I’m not really sure about the spelling of the dish. Hofan? Hofun? Ho fun? The dish itself is beef chow fun but most Chinese restaurants simply list it in the menu as beef hofan or beef hofun.
Whatever, really. Everyone who frequents Chinese restaurants know what it is. And this is not a recipe post because my recipe has not changed. It’s the same as the beef hofan recipe in the archive.
What’s different is the noodles. Ho fun noodles, the kind that go into this dish, are often hand made. I have not reached that skill level yet, I hope to someday but, until that time comes, I have to rely on store-bought noodles. In the past, that meant dried noodles that I cooked according to package directions. Not anymore. Speedy discovered vaccum-packed wide rice noodles at the newly-opened Robinson’s Supermarket here in Antipolo.
Not a word of English in the packaging so I can’t tell if it’s Japanese, Chinese or Korean. I can tell you, however, that they are so good — as good as they hand made stuff they serve in Chinese restaurants.
What’s inside the package?
Three packets of noodles. Each packet serves one person with a rather large appetite. I use two packets to serve three people.
How are the noodles prepared?
First, I rinse them. Then, I drop them in briskly boiling water and refresh them for a minute. Then, to make sure they don’t get soggy, I dump them in iced water before straining them.
Then, I toss them with my beef. And then we enjoy the best beef ho fun ever.
Beef Ho Fun
To marinate the beef
- 250 grams beef sirloin or top round or bottom round
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet rice wine
- 1 pinch baking soda
For the sauce
- 1 and 1/2 cups bone broth
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 half-inch knob ginger thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or corn starch dispersed in 2 tbsps. of water
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 drizzle sesame seed oil
To complete the dish
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 small bunch kailan (Chinese broccoli), cut up
- enough wide rice noodles for three people prepared as described above
Marinate the beef
- Thinly slice the beef (less than 1/4 inch thick is ideal) then cut into strips about half an inch wide. Place in a bowl.
- Stir together the soy sauce, rice wine and baking soda. Pour over the beef. Mix well. Cover the bowl and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
Make the sauce
- Pour the broth into a small sauce pan. Add the star anise, bay leaf, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Scoop out all the spices that you had thrown in earlier and discard.
- Pour in the starch solution. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and sesame seed oil. Taste. Add salt, if needed (not more soy sauce because you don’t want the sauce to turn super dark). Set aside.
Stir fry the dish
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Over extremely high heat, add the beef slices and cook until the beef starts to acquire some texture.
- Add the onion slices to the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Stir fry for half a minute.
- Throw in the kailan. Continue stir frying just until the greens start to wilt.
- Add the drained noodles to the beef. Pour in the sauce. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, just until the noodles are cooked through.
- Serve the beef ho fun at once.