Friday, June 12, 2015

Cantonese Stir-Fried Beef Ho Fun...

If you are Chinese, likely you've grown up on classic beef ho fun (Cantonese translates to dried stir-fried beef noodles) or it's probably one of your favourite noodle dishes. It's also a popular dish for Westerners...  Total comfort food for many-- what's not to love? Soy sauce rice noodles are simply cooked with succulent beef, onions and bean sprouts. And when you add the "wok hay"- wok aroma in the cooking process (cooking on high heat the entire time), you add another layer of flavour- a smoky savoury dimension. My uncle used to bring me fresh ho fun flat rice noodles from the Chinese restaurant where he cooked. What a difference fresh vs. refrigerated noodles make-- tender, not clumpy, and less time to refresh in water means less breakage! If you're lucky you can pick up a fresh bag at the Asian supermarket when their shipment arrives-- you can tell by squeezing; the noodles feel soft and plush, otherwise, they harden sitting in the fridge, which I find less appealing to cook with.

I'm heading out for dinner with my girlfriend, and this dee-lish dish was a quick and easy one to put together for the family with just a few ingredients! Here's what I do...

Cantonese Stir-Fried Beef Ho Fun
Makes 6 servings

Beef marinade:
1 lb. flank steak

1 tsp. soy sauce
ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. baking soda (the secret to tenderizing the meat like you get at restaurants)
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. oil

1 lb. fresh flat sliced rice noodles (ho fun)
cooking oil
3 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine or shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
2 to 3 heaping handfuls bean sprouts
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

VARIATION: If you can't find ho fun, you can buy the dried flat noodles (sold in the dried noodle aisle- what you would use to make Pad Thai), or change it up with Japanese udon or Shanghai thick noodles.

Slice the beef against its grain on an angle to yield nice size pieces. If its too long, cut slices in half. Mix the soy sauce and ground pepper with beef, then add the starches and oil and let marinate in fridge for about an hour. 

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the noodles for three to five minutes until soft using chopsticks to loosen the strands; strain and carefully rinse with cold water to remove excess starch and oil; drain thoroughly. Fresh noodles needs a quick cook and refrigerated noodles will take longer. Do not overcook otherwise, the noodles will break apart into bits.

Heat your skillet/wok over high heat until smoking (best wok hay results when not using non-stick), and coat with 2 Tbsp. oil by swirling it around the skillet. Add the beef and sear until browned. Add a little more oil to the wok, then the onions. Spread the noodles evenly in the wok and toss until evenly mixed, about 15 seconds. Add the cooking wine around the rim of the wok.

Add the sesame oil, soy sauces and pinch of sugar. Stir fry, making sure your spatula scrapes the bottom of the skillet as you lift the ho fun in an upward motion to mix well and coat evenly with the soy sauces.

Add the bean sprouts, and toss gently until the bean sprouts are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot with hot sauce at the table.

Soft, meaty, slightly crispy with every bite.... the ultimate comfort food! 

Three tricks to fabulous Cantonese Stir-Fried Beef Ho Fun-- fresh ho fun noodles, baking soda to tenderize the beef and wok hay-- cooking at smoking high heat the entire time, and you're on your way to beef noodle heaven baby!

Can't get fresh ho fun, grab a package of pasta-- linguine particularly fettuccine will work wonderfully. Round it out with a plate of Chinese greens served with hot oil drizzled over and oyster sauce.

Beef Ho Fun a la Linguine

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