Ho fun (He fun, shahe fun) is a wide flat rice noodle, popular in Southern China especially in Guangdong province. It is normally stir fried with meat or vegetables. Those stir fried ho fun dishes are named as chow fun in Cantonese for example this beef chow fun. Ho fun is also great in soup dishes. This ho fun soup uses a beef brisket broth flavored with spices (清炖牛腩河粉). It is one of Elaine’s favorite warm noodle soup in cool morning. I used to have two bowls in the restaurants near our local market with my husbands every Sunday.
In the city where Elaine is living, people love to eat ho fun soup and chow fun as breakfast. Fresh ho fun can be found in almost every market. There is a narrow version and a wide version. Both of them are great for ho fun soups. You can try to search fresh ho fun on market. If fresh version is hard to find, you may use dried version and pre-soak them until soft before using.
The beef soup base flavored by spices and herbs is the key step of a successful ho fun beef noodle soup. Firstly, to prevent the spices mixing in the soup base, soak the spices and wrap them with a gauze and tide it with a rope or a gauze strip.
Place the beef cubes in clean water, bring to boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Transfer out and drain.
Heat up oil and fry ginger, green onion and garlic slices until aroma, and fry the beef cubes for 2-3 minutes until slightly brown on surface. Pour enough water and add the spice bag in. Simmer for 2 hours until the beef is soft enough. I transfer the soup to a high pressure cooker and cook for just 30 minutes. If you are using normal pot, remember to add extra 1/2 L water in consideration of water evaporation.
Since the ho fun noodle is steamed previously, do not overcook them. Blanch in boiling water for around 15-20 seconds and transfer out immediately. For dried version, check the instructions on the bag.
- 500 g fresh ho fun noodle , if you are using dried ones, pre-soak 300g until soft
- 1 pound beef brisket , cut into middle size chunks
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 green onions , whites and green part chopped separately
- 1 thumb ginger , sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , sliced
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 3-4 L clean water
- Pinch of salt
- Coriander , chopped for topping
- 1 head leafy vegetable
- 2-3 star anises
- 1 bay leave
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 bark cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 nutmeg
- 1 cardamom
Soak the spices with clean water for around 10 minutes. And then wrap with gauze. Seal with a rope or gauze strip. This will prevent the spices mixing with the soup.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the beef brisket for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the beef brisket out and rinse under running water to clean. Drain.
Heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, fry garlic, ginger and ginger for 1-2 minutes over slow fire or until aroma. Place beef brisket in and fry for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add light soy sauce and continue frying for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour enough water to pot.
Place the spice gauze bag in and simmer for 2-3 minutes or transfer to high pressure cooker and cook for 30 minutes. Add salt before assembling. (Note 2)
Bring water to boil and rinse ho fun noodles for 30- 40 seconds. Rinse lettuce leaves too. Transfer noodle and lettuce leaves to serving bowl.
Top ho fun noodle soup bowl with beef brisket, chopped green onion and chopped coriander and scoop beef soup to cover the noodles. Serve hot!
I match this soup with chopped green onion and coriander and sliced white radish salad- a shredded version is introduced here.
If you do not have high pressure cooker on hand, simmer the beef soup for 2 hours or until the beef brisket is well softened. Add slightly more water (around 1/2 L), considering the water evaporation in simmering process.