January 29, 2012
Beef Fried Rice Noodle
This was the very first dish I had in a Chinese restaurant, and I both adore it and hold it to high standards. It's a tricky one to be sure - careful handling is needed to ensure that the noodles do not become either greasy or mushy. It's also often overloaded with bean sprouts, which puts a lot of people off it entirely, but I don't mind bean sprouts, actually. There's none in the picture simply because I don't tend to keep them around generally, and I didn't remember to pick some up on my way home from work. The loss is negligible, really, especially if you serve the dish with some nice gingered broccoli. It really does need a vegetable on the side, in my books, to feel like a meal.
Now, it should be noted, that while I mentioned that I am picky about this dish, my version includes an ingredient which is not usually found in it (black bean sauce), but I do enjoy the depth of flavour that it brings, so I'm keeping it. Since I use a low sodium version of soy sauce, my dish is not as darkly coloured as some, so if you want a darker overall look, substitute some dark soy sauce in the sauce mixture. Do keep in mind that this is a very sodium-intense dish, though - a little less is probably better for you.
Now, I suspect some of you may be saying "wait a minute! She's got "convertible to vegan" in her tags!" Yep. To convert this dish to vegan, all you need to do is use a combination of sliced mushrooms and/or fried tofu (atsu-age) instead of the beef, and a vegan-friendly sweetener (such as agave). It's still going to be delicious, but it might need a new name.
As for Gluten-Free? Simply ensure you are using one of the GF versions of soy sauce and black bean sauce (or skip the black bean sauce and use a little extra soy sauce in that case, right at the end).
Beef Fried Rice Noodle
Serves 4 (as part of a meal)
Total Prep & Cooking Time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
200 grams thinly sliced beef
600 grams fresh wide rice noodle (ho fun)
1 cup trimmed bean sprouts
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green onion
Marinade for beef
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon beef concentrate
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and add the beef, stirring well to make sure it is thoroughly coated.
Wash and dry the sprouts (trim the dragging tails, if you like). Wash the green onions and cut into matchstick-lengths (full disclosure - in the picture above, I erred by forgetting to prep the green onions, so I sliced them thinly and added them as a garnish, after the picture was taken). Slice the yellow onion (pole to pole) in long slices.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup and set aside.
Separate the noodles onto a plate - if they are really stuck together, place them in a large pot of almost-boiled water (the heat should be off) and let them sit for about five minutes, giving a stir occasionally, until they separate. Drain immediately into a colander. If the noodles separate nicely without the soaking step, give them a quick microwave-zap for a minute or two, until they are hot. This will prevent over stirring later.
Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add the garlic, then the bean sprouts and green onions, fry for a minute or two, then remove them to a warm plate. Lift the beef slices out of the marinade, and quickly stir fry them until they are mostly cooked. Remove the beef to the plate with the bean sprouts. Add the second tablespoon of peanut oil, and quickly stir fry the onions until just tender-crisp - they should be translucent, but not too floppy. Quickly add the hot noodles, the reserved marinade from the beef, and the sauce ingredients, and stir and toss the noodles until thoroughly coated and hot throughout. Add the beef and sprouts back into the pan, and continue to stir and toss until everything is nice and integrated. Serve hot, with extra soy sauce and/or chile oil on the side (and a nice green vegetable, too, ideally).