Love ordering Beef Hofan from your favorite Chinese restaurant?
Bet you didn’t think it was so easy to make at home!
Beef Hofan was one of those dishes that we always ordered from restaurants and I never thought that I could easily make at home. What’s better is that you can totally customize the Beef Hofan to your liking! Not a fan of togue (bean sprouts)? Leave them out!
Beef Hofan is an easy dish that can be prepared in less than an hour, using ingredients that you can easily find in your pantry or in a big supermarket.
Let me show you how easy it is to make
BEEF HOFAN RECIPE
For this version, I’m using lean ground beef that I bought from S&R. I bought a tray while it was on promo. I used 1/3 of the tray of ground beef making a Red Bean Chili, and I used another 1/3 here. I am guessing I used around 500-600 grams of ground beef for this Beef Hofan.
Another reason I am using ground beef instead of beef slices is because I have to consider the senior citizens at home. They have a hard time eating sliced beef. Also, the previous times I made Beef Hofan before using beef sirloin, I used pre-sliced sirloin beef slices that had some litid (gristle). When I try to remove all the gristle, I end up with badly mangled beef that I might as well have used ground beef instead.
I realize it’s more of a “cut” issue than an actual “beef is tough” issue. The beef slices are actually quite tender – it’s the gristle that wasn’t removed properly before slicing that is causing problems. Easily remedied by buying whole loin meat and doing the meat cleaning and slicing myself. However, since I don’t have time for that right now I am avoiding that problem by switching to ground beef instead.
You can totally use sliced beef tenderloin, sirloin, or even wagyu if you want – just slice them thin and against the grain on the diagonal, to make sure they cook quickly and are tender.
- green onions or small leeks or onions, or any combination you want, sliced into strips (I used a lot because I like green onions / leeks, I used 4 large stalks)
- bean sprouts, if using (I skipped it since I didn’t have any on hand)
- rice noodles, 400g pack (thick or thin, doesn’t matter – it’s your preference)
For the beef:
- about 1/2 kilo beef (ground beef or tenderloin / sirloin slices, whichever you prefer)
- juice from a small, thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- a heaping teaspoon of sugar
- a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 tsp of soy sauce
- salt, about 2 teaspoons (I’m using regular sea salt)
- generous dashes of pepper
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil
For the sauce:
- 4 Tbsp cup dark soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 2-3 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
- salt & pepper, to taste
- sesame oil
- calamansi (optional)
- wansoy (coriander / cilantro) or kinchay (Chinese parsley), optional
Prepare beef in a mixing bowl. Grate the ginger and squeeze the juice on the beef. I bought this wasabi grater for like P66 or P88 at one of those Japanese dollar stores, I forgot which one 🙁 I use it for grating ginger, turmeric, etc… it’s one of the most frequently used items in our kitchen! It’s awesome for making the garlic dip for Hainanese Chicken!
If you don’t have one of these ceramic graters, just grate the ginger using a cheese grater (use the one with the smallest holes).
Add all the other seasonings for the beef and mix. Let the beef marinate while we prepare the rice noodles.
For the longest time, the problem I had with making Beef Hofan at home was because I didn’t want to make the ho fan noodles from scratch. I mean, where was I going to find ho fan noodles? A few years ago, these packaged rice noodles started popping up in supermarkets, initially sold for making pad thai, but they are the same noodles for making Ho Fan! They are usually found in the same aisle selling pasta, bihon, sotanghon, etc… I can’t remember the exact price but I think they are definitely less than P100 for a pack, I think around P80 (not sure)? I used thin rice noodles because they cook faster.
Other recipes just call for soaking the noodles in water, but I like to boil them. Like I said, the senior citizens in the house don’t like al dente.
Just put enough water in a pot, turn on the fire, put the rice noodles in and let it cook. You don’t even have to wait until the water is boiling to put the rice noodles in! Stir it once in a while, make sure that all the noodles are submerged. Add more water if needed. No need to salt the water.
The noodles will turn white when they are cooked. Try one rice noodle to check if it’s soft enough. DO NOT OVERCOOK IT. If it is too soft, it will break apart when we stir fry. Once it’s soft enough for your liking, drain the noodles into a colander. There’s no need to rinse it.
While waiting for the noodles to finish cooking, mix the sauce in a bowl. It’s just a simple sauce of dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar. Add several dashes of ground black pepper and a small amount of salt (just add more later if needed). Here I’m recommending using the store-bought finely ground black pepper and not the freshly ground one from your pepper mill. Beef Hofan is not one of those dishes where you want to bite into a big piece of black pepper.
The dark soy sauce is easily available at large supermarkets, usually in the same aisle as the Kikkomans and Lee Kum Kees. For those wondering, I’m using Pearl River Bridge Mushroom Flavored Superior Dark Soy Sauce. I’m sure it was around P100 for a bottle, definitely less than P200. It’s been a while since I bought it. I bought most of my ingredients from S&R
Stir fry the beef. If you really want it to taste authentic, you need to get that wok hay flavor. Wok Hay is basically that smokiness the food gets when stir-fried at really high heat. Most home kitchens don’t have the equipment for this, and neither do I. Most gas stoves sold for home use don’t produce enough heat, the fire is too weak. Don’t worry, the Beef Hofan will still be delicious without it. But if you really want to try and get the wok hay, set your heat to as high as possible, add a little oil, and quickly stir fry your beef. It should only take about 5-10 seconds of tossing at high heat. Set the cooked beef aside. Don’t worry if it’s not fully cooked yet, we will still be cooking it a bit more later.
Putting it all together. In the same pan, set heat to high, add a little bit of oil and stir fry the green onions for a few seconds (leave a little for garnishing). If you are using togue (bean sprouts), cook them with the green onions.
Working quickly, add the rice noodles, then add the soy sauce / oyster sauce mixture. Stir until the sauce is evenly mixed with the noodles, taking care not to break the rice noodles. I find using tongs makes things easier, especially when cooking such a big batch. If possible, use a non-stick wok because the noodles have a tendency to stick to the pan.
Add the beef. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Lower the heat, taste the beef hofan and adjust the seasoning. I usually add a sprinkle of kosher salt, a generous drizzle of sesame oil and mix again. Once you are satisfied with the seasonings, turn the heat off and plate.
Garnish with the green onions you set aside earlier. Enjoy!
You can also add some wansoy and squeeze some calamansi on it, as you like. I love Beef Hofan with a little calamansi, even if it’s not considered “authentic”
Since I made a big batch, I set some aside for another meal and for baon.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Now you know how to make Beef Hofan for your family at home. You can easily customize the flavors to suit what you like. We love this Beef Hofan recipe, and I have made it almost every month. The flavor is close to the best Beef Hofans I’ve had from local restaurants – the flavor of beef hofan is actually hard to describe. It’s actually more than just salty, sweet and savoury. The noodles are springy, soft and slippery.
Whenever any of us crave for Beef Hofan, it’s nice to know that I can easily whip up a big batch of it any time. Hope you try the recipe yourself. Let me know in the comments how it went!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!