Beef Chow Fun is a quick and easy Cantonese stir fry recipe with marinated tender beef and noodles. Simple and really tasty! The marinade doubles up as a stir-fry sauce that coats the noodles to perfection.
Not all stir fry recipes have to be a rainbow of colours. Beef Chow Fun usually consists of beef, noodles, beansprouts and onions.
Now that really is a plate of brown food!
I stick to a traditional approach, relying on a flavour-packed marinade (which doubles up as a stir-fry sauce) to ensure the beef is tender and noodles are so tasty, you might just stick to this one stir fry for the rest of your life! I do like to add a couple of extra veggies to mine - yellow peppers and baby spinach.
Here's what you'll need:
- Light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, minced ginger, garlic, sriracha and white pepper for the marinade/sauce. These flavours give a lovely combination of sweet, salty and spicy.
- Denver steak, cut against the grain for the stir fry. Denver steak is a great stir fry steak, as it's juicy, tender and pretty inexpensive. I've listed a few alternatives further down the post if want to use another cut.
- Rice noodles - cooked for just a couple of minutes, these noodles are slightly chewy and absorb flavours brilliantly.
- Onion, yellow bell pepper, beansprouts, spring onions and spinach, for a bit of colour, crunch and sweetness.
- All finished off with some sliced fresh chilli and sesame seeds for garnish
What's the best steak for beef stir fry?
- Denver steak: I love to use Denver steak - which comes from the front leg of the cow. It's cut from a single muscle and is lightly marbled throughout. This means it's a juicy and flavorful steak that stays tender after quick cooking over a high heat. Slice the steaks against the grain, and it will be tender, without being chewy.
- Sirloin steak: Cut from the upper middle of the cow, the top sirloin is extremely tender and juicy, but quite expensive. The bottom sirloin is a little less tender and therefore a little less expensive. Both the top and bottom sirloin is good for stir fry. If using the low sirloin, slice the meat more thinly, otherwise, it may be a little chewy.
- Skirt steak or flank steak: both cuts from the underside of the cow, the skirt steak is from the middle underside (plate) and the flank is a little further back on the underside. Both cuts are flavourful and suitable for high heat cooking. They're not as tender as denver or sirloin steak, so ideally you want to marinade them and slice them thinly across the grain before cooking.
How to make it
We are going to start by mixing the marinade together in a bowl. This is a really simple marinade, everything gets mixed in together.
Pour over the sliced steak, cover and marinade for 15-30 minutes.
Marinade the beef at room temperature. Doing this means the fibres in the steak will relax so that when it's cooked it will be succulent and juicy.
Whilst the steak is marinading we're going to cook the noodles.
PRO-TIP: How to stop the noodles from sticking
- Once they're cooked, drain in a colander and rinse in cold water until completely cold.
- Toss together with the 1 tsp of sesame oil and leave in the colander until needed.
Now we are going to cook the steak. Once it is cooked remove from the wok and move onto the veggies.
Cook the onion and pepper then add in the sauce.
Add the cooked noodles and beef back to the pan. Then add spinach and chopped spring onions.
Once the spinach has wilted, divide between four plates and serve topped with chilli slices and sesame seeds.
Boom! The best Beef Chow Fun you've ever tasted!
Yes! Ensure your rice noodles are gluten-free (rice noodles should technically be gluten-free, but some brands add wheat flour, so it's a good idea to check your brand).
Replace the soy sauce with tamari and use gluten-free oyster sauce.
Check your sriracha brand too, to ensure it's gluten-free (it usually is).
Yes, you can use chicken or pork for this Beef Chow Fun stir-fry. Replace the amounts like-for-like and follow the recipe in the same way.
I recommend eating this stir-fry right away. Cooking ahead and reheating the stir fry can cause the noodles to stick together and the meat to be chewier.
Add any other stir fry veg you like - broccoli, babycorn, carrot, bamboo shoots are all great additions.
Beef Chow Fun
- 1.1 lb (500g) Denver or skirt/flank steak, cut into strips (cut against the grain)
- 7 oz (200g) uncooked flat rice noodles
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ a white or brown onion - peeled and sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper - deseeded and sliced
- 2 cups (200g) fresh bean sprouts - or 1 can of canned beansprouts, drained
- 4 spring onions - /scallions, sliced into long, thin strips
- 2 cups (60g) fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 red chilli - thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds - (I use a mixture of black and white sesame seeds)
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- Place the sliced beef in a second bowl and add one third of the marinade. Stir together and, cover and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes. Cover the remaining sauce and put to one side.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to pack instructions (usually boil for 5 mins), then drain in a colander and rinse in cold water until completely cold. Toss together with the 1 tsp of sesame oil and leave in the colander until needed.
- Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok until smoking. Scoop out half of the beef from the bowl and fry on high for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. Remove from the wok and place in clean bowl, then repeat with the remaining beef.
- Add the remaining ½ tbsp oil to the wok and fry the onions for 2 minutes.
- Add in the yellow pepper and cook for 1 minute, then add in the reserved marinade/sauce and bring to the boil.
- Add in the noodles and beansprouts and cook for 3-4 minutes- tossing the noodles every so often (carefully so as not to break them) - until completely heated through.
- Add in the beef and cook for a further minute.
- At the last minute, stir in the spring onions (scallions) and spinach.
- Divide between four plates and serve topped with chilli slices and sesame seeds.
Replace the soy sauce with tamari and use gluten-free oyster sauce.
Check your sriracha brand too, to ensure it's gluten-free (it usually is). Can I use chicken instead? Yes, you can use chicken or pork for this stir-fry. Replace the amounts like-for-like and follow the recipe in the same way. Can I make it ahead? I recommend eating this stir-fry right away. Cooking ahead and reheating the stir fry can cause the noodles to stick together and the meat to be chewier. What other veggies could I add? Add any other stir fry veg you like - broccoli, babycorn, carrot, bamboo shoots are all great additions. Nutritional Information is per serving.
This Beef Chow Fun recipe was first published in August 2015. Updated in November 2019 with new photos, tips and video. Updated in Jun 2020 with more information, process shots, FAQ's and for housekeeping reasons.
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