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What Is Beef Chow Fun?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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Beef chow fun is a Cantonese dish that is popular in Hong Kong. It is a mixture of rice noodles, beef and bean sprouts. The entire dish is stir fried in a wok over very high heat. Many variations have arisen, including the use of black bean sauce and red pepper flakes. Although there is beef in the dish, the main components are the rice noodles and the vegetables.

The wide rice noodles in beef chow fun are called ho fun noodles. They are thick, very rich in texture and carry liquid well on their surface in a dish. There are many recipes that involve ho fun noodles, such as char kway teow, which is similar to beef chow fun except it includes seafood instead of beef. These noodles also are enjoyed alone, simply coated in chilies and soy sauce.

One of the most important parts of making beef chow fun is the technique used while cooking. The dish is made over very high heat. Restaurants have special burners that are used to achieve this level of heat. A powerful flame is forced up through a wide opening in the range top and the chef controls it with a pedal at the bottom. By controlling the flame, a skilled chef can create intense heat but still not burn the chow fun.

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The wok used for the dish must be hot, but the amount of oil also must be carefully monitored. The ingredients and high heat could quickly remove the oil from the pan, in which case the dish would burn. Too much oil would coat everything in it, diluting the taste and texture.

The dish begins with the beef. It can be marinated in soy sauce, though originally it was not. It is added to the wok, fried until done and set aside. The wok is cleaned and re-oiled for the next step.

The ho fun noodles are then added to the wok. This is where the level of heat is important because, if the oil dissipates and the heat is too high, then the noodles will stick and burn quickly. If the heat is too low, then the noodles have a chance of absorbing the oil in the pan. The noodles are quickly fried and the bean sprouts are added. A moment later, the beef is added back to the pan and the beef chow fun is complete.

The popularity of beef chow fun has lead to some variations. Black bean paste or sauce is a popular addition, as are ginger and garlic. Chili peppers or red pepper flakes add a bit of bite to the dish. Many recipes also call for the addition of green onions and oyster sauce. The flavor of the basic recipe lends itself well to experimentation and new ingredients.

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fBoyle
Post 3

@ZipLine-- I think there are two ways of making beef chow fun. One way involves cooking the noodles with oil. Another way involves cooking the noodles in a sauce. I think the latter version is not very oily and might be more suitable for you.

ZipLine
Post 2

@literally45-- Beef chow fun is certainly not easy to make. In fact, it's a challenge for most chefs. So if you are eating a good beef chow fun at a restaurant, then that chef obviously knows what he or she is doing!

I actually find beef chow fun too oily. It tastes good but I feel like I'm getting a million calories and I don't have it very often. Rice noodles, like rice, also have a high glycemic index. So this dish is actually not good for everyone. My mom can't have it for example, because she has diabetes and it will raise her blood sugar quickly.

literally45
Post 1

Beef chow fun is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. I'm not really a rice person, I'm more of a noodle person. And I love dishes with thick, soft noodles and tasty sauces. So beef chow fun is right up my alley.

I like my beef chow fun a little spicy and I specifically ask for it that way at restaurants. I wish I could make this meal at home, but I'm sure that I could never make it like the restaurant style beef chow fun.

I actually didn't realize that cooks use a special wok and flame to fry the noodles just right. So this dish is more difficult to make than I thought.

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