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How do I Make Chow Fun?

Making Chow Fun begins with flat rice noodles, stir-fried with a savory mix of proteins and veggies. The secret lies in the wok's high heat and the balance of soy sauce and oyster sauce for that authentic flavor. Want to master the art of this beloved Cantonese dish? Join us as we unveil the steps to perfecting your own Chow Fun.
Janis Adams
Janis Adams

Known as shahe fen in China, chow fun is a rice noodle dish that is stir fried, most commonly with beef and vegetables. There are many combinations of this basic dish that substitute chicken or seafood for the beef. Chow fun is also made as a vegetarian dish, with bean curd and bean sprouts along with the traditional vegetables of the meat version.

To make chow fun, the noodles should be purchased fresh, as they do not freeze or dry well. When purchased fresh, these noodles must be hand cut. This allows the cook to size the noodles to his or her personal preference. The traditional way to cut the noodle is in a wide form, similar to the width of the Italian pasta fettuccine.

Beef and vegetables are usually added to noodles to make chow fun.
Beef and vegetables are usually added to noodles to make chow fun.

Due to their high absorbency, the broad noodles used for chow fun tend to soak up the flavorings from whatever they are cooked with. Their texture rather than their taste makes chow fun noodles so unique. Prior to cooking the noodles, it is best to rinse them in warm water, which allows the noodles to cook evenly and to remain whole during the cooking process. Often when the noodles are not rinsed, they will tear instead of remaining in one long piece when being stirred.

Rice noodles are used to make chow fun.
Rice noodles are used to make chow fun.

The cooking time for the noodles is very short. If the noodles are overcooked, they become gooey and sticky and do not maintain their shape. Some cooks choose to merely pass the noodles through boiling water or even to simply wash them while in a strainer with boiling water.

As chow fun is cooked in a wok, the stir-frying process is twofold. First, the ingredients, such as the meat and vegetables and any sauce, are cooked. Once finished cooking, these ingredients are removed from the wok. A small amount of oil is then added to the wok. Once the oil is quite hot, garlic is traditionally added to the oil. As soon as the garlic has lightly browned, the noodles are then stir fried until they are brown.

With its high smoking point and mild flavor, peanut oil is ideal for making chow fun.
With its high smoking point and mild flavor, peanut oil is ideal for making chow fun.

As the noodles are the focal point of the dish, they must be watched constantly during the cooking process so that they do not over-cook. Once cooked, all the ingredients that were cooked separately from the noodles are then added to the noodles in the wok. Noodles and the other ingredients are tossed together and then served steaming hot.

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    • Beef and vegetables are usually added to noodles to make chow fun.
      By: JJAVA
      Beef and vegetables are usually added to noodles to make chow fun.
    • Rice noodles are used to make chow fun.
      By: Red Rice Media
      Rice noodles are used to make chow fun.
    • With its high smoking point and mild flavor, peanut oil is ideal for making chow fun.
      By: WimL
      With its high smoking point and mild flavor, peanut oil is ideal for making chow fun.