Beef Chow Fun (乾炒牛河)

Learn how to make this iconic and easy Chinese dish right at home!

Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
50 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Chow Fun, also known as Chow Hoh Fun, gets its name from the town of Shahe in Guangzhou, where its distinctive style of flat rice noodles was first created.

As more Chinese people started coming to America in the 40s and 50s, over two-thirds of them were Guangdong Yan (like my mom and dad). Up until the 60s and 70s, Chinese food in America was primarily Cantonese cuisine.

That’s why, today, Cantonese dishes like Chow Fun and Chow Mein are still among the most popular dishes across over 40,000 Chinese restaurants in America.

Thank you, Kikkoman!

This recipe is brought to you in part by Kikkoman. My dad has been using Kikkoman flavors throughout his 50-year career as a chef, and it's a privilege to get to partner with them on such an iconic recipe, Beef Chow Fun!

  • Kikkoman products are a major flavor enhancer and bring out the “umami” taste, and helps balance and round out flavors
  • Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce is perfect for home cooks who are looking to cut down on their sodium levels, without sacrificing flavor
  • Kikkoman offers wide range of Gluten-Free Asian sauces, including Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce and Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
  • The KikkomanUSA.com Chinese site offers easy Asian recipes that home cooks can enjoy any night of the week

You can learn more about Kikkoman and follow them on social media here:

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
    Main Ingredients
  • 10 oz flank steak
  • 1 lb fresh flat rice noodles
  • 3 stems green onions
  • 0.50 yellow onions
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Beef Marinade
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari (

    Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari, a wheat-free version.

    )
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Chow Fun Sauce
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari (

    Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari, a wheat-free version.

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • Ingredients for Cooking
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

Using Baking Soda

Many of our viewers and readers have asked about how to get really tender meat when cooking these dishes and the answer is baking soda.

We all know that baking soda helps pastries rise and get fluffy, but it's also an amazing meat tenderizer. The process of marinating meat with baking soda is known as velveting because it makes the meat tender and juicy.

It alkalizes the surface of the meat, which prevents the protein strands from binding to each other and helps it retain water. Without it, the meat can dry out quickly and become tough.

If you don't want to use baking soda, you can always physically tenderize the meat with a mallet.

Tamari

Here, we're using tamari, which is interchangeable with dark soy sauce. They both have a subtle sweetness and are often used to give food a slightly darker color.

Tamari is the OG Japanese soy sauce as its recipe is the closest to the soy sauce that was originally introduced to Japan from China.

It contains little or no wheat so it's a perfect alternative for anyone out there that's gluten intolerant. It's mainly made in the Chubu region of Japan and it's a great alternative to dark soy sauce.

Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari (which is the wheat-free version.)

Cut your flank steak (10 oz) into medium or 1/4 inch slices.

You don't want to make your slices too thick or thin because the meat should hold itself together during the cooking process but it should not be so thick that you spend a long time chewing.

A great tip we have to achieve the perfect slices is to partially freeze it or have it partially defrosted. The meat will be firm enough to be cut through cleanly and it makes the cutting process much easier.

Once cut, put the meat into a room-temperature water bath to rinse out the myoglobin. This helps be beef to cook and taste better.

Peel and thinly slice the yellow onion (0.50) into 1/4 inch thickness.

Wash the bean sprouts (1 handful), drain, and set aside.

Wash and chop the green onions (3 stems) into 1 inch long pieces. Use all of the green onions and separate the white parts from the green parts.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the baking soda (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), soy sauce (1 tbsp), tamari (1 tsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), water (2 tbsp), cooking wine (1 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and mix until everything is incorporated and smooth.

Drain the meat from the water bath, squeeze out the excess water.

Add the meat into the marinade and mix until the meat is fully coated in the marinade and set it aside.

Prepare the rice noodles (1 lb) by separating the noodles if you see them stuck together. The best way to do this is to gently massage them between your hand and a cutting board. If there are a few noodles that are stubborn, you can peel them apart.

Our tip for when you aren't going to cook this dish on the day that you buy the fresh rice noodles is to separate them, seal them in cling wrap, and put them in the fridge. Do not put them in the freezer!

When you take them out for cooking, microwave them for a minute before stir-frying.

In a small bowl, mix tamari (1 tsp), soy sauce (1 tbsp), and oyster sauce. Once mixed, set it aside.

