Beef Chow Fun is a Cantonese noodle dish with haw fun, noodles made in broad sheets from a rice batter that is steamed on lightly oiled sheet pans. They are sold at room temperature on the day they are made, and are best used the same day. I know this to be true because I read it in Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.
I wasn't able to find the haw fun uncut, but my local Asian market had packages of fresh cut noodles. Score! I was so happy to find them, that I immediately bought them and ran to my car to head home, satisfied that I had hunted down the coveted ingredient. Then I realized I forgot the bean sprouts. Doh!!
When you are in an Asian shopping center on the weekend in southern California, parking is at a premium. Sometimes I'd just rather not go. I felt terrible walking to my car, deceiving the woman slowly following me into thinking I'd be leaving my prized parking space. I apologized profusely with many self deprecating gestures, she smiled (no Fried Green Tomatoes moment, fortunately), and I ran back into the store to pick up a bag of sprouts. I also decided to hit the soy sauce aisle (yes, a whole aisle) to pick up a bottle of Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce. The section was empty but for two bottles! Even though I didn't really need them, I scooped them up like they were gasoline in the Jimmy Carter era!
Step one: Assemble all of your ingredients. Flank steak, soy, cornstarch, sesame oil, fresh broad rice noodles, oyster sauce, Shao Hsing rice wine, ginger, garlic, fermented black beans (if you can't find them, try a tablespoon of black bean garlic sauce), bean sprouts, scallions, and white pepper.
Step two: wash and dry the bean sprouts.
Step three: Painstakingly separate a pound of haw fun into a snowy pile of noodles. It's a fun job for kids!
Step three: Mise en place.
The beef is marinated in the soy, corn starch, and sesame oil. The ginger and garlic are minced. The fermented beans are smashed, and the wine and oyster sauce are mixed together.
First you briefly stir fry the garlic and ginger, then you sear the marinated meat, add the the fermented beans, stir a bit, and then remove the mixture from the wok. At this point, you cook the noodles.
There was a lot of chatter on the Wok Wednesdays Facebook page about how the noodles stick, and indeed, mine did too, but not too badly. Mei Chau, whose amazing Malaysian style shrimp recipe knocked my socks off, weighed in on how to avoid too much sticking by stirring the noodles.
(By the way, it wasn't a big deal to get the stuck noodles off of the wok. A five minute soak in hot water was all it took. Woo hoo!)
Once the noodles are a bit crusty, you add the meat back in, as well as the bean sprouts and scallions and stir. Dinner for two!
Verdict? We devoured it. I really loved the added crunch from the bean sprouts.
P.S. In the book, the scallions are shredded rather than sliced. I also added some crushed red pepper to my half.
And we have steam!!!
To find the recipe, check out Grace Young's wonderful cookbook. The recipes are authentic and delicious. I've been at it for about two years, and it's an amazing adventure.