaurants

  11. I used to get this recipe as street food in China town in Boston. I was so thrilled to see it here as now I live in Washington state and could never find this really hit the spot on cold cold days where you were hungry from just shivering!


  12. Nice pics! I have tasted this chinese recipeis also good and it really tastes wonderful. thankyou for shearing this information with us!chowringhee vijay nagar

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