Add cooking oil (1 tbsp) to the marinated beef to seal the juices in the beef.

Heat up the wok to the highest heat for about 1 minute and a half before adding more cooking oil (3 tbsp). This may vary depending on your cookware.

Heat the oil for 30 seconds or until the oil starts to ripple.

Add your beef and cook for 40-60 seconds on high heat. It's fine if it's a little red because we will continue to cook it later.

Remove the beef from the wok and set it aside. You can strain the meat from excess oil at this time.

Wipe down the wok before cooking the other ingredients.

Add a small amount of oil to the wok. You won't need a lot because the rice noodles already have some oil.

Fry the yellow onion (0.50) and the white parts of the scallions for 20-30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the rice noodles (1 lb). Take your time stirring them because they will need some time to loosen up in the wok. If you over stir them, they can break.

If your noodles are sticking to the wok, take them out and set aside. Scrub the wok clean, heat it back up to start frying again and add the noodles back.

Cook the noodles for two minutes or until golden brown. Another way to know when they're ready is when you can smell them.

Add the sauce and cook for 1 minute until the noodles are well coated in the sauce. At this point, if you feel that the noodles are not dark enough, you can add more dark soy sauce.

Add the green parts of the scallion and bean sprouts.

Cook for 30-45 seconds before adding in the beef.

Add the beef and mix. Let everything cook together for 1 more minute. Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil (1 tsp).

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served at the center of the table and everyone can take the amount they want.

Summary

Beef Chow Fun (乾炒牛河)
Learn how to make this iconic and easy Chinese dish right at home!
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 10 oz flank steak
  • 1 lb fresh flat rice noodles
  • 3 stems green onions
  • 0.50 yellow onions
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Beef Marinade
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari (

    Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari, a wheat-free version.

    )
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Chow Fun Sauce
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari (

    Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari, a wheat-free version.

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • Ingredients for Cooking
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
Step 1 - Cut & wash beef↑ Jump to details

Cut your flank steak (10 oz) into medium or 1/4 inch slices. Once cut, put the meat into a room-temperature water bath to rinse out the myoglobin.

Step 2 - Prepare vegetables↑ Jump to details

Peel and thinly slice the yellow onion (0.50) into 1/4 inch thickness. Wash the bean sprouts (1 handful), drain, and set aside. Wash and chop the green onions (3 stems) into 1 inch long pieces. Use all of the green onions and separate the white parts from the green parts.

Step 3 - Create beef marinade↑ Jump to details

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the baking soda (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), soy sauce (1 tbsp), tamari (1 tsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), water (2 tbsp), cooking wine (1 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and mix until everything is incorporated and smooth.

Step 4 - Mix beef into marinade↑ Jump to details

Drain the meat from the water bath, squeeze out the excess water. Add the meat into the marinade and mix until the meat is fully coated in the marinade and set it aside.

Step 5 - Prepare rice noodles↑ Jump to details

Prepare the rice noodles (1 lb) by separating the noodles if you see them stuck together.

Step 6 - Create chow fun sauce↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, mix tamari (1 tsp), soy sauce (1 tbsp), and oyster sauce. Once mixed, set it aside.

Step 7 - Stir-fry beef↑ Jump to details

Add cooking oil (1 tbsp) to the marinated beef to seal the juices in the beef.

Heat up the wok to the highest heat for about 1 minute and a half before adding more cooking oil (3 tbsp).

Add your beef and cook for 40-60 seconds on high heat.

Remove the beef from the wok and set it aside. You can strain the meat from excess oil at this time.

Step 8 - Stir-fry vegetables & noodles↑ Jump to details

Fry the yellow onion (0.50) and the white parts of the scallions for 20-30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the rice noodles (1 lb). Take your time stirring them because they will need some time to loosen up in the wok. If you over stir them, they can break.

Cook the noodles for two minutes or until golden brown.

Add the sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Add the green parts of the scallion and bean sprouts.

Cook for 30-45 seconds before adding in the beef.

Step 9 - Add beef back↑ Jump to details

Add the beef and mix. Let everything cook together for 1 more minute. Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil (1 tsp).

Step 10 - Taste test & plate↑ Jump to details

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served at the center of the table and everyone can take the amount they want.

Step 11 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 12 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.