Beef Chow Fun
September 25, 2021
Chinese Main Dishes Noodles Recipes Tastier Than Takeout
Beef Chow Fun is SO GOOD! The beef gets a great sear from the wok that contrasts with the chewy texture of the fresh rice noodles, and the entire dish covered in a delicious sauce and topped with crunchy bean sprouts. The best part is that it’s simple enough to make at home and comes together in under 30 minutes!
Watch the Beef Chow Fun Recipe Video Below!
My Top Ingredient Tips for Beef Chow Fun (there are a lot!)
- For this recipe, I like to purchase the fresh rice rolls. (I find them in the refrigerated section of 99 Ranch, next to the fresh noodles.) I separate them into individual sheets and then cut them to my desired width (1-1.5″ width).
- If you cannot find rice rolls, you can also use fresh rice noodles. (These can also be found in the refrigerated section of 99 Ranch.) They won’t be as wide as I prefer but they still get the job done! If you find that the fresh rice noodles feel firm, you can blanch them in hot water for 30 sec to loosen them back up. Once blanched, place them in an ice bath until you’re ready to cook. (Otherwise, they will continue cooking and become mushy.)
- If you cannot find neither fresh rice rolls nor fresh rice noodles, you can use re-hydrated dry rice noodles. Make sure you rehydrate them for at least one hour!
Make sure you are slicing against the grain. You’ll know which direction the grain is when you look at the meat – the lines will be running in one direction (the lines are the muscle fibers). Slicing against the grain is an easy way to ensure your meat will be tender. (Remember, the lines are the muscle fibers – cutting against the lines means you’re cutting the long fibers, so they don’t get tough when cooked!)
This is the KEY ingredient to super tender beef. Baking soda is commonly used in Chinese cooking to tenderize beef. If you’re curious about the science behind it – baking soda neutralizes acid and raises the pH level, which causes the meat to become more alkaline. This means the proteins INSIDE the meat will have more trouble tightening up – when the proteins can’t tighten up, the meat ends up much more tender when cooked (instead of constricting together aka getting tough!)
Cornstarch is a key ingredient in Chinese cooking because it is used for velveting the meat. Velveting is a Chinese technique where protein is marinated in cornstarch and cooked quickly in hot oil, resulting in the meat becoming tender and silky. You’ll see this technique in a lot of my recipes because it’s one of my favorite ways to guarantee moist, tender protein!
My favorite neutral oil is avocado oil, but you can also use canola or vegetable oil! I don’t use olive oil when cooking Chinese food for two reasons: 1. It has a low burning point and 2. I find that the flavor profile does not usually go with the dish.
I get asked all the time if you can sub black pepper for white pepper – and my answer is, it depends BUT you need to watch the ratio. White pepper has a milder flavor profile than black pepper, so it’s a 1-1 substitute. I would start with less black pepper and add as you go. (But really, you should have white pepper in your pantry! It’s a staple in mine!)
LIGHT vs. DARK SOY SAUCE
Yes, they’re different! Dark soy sauce is thicker, darker, and sweeter (as well as has a higher sodium content) than regular soy sauce. If you do not have dark soy sauce on hand, you can sub with oyster sauce.
As always, this is optional 🙂
My Key Recipe Tips for Beef Chow Fun!
SUCCESS IS IN THE PREP!
Once you start cooking, this recipe will come together very quickly. The key to pulling this off successfully is having all of your ingredients prepped and in bowls right next to your wok or pan! Have your premixed sauce, noodles, and vegetables ready and easily accessible during the cooking process.
Beef Chow Fun
- 1/2 lb flank seak cut into 1/4" strips
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp neutral oil I used avocado oil
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp msg
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Noodles & Vegetables
- 4 scallions cut into 2" pieces
- 1 tbsp ginger chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 12 oz rice noodles fresh or dehydrated; if dehydrated, make sure to rehydrate
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Slice beef into 1/4" strips and marinate for 15-20 minutes in baking soda, light soy sauce, white pepper, cornstarch, and neutral oil.
- Cut scallions into 2" pieces, as well as 1 tbsp of ginger and 2 cloves of garlic and set aside with fresh bean sprouts.
- Separate your fresh rice rolls into individual sheets as best as you can and cut to desired width. (I personally like them 1-1 1/2" wide strips.) NOTE: If using precut noodles that are firm, blanch them in hot water for 30 seconds to loosen and then transfer to an ice bath until ready to cook. You can also use rehydrated dry rice noodles!
- For your sauce, mix together light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, msg, and sesame oil and set aside.
- Over high heat in 2 tbsp of neutral oil, sear beef for 2-3 minutes and remove.
- Add additional oil if needed, and saute ginger and garlic for 30 seconds, then add your scallions and continue cooking for 2 minutes until scallions have a nice color.
- Working quickly, add back your beef, separated rice noodles, and sauce. Mix together to incorporate, then add your fresh bean sprouts and give a final mix for 1 minute. Enjoy!
Can I substitute chicken for the beef?
I made the beef chow fun tonight and it was good, but I would like a stronger flavor with the sauce. What do you suggest? Double it? The noodles were still pretty white. I wish I could attach a picture.
My kids, husband and mother in law scarfed it down in about 5 minutes and I had doubled the recipe. Now they want me to make more!
Looks like the recipe is set for 12 oz of rice rolls and they’re often sold as 24 oz, so I just doubled the sauce and it was restaurant perfect. May never be motivated to get this at a Chinese restaurant again!!
So glad to hear, Ana! Thanks so much for your kind review 🙂