Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli (干炒牛河)

Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli | Omnivore's CookbookBeef chow fun with Chinese broccoli is rich in flavor, fulfilling in volume, low in calories and balanced in nutrition. The tender and juicy beef, silky and gooey rice noodles, and fresh and crisp broccoli all come together to create a heavenly dish that is hard to resist.

Beef chow fun or stir fried rice noodles with beef (干炒牛河) is a popular Cantonese noodle dish in domestic and overseas Chinese restaurants. It seems like a simple dish, but it requires considerable stir fry skills to make properly. Actually, preparation of this dish is widely used as an entry-level test for someone applying to be a chef in a Cantonese restaurant.

Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli | Omnivore's Cookbook

It usually requires a wok and a gas range, so that the noodles will be cooked quickly over high heat. In restaurant kitchens, the chef will hold the wok in one hand and toss the noodles into the air repeatedly, so the sauce will be mixed evenly without breaking any of the noodles. However, if you do not have a wok with a single handle, or don’t have the necessary arm strength to perform the feat, wok tossing will look very daunting. That’s why I have been experimenting with a flat skillet, trying to find an easier way to cook this dish in the home kitchen.

Good news! I found that it’s totally possible to cook super delicious beef chow fun like the kind you’d find in a restaurant. I made a video below to help you walk through the cooking process.

Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli | Omnivore's Cookbook

The tricky part is to stir fry the rice noodles without them sticking to each other or overcooking it into a mush. I have several tips to help you avoid such cooking failures.

  1. Rinse rice noodles in warm water thoroughly without over cooking beforehand. I usually use half boiling water and half cold water to soak the noodles for about 10 minutes. You should taste a noodle after 8 minutes to test the doneness. The rice noodles should just be cooked outside and still a bit tough inside.
  2. Rinse noodles under cold water to stop cooking process.
  3. Toss the noodles several times with a spoonful of sesame oil (or vegetable oil) before adding them into the skillet, so they won’t stick together in the stir frying process.
  4. Swirl a large spoonful of water over the noodles if they start to feel sticky during stir frying.
  5. Use a pair of chopsticks to stir gently, instead of using a spatula.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook quickly.

I admit this is not the most authentic way to cook rice noodles, but it’s hassle-free and very practical in a less equipped kitchen. I hope you find the recipe and tips helpful, because this is such a tasty dish that I truly wish everyone who wants to try will get great results!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and the short video! If you are new to Chinese cooking, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel. I have a collection of cooking videos that is focused on Chinese cuisine, which will help to get familiar with preparing Chinese dishes in a very short time.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2
  • 150 grams beef sirloin or tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 150 grams dried rice noodle
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 20 grams green onion, chopped
  • 150 grams Chinese broccoli, tough end removed
  1. Slice beef thinly, each piece being bite sized and 3 to 4 mm (0.1 to 0.15 in) thick. Place sliced beef in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Use a hand to gently mix the beef and the added ingredients, until the beef is coated with a thin layer of the mixture. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature, or up to 3 hours in the fridge.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Cook rice noodles according to the instructions until almost cooked through, but still a bit chewy inside. Run rice noodles with cold water and drain.. To avoid sticky rice noodles during stir fry, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil on the drained noodles. Gently toss noodles by hands to separate and evenly cover them with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of oil into the skillet and turn back to medium high heat. Add Chinese broccoli into the skillet and stir with a spatula. When broccoli is evenly coated with oil, add 2 tablespoons water, cover with lid immediately and steam over medium heat until broccoli is cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a plate and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat until warm. Place beef slices into the skillet one at a time. Do not let the slices overlap. Cook until the bottom side of the beef is seared and has turned light brown, about 1 minute. Flip the beef and cook until the other side turns light brown, but so that the beef is still rare inside, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn to lowest heat and transfer beef to a plate immediately.
  6. In the same skillet, add 1 teaspoon of oil and turn to medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, onion and green onion. Stir continuously for 1 to 2 minutes, until onion turns soft.
  7. Add noodles (or rice noodles) into the skillet and drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil onto the noodles. Immediately use a pair of chopsticks to stir the noodles, to mix them with oil and vegetables. If the noodles start to get sticky, swirl in 2 tablespoons water. Add the beef back into the skillet and pour the soy sauce mixture (from step 2) over the beef. Immediately use a pair of chopsticks to stir several times. Add broccoli back into the skillet and mix everything well together. Turn off heat immediately.
  8. Transfer noodles to a plate and serve warm.

