This quick and easy beef chow fun is a take on a classic Cantonese dish that's hugely popular in restaurants. Traditional ingredients include beef, hor fun noodles, mung bean sprouts, onion, ginger, and spring onions. In this simplified recipe that's perfect for a busy weeknight dinner or simple stir-fry lunch, we use fresh baby corn instead. If you're in a pinch, you can swap in canned baby corn that's been drain or whatever vegetables are sitting in the fridge.
The star of the dish is the hor fun noodle—chewy, fresh wide rice noodles that soak up the flavor of the sauces. Another name for hor fun is shehe fen and it's believed to have been invented in the town of Shahe in Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton), a province Southern China. Other countries in Asia have noodles similar in shape and texture to hor fun—for example, kway teow in Malaysia and Singapore and ban tiao in Taiwan.
- For the Marinade:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Optional: light soy sauce to taste
- For the Noodles:
- 1 pound beef flank steak (sliced 1/4-inch thick across the grain)
- 8 ounces fresh baby corn
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 pound fresh hor fun
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black bean sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, the beef chow fun is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Marinate the Beef
In a large bowl, mix together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
Add the beef strips and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare the Vegetables and Noodles
While the steak is marinating, prepare the baby corn (and any other vegetables you'll be using) by rinsing them in cold water, draining them, and slicing them in half.
Peel and mince the garlic.
If using refrigerated rice noodles, rinse them in warm water to loosen. Cut the noodles into 1/2- to 3/4-inch strips.
Once the beef is done marinating, heat a wok or a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and stir fry the beef until it browns. Stir in the black bean sauce and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Clean the wok and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir fry until aromatic. Add the hor fun and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the baby corn and quickly cook for another 30 seconds.
Return the beef and any accumulated juices along with the oyster sauce into the wok and stir fry with the noodles for 1 or 2 minutes. Taste and If it’s not salty enough, you can add more light soy sauce or salt to adjust the seasonings.
Separate into individual plates or serve family-style like they do at your favorite Chinese restaurant.