Chinese Beef Chow Fun with Broccoli

February 28, 2008 | Chuck
Beef and Broccoli Chow Fun

Over the last few months, we've been cooking a lot of Vietnamese food. And the word, "vietnamese", in the tag/ingredient cloud (below on the right side) has grown larger, dwarfing the "chinese" tag. That's fine with me, but Hungry Bear wants to end this trend and make sure her peeps' food is more represented on SND. So yesterday, she made beef and broccoli chow fun (chao fen).

We both love chow fun, but rarely order it at restaurants because it's just too damn oily. If you have access to a good Chinese/Asian supermarket and can get your hands on fresh rice noodles (he fen or haw fun), beef chow fun is best made at home. Prepared with fresh ingredients, minimal oil and Chinese broccoli, dare I say chow fun can be a healthy, balanced meal. It's sad Chinese food prepared in most restaurants is greasy, salty and generally bad for you, whereas traditional Chinese cooking can be healthy and flavorful.

To prepare the chow fun, Hungry Bear referenced two Grace Young cookbooks. We love Grace Young's recipes, but our biggest pet peeve is that her recipes are always proportioned to serve 4 to 6 as part of a multi-course meal. Hey, that's great if you have time to cook multi-course meals, but it's no good for people like us who cook in mass quantities. So, we always end up doubling or quadrupling her recipes, hoping it's enough as the main entrée.

This time Hungry Bear only doubled the recipe, reduced the oil and added Chinese broccoli to the beef chow fun recipe found in The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen. With fresh ingredients and perfectly cooked flank steak, this was no doubt the best chow fun I've ever had. After adding a dash of chili garlic sauce, I was one happy, chow-fun-eating camper. Now I'm looking forward to the next Chinese dish, as Hungry Bear attempts to restore the Chinese/Vietnamese balance on SND.

Beef and Broccoli Chow Fun

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Chow Fun (Chao Fen) Recipe

SND Note: The key ingredient in this recipe is the fresh broad rice noodle (he fen or haw fun). The rice noodles are sold unrefrigerated in 1 pound sheets that are folded over like a large cloth napkin. Normally, chow fun is made with a lot of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to the wok. Because we use less oil, some of the noodles stick to the wok and break apart. The sticky layer should be scraped from the wok and eaten as "rice crisps", which are crusty and delicious.

8 ounces mung bean sprouts, about 4 cups, rinsed and drained well
1 pound Chinese broccoli
1 pound flank steak, well trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
2 tablespoons Chinese dried black beans (dul see)
2 pounds fresh broad rice noodles (he fen or haw fun)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 slices of ginger
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch sections
3-4 tablespoons oyster sauce

1) Cut the broccoli stalks in half lengthwise if more than 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the stalks and leaves into 2 inch-long pieces, keeping the stalks separate from the leaves.

2) Halve the flank steak with the grain into 2 strips. Cut each strip across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place in a shallow bowl, add the soy sauce, cornstarch, and rice wine, and stir to combine; set aside.

3) Rinse the black beans in several changes of cold water and drain. In a small bowl, mash the black beans with the back of a wooden spoon. Leaving the noodles as a slab, cut noodles crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide strips.

4) Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, ginger and garlic to wok, and stir-fry about 15 to 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the beef, spreading it in the wok. Cook, undisturbed, 30 seconds to 1 minute, letting the beef begin to brown. Add the mashed black beans and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until beef is browned but still slightly rare. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil into the wok and stir-fry the broccoli stalks for 30 seconds. Add the leaves and 1 teaspoon salt, stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes until the stalks are bright green and the leaves are limp. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Rinse wok and dry it thoroughly.

5) Re-heat wok over high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok with the noodles, spreading them in the wok. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, or until slightly crusty. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes. Return the broccoli and beef with any juices that have accumulated to the wok, add the oyster sauce and scallions, and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through and well combined. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

[Adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young]

[tags]chinese, stir fry, noodles, chow fun, beef, flank steak, ginger, broccoli, grace young[/tags]

18 Comments on “Chinese Beef Chow Fun with Broccoli”

  1. I usually find these noodles in the produce section of my Asian supermarket, rather than in the refrigerator aisle with the other noodles.

  2. dp said:

    I LOVE rice noodles, especially the fresh ones, but like you, I don’t like to order them out because they are so greasy. I definitely prefer to make them at home.

    Your noodles look delish!

  3. JEP said:

    The plated presentation is gorgeous showing off all the color & textures!

  4. Julie said:

    Oh yum. Thanks for the post on my favorite dish ever. drooling

  5. Hehe. We must be on the same wavelength. I just ate gai lan. And I was thinking I haven’t made beef chow fun in a while too.

