Brown sugar added to black bean-garlic sauce is what gives this stir-fry its unmistakable Chinese takeout flavor. The recipe for beef chow fun works equally well with tofu for a vegetarian meal or boneless, skinless chicken breast. Serve with sliced cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2011


Recipe Summary

30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Fill a large nonstick skillet with water and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Wipe the pan dry.

  • Combine Shao Hsing (or sherry), black bean-garlic sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Add vegetables and 1/4 cup water; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the noodles. Wipe the pan dry.

  • Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook, stirring, until browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir the reserved sauce and add to the pan; cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Return the noodles and vegetables to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 cup water; cook, tossing to coat with the sauce, until heated through, about 2 minutes more.


Notes: Look for dried wide rice noodles, sometimes called “Pad Thai noodles” or “straight-cut,” in the Asian-food section at most supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Annie Chun's brand now makes brown rice noodles that are becoming more widely available. We like to use them in place of regular rice noodles because they have 4 grams of fiber per serving versus 0 grams in noodles made with white rice.

Shao Hsing, or Shaoxing, is a seasoned rice wine. It is available in most Asian specialty markets and in the Asian section of some larger supermarkets.

Sherry, a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain, is an acceptable substitute. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets--it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, get dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines at your wine or liquor store.

Black bean-garlic sauce, a savory, salty sauce used in Chinese cooking, is made from fermented black soybeans, garlic and rice wine. Find it in the Asian-foods section of most supermarkets or at Asian markets. Refrigerate for up to 1 year.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts

380 calories; protein 16.2g; carbohydrates 55g; dietary fiber 2.6g; sugars 4g; fat 7.5g; saturated fat 1.3g; cholesterol 29.6mg; vitamin a iu 1501.2IU; vitamin c 22.3mg; folate 9.5mcg; calcium 86.7mg; iron 1.4mg; magnesium 22.9mg; potassium 221.2mg; sodium 722.3mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 1g.

Reviews (4)

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5 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 3 stars
Easy one pan dinner for weeknights This is a really nice meal for weeknights when I'm tired and the kids are hungry. It's relatively easy to make and you only use one pan (less dishes to clean is a major bonus in my house). The noodles made it filling (I used lo main noodles) and the sauce was decent a bit bland but flavorful enough to go back for seconds. Will make again but didn't knock my socks off. Pros: quick simple kids liked it Cons: somewhat bland Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Needs a Kick As the other reviewers have stated the sauce was a little bland. I feel it needs some sort of pepper to spice it up and add the heat element. Also I had to use the dry sherry since my grocery stores did not the recommended sauce. Overall the dish was good. The sauce does have a nice mellow flavor that compliments the steak in the dish. Good dish needs spice. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
good but can be improved I doubled the ginger and soy added garlic and increased the black bean paste with garlic. Dry sherry worked okay. I also added a tsp. of fish sauce (though oyster sauce could work as well) and decreased the water to 1/3 cup. You could also add pepper if you wish. I used fresh rice noodles from an Asian market. Boil them for about three minutes then lay them out on a broiler pan covered with Release foil and spray with oil. Broil til brown (turn if you like). They become crispy and delicious. Pros: Lots of sauce quick to prepare. Cons: a little bland Read More
Rating: 2 stars
not so fun In this recipe's defense my rating may have more to do with cook failure. First of all I used the box directions on rice noodles because last time I boiled them they became gummy. However the box directions has them soak for 30-45 minutes and they were still way too firm. So I brought the water to a boil and they overshot AGAIN. So my noodles were gummy. Also I substituted sherry for the Shao Hsing and the sauce wasn't very tasty-and it WASN'T cooking sherry. Anyway I would love any advice on rice noodles. I don't get them. Pros: colorful Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious but gluten-free? Careful... Be careful when making Asian dishes that call themselves "gluten-free." Almost all soy sauce teriyaki etc. contains wheat. "San J" makes a gluten-free Organic Tamari (soy sauce) that is delicious though. Happy cooking! Pros: Rice noodles make for tasty gluten-free noodle dishes Cons: Soy sauce is generally not gluten-free Read More