So, what’s the difference between Ho Fun (Haw Fun) and Wat Dan Hor? The eggs (wat dan) are mixed into the gravy. I’ve actually never had Wat Dan Hor until I moved to Cali, since my favorite dish is just plain Sup Chow Beef Ho Fun (though there’s nothing plain about that, either). Sup Chow Ho Fun is wide rice noodles stir fried and covered with a rich gravy, veggies and beef. This dish is usually served at lunch, or in combination with dim sum, and comes in variations of ‘wet’ (with gravy) or ‘dry’ (without gravy), and topped with either beef, chicken (ok, chicken might be a bit Americanized), pork, or seafood. I always preferred the ‘wet’ variety with lots of gravy, beef and veggies. That’s what happens when you grow up in a household where your dad requests everything with extra gravy or sauce on it.
I rarely made any sort of rice noodle dish in Rochester because by the time fresh noodles like that were shipped to the Asian markets, they were stale, frozen, or just old. I found mold on it once after I brought it home. I didn’t like dealing with them. Now that 99 Ranch is my best friend (one of the biggest Chinese supermarkets I’ve ever shopped at) I can get fresh rice noodles any time I want, along with fresh and CHEAP seafood, meat and veggies.
The version I’m making is Seafood Wat Dan Hor, with lots of shrimp and gai lan. One major thing I did different than the restaurants is thin out the gai lan stalks so they were easier to chew. I absolutely can’t stand trying to chew apart a huge gai lan stalk at a restaurant, pulling it apart with my teeth in front of everyone, and desperately trying to hold it with a pair of chopsticks without having it slip back down to my plate. Sometimes I get so frustrated I want to ask the waiter for a fork.
It’s happened to you before, I know it.
Wat Dan Hor (Rice Noodles with Gravy)
- • 2 lbs. rice noodles
- • 4 tsp. soy sauce
- • 1 tbsp. oil for stir frying
- • 1 lb. gai lan, or other veggies, washed
- • 12-16 medium shrimp, thawed and de-veined, sprinkled with salt and pepper
- Ingredients for Gravy:
- • 2 cups chicken broth
- • 1 1/2 tsp. oyster flavored sauce
- • 1 tsp. soy sauce
- • 1/2 tsp. sugar
- • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
- • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- • 2 eggs
- *Combine the first 6 gravy ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and have ready before stir frying
- Thickening Agent for Gravy:
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with a bit of cold water or chicken broth, until soupy
- Step 1 Pull apart the rice noodles, or slice the chunk of rice noodle into desired width. Separate noodles as much as possible so it will be easier to stir fry.
- Step 2 Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok on medium high heat. Add noodles, stir fry until they begin to soften and separate a bit. Add soy sauce, stir fry until noodles separate fully, and surface of noodles begin to brown, or even burn (this will add that delicious ‘wok hay’ taste). Set noodles aside in large dish.
- Step 3 If you want to opt out the shrimp and use meat, add 1 tsp. oil into wok and stir fry 4-6 oz. thinly cut chicken or beef until cooked. Set aside, then add back into gravy after it is thickened (between steps 3 and 4).
Instructions with Gravy:
I thinned out the gai lan stalks and had them ready as individual leaves. No more tearing with teeth at the dinner (or lunch) table.
Have the thickening agent prepared beforehand. I combined the cornstarch with a bit of chicken broth (didn’t want to dilute the gravy with an ounce of water, not one bit) until it was soupy enough to pour later on. The cornstarch and liquid will keep separating, so stir it once in awhile as you’re preparing/cooking the dish.
The rice noodles I bought at 99 ranch come pre-cut into a width thinner than what I would’ve preferred. I’ve noticed in most of the Cali restaurants, Ho Fun is thinner than on the East Coast. So, when in Rome, er, San Diego. You know what I mean.
Combine the first 6 ingredients of the gravy beforehand. Trust me – all this extra preparation will pay off later, and you won’t be scrounging around your kitchen looking for ingredients as your noodles will burn.
I would know.
Pull apart the rice noodles, or slice the chunk of rice noodle into desired width. Separate noodles as much as possible so it will be easier to stir fry. Rice noodles stick together a lot, so you won’t be able to pull them apart that much. The heat from the stir-frying will separate them.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok on medium high heat. Add noodles, stir fry until they begin to soften and separate a bit. Add soy sauce, stir fry until noodles separate fully, and surface of noodles begin to brown, or even burn (this will add that delicious ‘wok hay’ taste). Set noodles aside in large dish.
Turn the wok up to high, pour in the first 6 ingredients for gravy. Let come to a boil, then simmer on medium for 3-4 minutes.
Add in vegetables and cook until soft but crisp (gai lan took about 3-4 minutes). Add shrimp.
Once shrimp start turning orange, slowly spoon in cornstarch mixture until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon.
Turn heat off, crack two eggs into gravy. Stir until cooked and gravy has turned white.
Pour gravy onto the rice noodles, serve while hot.
This dish was easier than I thought. I actually made it taste as good as something I would order at a restaurant, if not better. The dish overall had enough flavor, something I never was able to do successfully (in my opinion). It wasn’t watered down tasting. Of course I added way more shrimp than most places would consider to add, since most places would skimp on the pricier ingredients. And of course cutting the gai lan made it more enjoyable.
Next time I will definitely try making regular Beef Ho Fun. It will be interesting to see which one you guys like more. As for me, it’s sort of a tie right now.
Have a great weekend everyone!!