  6. Chuck said:

    Lydia, you’re right, it’s also in the produce section of my supermarket, New May Wah.

    dp, JEP, Julie and Jaden, Thanks!

    WC, the same wavelength thing must be from our south central roots! Ha ha!

  7. Nilmandra said:

    Haha you’re right, stir fried hor fun (or chow kway teow in Singapore and Malaysia) are definitely not diet food. The addition of oil is actually quite important precisely so that the rice sticks don’t stick together or to the pan and they don’t get clumpy. It’s a tough choice, healthy version or delicious version :) I try for a happen medium most of the time but sometimes it’s caution to the wind with an occasional indulgence.

    Love the crispy bits stuck on top of the dish!

  8. canarygirl said:

    Thank you Hungry Bear! OMG this looks so delicious! I’m inviting myself over for your Sunday Night Dinners…you guys eat amazingly well. :)

  9. Christine said:

    I wish I could get fresh noodles like that here in Michigan. Re-constituting the dried noodles is good, but just lacking the tender texture of the fresh stuff. Is this the same as Paht Si Yu?

  10. mag said:

    i totally agree with you! i went to california last nov for a holiday, and the ‘chinese’ food i got was all oily and fried! (panda express D: )
    we have chow fun in singapore, except we call it ‘hor fun’, and we have it wet, with dark gravy poured over :] the dry one you made, we call ‘char kway teow’ which is really unhealthy, with cockles and prawns and soy sauce and lard and fishcake. char is fried in hokkien, i think.
    your blog is making me hungry! i especially love the photos, the food looks so yummy! but it’s 12 midnight now, and i’ll have to wait till tomorrow to eat. can’t wait!

  11. Angelita said:

    OMG! I just found your site and I am so excited! I LOVE chow fun and have tried so many times to make them, but never have any luck and now I know why! I ALWAYS reduce the amount of oil called for in the dish and mine stick and just melt, and now I know why… I am lucky enough to have both one of the largest vietnamese markets on the east coast 10 mins from my office as well as a huge Korean market 10 mins from my house.. I’m going this week and get some Chow Fun!

  12. Shannon said:

    HOLY COW!!! THIS was incredible!!!! So darn good. We just finished dinner and i had to jump on here and leave my two cents. It was just like I have had in restaurants, I fell in love with it 6 months ago while on a WOK tour of SF (Shirley you’re awesome!) and have been ordering it ever since. Thought the recipe would be too advanced for me but it was fine. Its really all about timing, try to have everything ready before you begin. Thank you thank you thank you. We”re already planning left overs for tomorrow’s lunch.

  13. Jazzy said:

    Love Chow Funn lots of different versions….Hard to find broad rice noodles ….been to several chinese stores in Houston no luck…..I’ll keep looking….Thanks

  14. Tara said:

    Great general recipe. I make mine with sliced top sirloin and peppers and broccoli. Besides the oilyness, the noodles breaking into small pieces also are a petpeeve. So here is how I get around that. I soak XL flat dried rice noodles for an hour or two, then put them on a sheet pan (lined with a Silpat silicone liner) and coat with 2 Tbsp oyster sauce and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce and a good amount of water. This gives the noodles some flavor but you could leave this step out and use broth or water.

    Heat in a 375oF oven for about 20 minutes, making sure to regularly toss the noodles so they don’t dry out. I also spray them with water to keep them moist. When they are soft but still al dente, take them out of the oven and add some water or chicken broth if they are too dry (they will absorb all the sauce and leave your chow fun dry as well).

    Pour the hot beef/veg mixture over the noodles and mix with tongs or your hands to coat. I make these hours in advance, then quickly wok or microwave when we want them so the noodles don’t break up. Almost no oil required!

  15. Nadine said:

    Tonight I made this yummy Beef Chow Fun (and Jaden Hair’s 10 minute curry) for my family and some of my son’s teenage sons. No leftovers! Everyone loved it. I was pleased how quickly it was to pull this together, and it was delicious. It was even better than the Beef Chow Fun I have at my favorite Dim Sum restaurant. (It’s hard to find fresh rice noodles in my area, but I go to the Vietnamese supermarket in the Eden Center (Falls Church,VA) and it is worth it.

  16. bob dole said:

    this bloooowwwwsss badly i cant even explain.

  17. Fraser said:

    I put this on the table for the family and everyone loved it. I added a lot more ginger and garlic (we can not get enough of both) and used dark and regular soya sauces for a bit more depth of flavour.

    Great result, the beef was super tender and the vegetables are a nice break from the rest of the plate which is pretty heavy. Next time I would double the amount of veggie that I put in it.

    Turned out just like the pictures!

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