The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 2 servings generated from the recipe.

Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli cooking process | Omnivore's Cookbook


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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24 thoughts on “Beef Chow Fun with Chinese Broccoli (干炒牛河)

  1. Meggan | Culinary Hill

    Beef Chow Fun is one of my favorite dishes to order out! It’s so good, and of course I was oblivious to how tricky it might be to cook. 🙂 Once again you make authentic cuisine accessible to the masses. Thank you for sharing your expertise! I always learn something when I stop by your blog!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks Meggan! Yes, beef chow fun is quite difficult to cook at home and I failed so many times! I’m glad my own experience is helpful 🙂

      1. Meggan | Culinary Hill

        I really enjoyed your YouTube video too! Random unrelated question… what is the song that you have playing in the background? If you are allowed to disclose, and want to. I only ask because my toddler was totally jamming out to it while we watched you cook. 🙂 How do you find music like that for your videos? So professional!

      2. Maggie Post author

        Glad you both like the music!
        The background music calls “Spring in my Step”. It’s a royalty free music from YouTube. If you have a YouTube account, you can find it by clicking your profile picture, go to “Creator Studio”. It’s under Create/Audio Library. I always use filter to look for “bright” or “happy” songs 🙂
        If you google “royalty free” music, it will come with a lot of good background songs too. Internet is indeed a great pool for all sorts of resources!

  2. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Maggie!!! OH MY GAWD! I am making beef chow fun today because my friend posted a photo on Facebook and made me hungry!! 😛 love the video. . I also have a ceramic knife! this looks sooooo good!!! Beef Chow Fun is one of my fave Chinese food dishes. love learning about how chefs prepare it in restaurant kitchens! Cool fact! love this!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Love using my ceramic knife! It’s so sharp and could cut vegetables easily and without smash them.
      Glad you like this one. I can never cook like the chef in Chinese restaurant… Really need a lot of workouts until I can hold wok by one hand 😛

    1. Maggie Post author

      This dish is indeed intimidating! Rice noodles are quite delicate and it’s so easy to overcook or under-cook them. Restaurant chef uses great amount of oil to make the noodles tasty and not sticky, but I really don’t want that much oil in homemade dish. Let me know if you tried it out!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Michelle, I’m glad you like my video! It’s a new thing I started to try out a few months ago, and I often doubt about whether it’s useful. If it could help you with Chinese cooking, even just a bit help, I will feel the time was well spent! 🙂

  3. Kelly - Life Made Sweeter

    We LOVE beef chow fun and yours looks absolutely mouthwatering, Maggie! Every time I make it at home I always feel like it is never quite the same as what we get in the restaurant – I guess because we don’t have a gas oven hehe. Thanks so much for the great tips – yours looks perfect and definitely restaurant quality so I’m so excited to try it 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      I totally agree that home cooking chow fun is always different from the one in the restaurant. The gas oven they use is ridiculously huge and you have no idea how much oil they pour on the noodles. I don’t feel like to use too much oil in the dish, so I’m afraid the noodles are still not as moist as in the restaurant. Let me know how it goes if you tried it out! 🙂

  4. Monica

    Oh yeah – this is one of our all-time favorite dishes (we like it dry like this or the kind with sauce). You did an amazing job getting that authentic char on the meat and it just looks so appetizing. Thanks for the excellent tips!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks Monica! If you marinate the beef with soy sauce before cooking, you could get the char easily during stir fry.
      Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks for sharing Michelle! For this dish, the freshly cooked one will taste better. So I’d suggest to try it out at a restaurant instead of ordering takeout. But no matter either way, hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      Pretty sure it’s possible. For example, use tofu to replace the beef and use vegetarian oyster sauce. I’ll try to develop this recipe and keep you updated.

  5. J-Mom

    Life saver! I did this tonight. Didn’t take much time and was able to get food on table in time. I used broccolini since I cannot get Chinese broccoli. But it tasted great. The bitterness that bothered me with a different recipe didn’t register. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Maggie Post author

      You’re the most welcome and glad to hear the dish turns out great! I love using broccolini in my stir fried noodles too. Fried noodles is one of my favorite ways to get dinner onto the table. So fast and delicious 🙂