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.
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]