rice noodles

I love buying fresh rice noodles. I find them in my go-to Southeast Asian Grocery store, formerly known as Vien Dong. I imagine these stores are throughout California-Orange County, LA, Sacramento, San Francisco. The rice noodles in their packaging look like they were just dropped off that morning, with steam surfacing the plastic.

It’s important that you don’t put them in the refrigerator when you get home, otherwise they’ll get hard. Similar to anything fresh, it’s best to try to make something out of them that day or the following. I of course turn to my girl Grace Young. I’ve tried this recipe (below) before and we love it. It’s all about texture-the grain of the beef, the watery crisp bean sprouts, and the wet and soft rice noodles.

Beef Chow Fun

8 ounces lean flank steak

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons constarch

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 pound fresh broad rice noodles (1 sheet)

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed

3 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and patted dry (about 6 ounces)

1/2 cup finely shredded scallions

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper.


-Cut the beef with the grain into 2-inch-wide-strips. Cut each strip across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put the beef in a shallow bowl and add the soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Leaving the noodles as a slab, cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Using your hands, separate and loosen the strips to make about 4 cups. In a small bowl combine the oyster sauce and rice wine.

-Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, add the ginger and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the aromatics to the sides of the wok, carefully add the beef and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear. Add the fermented beans and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through. Transfer the beef to the plate.

-Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil into the wok, add the noodles, and spread evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute or until the noodles are slightly crusty. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry 1 minute or until the sprouts are just limp. Return the beef with any juices that have accumulated to the wok, add the scallions, sprinkle on the pepper and oyster sauce mixture, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the beef is just cooked.





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