Fast and Flavorful: Singaporean Beef Hor Fun Stir-Fry – A Shortcut to Authentic Hawker Cuisine
If you need a speedy noodle stir fry, this Dry Beef Hor Fun is for you. There are a couple of variations of the Singapore Beef Hor Fun, a gravy version and this dry stir fry. They’re both delicious and offer a different experience, but this dry Beef Hor Fun is for sure the quicker noodle.
This delightful dish combines velvety smooth rice noodles, succulent slices of beef, and a blend of seasoning sauces to create that savoury, slightly sweet flavour that will leave you craving for more.
At the heart of Beef Hor Fun lies its simplicity. The dish typically consists of flat rice noodles (known as “hor fun” in Singapore) that are stir-fried over high heat to impart a delightful smoky flavour. Tender slices of beef, marinated with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, are then added to the wok, infusing the noodles with their savoury essence. Dark soy sauce is the main seasoning used in this dish, giving it that gorgeously appetising caramelised colour. Fresh vegetables such as bean sprouts and leafy greens end off the dish with a delightful crunch.
Why People Will Love this Dry Beef Hor Fun Recipe:
- Quick & Easy: Noodle stir fries are my all-time favourite meals to have on the weekend because they are SO quick and easy to prepare – especially once you gather the necessary ingredients.
- FAKE that Wok Hei: In this post I will show you how you can replicate that wok smokiness at home.
- Flavourful and Satisfying: Beef Hor Fun is a dish that satisfies both your cravings for comfort food and your desire for robust flavors. The combination of beef flavours, smoky charred noodles, and aromatic sauces is a winner!
- Versatile and Customisable: One of the joys of Beef Hor Fun is its versatility. While the classic version features beef, you can easily adapt the recipe to suit your preferences by substituting it with chicken, seafood, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. The dish also lends itself well to various additions, such as mushrooms, chilies, or fried shallots, allowing you to customise it to your liking.
Key Ingredients for Beef Hor Fun
- Beef: I used shabu shabu beef, which are thinly sliced beef that are meant to be used for hot pots. They are available very easily here (I just use frozen ones), but if that is hard to come by for you, thinly sliced beef sirloin or flank steak against the grain.
- Rice Noodles (Hor Fun): These wide, flat rice noodles are the star of the dish. I have SO MANY recipes on this blog featuring these noodles because I love how soft and chewy they are. The texture easily soaks up the flavours of the sauce and other ingredients. Feel free to use any other rice noodles of choice, such as kway teow or even soaked pad thai noodles.
- Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is a key seasoning in Beef Hor Fun. It provides salt with a hint of sweetness, but the main purpose is to give the noodles the characteristic dark colour. You can also use kicap manis, or dark sweet soy sauce. Don’t skip light soy sauce though! Light soy sauce will give it salt, and I like to add some oyster sauce for a layer of umami. Regular soy sauce adds saltiness and depth of flavor, while dark soy sauce gives the dish its characteristic dark color.
- Garlic and Ginger: These aromatic ingredients are essential for adding depth and fragrance to the dish. I like to add onions as well. I kept my ginger whole and in big slices, so I can easily remove them. Alternatively you can grate the ginger in – if so, half the amount used in the recipe.
- Vegetables: Bean sprouts and Chinese greens (such as bok choy or choy sum) are commonly added for a bump in nutrients and a nice freshness and texture to the dish. I used Yau Mak Chye or Chinese lettuce in this recipe.
How to Achieve Wok Hei at Home
Let me preface this section by saying: wok hei is OPTIONAL!
One of the key flavour profiles of hawker-style Beef Hor Fun is the ‘wok hei’, or the “breath of the wok”. This is that unique smoky flavour in the noodles imparted by stir frying over high heat. It is quite impossible to truly replicate those flavours at home, unless you have a giant fire! In this recipe, I’ll show how to get as close to that ‘wok hei’ flavour.
Coat the noodles with dark soy sauce to season, as well as help to caramelise the noodles. Then using a high heat on a pan, add the noodles and allow the noodles to pan fry. The bottom of the noodles will start to char and caramelise, and almost crisp. Not all the noodles will develop the char, and this is ok! The random spots of char is what you will get with hawker versions as well. Carefully flip the noodles to the other side and continue to char. Once you’re happy with the char, remove from pan. Again, you should have random spots of char across the noodles.
It’s a simple and straightforward method, but I have to admit I skip this at times too. Even without the ‘wok hei’ flavour, this dish is still delicious!
How to Make Beef Hor Fun Stir Fry
Step 1: Coat Noodles with Dark Soy Sauce
Prepare noodles according to packet instructions. If using fresh noodles, I like to give it a rinse under water to remove some of the cheap oil it’s typically coated with.
Add dark soy sauce, and gently work with your hands to coat the noodles. If the noodles are (common with fresh noodles that have been left in the fridge for a couple of days), you can splash some water on it and warm it up in the microwave to soften it again. Otherwise be gentle so you don’t break the noodles too much.
Step 2: Pan Fry the Hor Fun Noodles (fake the wok hei)
Heat a pan or wok over high heat. Adding oil is optional.
Once hot, add the hor fun noodles, and spread it out in the pan.
Leave it alone for about 2 minutes or so, to allow the bottom to develop a char.
Carefully flip to the other side – doesn’t have to be evenly flipped – and allow to char for another 2 minutes. Some parts will achieve caramelisation, and a slight crisp.
This step is optional. You can also just stir fry the noodles to cook.
Remove from pan.
Step 3: Stir Fry Aromatics
Add onions, ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
Step 4: Cook and Season the Beef
Add beef next, and season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and black pepper. Stir fry to cook.
Step 5: Add Back Noodles
Once beef cooks, add back the noodles, and vegetables. Stir fry to cook and heat through. Once vegetables are tender, take it off the heat and serve immediately! Noodles are great with some cili cuka or pickled green chillies.
More Recipes Like This
- Char Kway Teow | Singapore Fried Rice Noodles
- Pad See Ew | Thai Stir Fried Rice Noodles
- Singapore Hor Fun Noodles (‘wok hei’ rice noodles in slurpy egg gravy)
Dry Beef Hor Fun Stir FryCourse: Recipes
150g Hor Fun or fresh flat rice noodles
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
150g beef, thinly sliced
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bean sprouts
2-3 stalks Chinese greens (yau mak chye or bok choy or chye sim)
- In a bowl, combine rice noodles with 1 tsp of dark soy sauce. Gently toss to coat.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the surface. Add the coated rice noodles and spread in the pan. Allow one side to char for 2 minutes and gently flip to the other side. Continue to char. Remove from the wok and set aside.
- In the same wok, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for a minute until fragrant. Add the sliced onion and continue stir-frying for another minute until the onion is translucent.
- Add the beef slices next. Season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and black pepper. Stir fry to cook.
- Once beef is cooked, add back the noodles. Add the bean sprouts and vegetables as well. Stir fry to combine everything together. Once greens are wilted but still vibrant in colour, turn off the heat.
- Serve immediately and enjoy! Beef Hor Fun is best enjoyed with Pickled Green Chilies.