Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)

This dish is always a guilty pleasure.

When I order this noodle dish at a restaurant, I think to myself I should be running ten thousand miles as penance. That's because restaurant versions are usually oil slicks, greasy enough to put a nice shine to my lips when I'm done eating them. I don't even need lip balm anymore.

But hey, that's part of the fun of this dish. Sometimes, a little grease makes me feel at ease with the world, penance notwithstanding.

Our homemade version is less oily, but looking at the finished pictures, the dish still seems to be all shiny and glisten-y. That's because the rice noodles are quite oily by themselves. We didn't add more than 2 tablespoons of oil when stir-frying the rest of ingredients.

Information on this wide rice noodle:

We started with flank steak, cut against the grain into strips, which we marinated in some Shaoxing wine and cornstarch.

I like to keep this dish pretty minimalist, keeping the ingredient list very short. I like this with a big handful of beansprouts and a lot of scallions. For the seasoning, it's straight soy sauce. We use both dark and light soy sauces: dark to give the dish a nice color and a deep flavor, and light for more seasoning (saltiness).

TS: Stir-fried hor fun enjoying a Vancouver afternoon.

It might seem like a ho-hum sort of dish, reading the ingredient list, but definitely, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

eatingclub Hong Kong/Cantonese
Chicken Chow Mein
Cantonese Braised Beef Brisket, Two Ways
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Chinese Roast Pork Belly
Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Oyster Sauce, Two Ways
Chinese Pork Bone Soup with Carrots and Water Chestnuts
Hong Kong-style Curry Cuttlefish
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Prawn Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste (蝦醬通菜)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)
Sweet and Sour Pork
Hong Kong-style Curry Beef Brisket (咖喱牛腩), 1st Attempt

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Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)

300 g (approx 2/3 pound) flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 lb wide rice noodles (hor fun)

6-8 stalks green onions

2 cups bean sprouts

dark soy sauce

light soy sauce

Information on this wide rice noodle:

Marinate beef strips with soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. Add cornstarch and coat beef strips as evenly as possible. Leave for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Soak the rice noodles in warm water (or follow the package instructions). They will be softened but not cooked. Drain and set aside.

Cut the green onions in 3" lengths. Wash and drain bean sprouts.

In a hot wok, add oil. Add beef strips and cook for a little while. If your wok is hot enough, stir while cooking to prevent burning. If your wok/pan is not quite that hot, then leave the beef strips to cook untouched for a little while until they caramelize.

When beef is 80% cooked through, add the rice noodles. Add soy sauce and stir. Preferably, use both dark and light soy sauces. The dark soy sauce will give the dish a nice brown hue, while the light soy sauce will add more saltiness. Please adjust the seasoning to taste.

When the noodles are soft and cooked, add green onions and bean sprouts. Cook, stirring and mixing, until the green onions and sprouts lose their rawness, but not until too soft.

Serve hot.


  1. I love Hong Kong noodles! Especially this version in its less oily state!

  2. Usually, the restaurants' "oil-slicks" versions spoil it for me too. Maybe that is why some say this noodle makes or breaks a Canto chef :p

  3. Short ingredient list or not I think it looks fabulous

  4. I agree! A little grease (and for me olive oil grease) is delightful sometimes; this dish sounds very delicious and definitely way better than the restaurant product.

  5. Also my favourite guilty pleasure! Love it! A staple at all my family celebrations.

  6. Joanne:
    I don't actually crave Hong Kong noodles when eating out, but I liked this home version of ours!

    Yeah! I've heard this is one of those dishes they have to "test" chefs. =D

    Melody Fury:
    Teehee. Thanks!

    The simplest things can be the best.

    Hehe, I miss having that oil on my lips sometimes. =)

    This is actually the first time we've attempted this at home!


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