Simplicity is at the heart of everyday Chinese cuisine. All you need is some basic staples such as ginger, spring onion, garlic, sesame oil, Shaoxing rice wine, oyster and soy sauces, throw in one or two more unusual ingredients from the local Asian grocer, and you’re ready to wok! This stir-fry recipe not only looks and tastes fabulous, it can easily be whipped up in minutes. Enjoy the dish as a quick mid-week meal or as part of an oriental feast that will impress the guests!

This dish is a twist on a classic Cantonese recipe of braised beef brisket noodle soup. Beef brisket is a cut of meat from the breast of beef or veal. In Chinese cuisine, it is normally braised in various spices over low heat to tenderise and flavour the meat. I usually buy braised beef brisket from any Chinese BBQ shop in Chinatown. You can substitute it with tender beef fillet (wagyu beef is highly recommended).

The other ‘exotic’ ingredients to be found in the local Asian grocer are: flat rice noodles (hor fun); baby gailan (also known as Chinese broccoli); and XO sauce, a seafood-based sauce made from dried scallops, dried shrimps, chillies, garlic and shallots. XO sauce is sometimes referred to as the ‘caviar of the orient’ and turns the ordinary stir-fry into extra-ordinary.

Beef brisket noodles with baby gailan stir-fried in XO sauce

Serves 2

Preparation time: 25 minutes (includes marinating), cooking time: 5 minutes.


  • 300 gram braised beef brisket (or fillet), trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 bunch of baby gailan
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 3 tsp oil, divided
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp XO sauce (if you can’t find this, add an additional tsp oyster sauce and 1 tsp light soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 80 ml chicken stock
  • 750 gram flat rice noodles (hor fun)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • A sprinkle of sesame seeds (to serve)


  • Combine and toss beef, rice wine, 1 tsp sesame oil and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to marinate.
  • While the beef is marinating, wash the gailan, trim 1cm from the end of stalks, remove and discard any rough skin. If stems are too thick, half the stem and cut into bite-sized pieces. Separate the stalks from leaves. Then blanch the gailan in boiling water, first putting in the stems to boil for 1 minute and then the leaves for another minute.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Sichuan pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, XO sauce, chicken stock and sugar.
  • Heat 2 tsp of oil in wok over high heat, add and stir-fry the noodles until golden brown, for around 3 minutes. Remove and set the noodles aside on a plate.
  • While the wok is hot, add 1 tsp of oil and stir-fry the beef for 30 seconds or until lightly brown. Remove and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic to the wok and sauté for a few seconds or until golden brown.
  • Return beef and noodles to the wok. Add the blanched gailan. Add the sauce mixture, 1 tsp of sesame oil and stir-fry for 1-2 minute.
  • Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top of the dish, and serve.

The next post ‘Wok Star (Part 2)’ will be for the vegie-lovers: stir-fried bean curd with spinach and water chestnut!


Mimi July 2, 2021 at 5:03 am

OMG! Tried it today – finished the whole jar in minutes!!!

Three-Cookies July 5, 2021 at 12:11 am

Wonderful combination. XO is a great sauce. Have you tried it as a sandwich spread? Addictive.

Just My Delicious July 5, 2021 at 8:35 pm

what a great blog! I`m so happy I found it! Here is so many inspirations and I love it! <3

the indolent cook July 5, 2021 at 10:40 pm

I haven’t even thought about this noodle dish for a long time – and now you’ve got me craving it! Looks so good!

Wendy July 6, 2021 at 7:44 am

I love quick, simple, delicious AND exotic recipes like this!

Cate Can Cook July 7, 2021 at 8:07 am

Looks great – I must try XO sauce – have been meaning to for a long time!

Foodieandthechef July 7, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Thanks Paula!

in the kitchen July 7, 2021 at 9:20 pm

yum yum yum!!! I love beef brisket!

A Little Less Vanilla July 8, 2021 at 9:25 am

I love dishes like this you can whip up in the wok at home. Pretty simple, fast, nutritious and incredibly tasty. It’s good to see what ingredients you put in so I can maybe tweak what I do to maybe make a better end result. I love rice noodles…

Eatmarvin July 8, 2021 at 6:38 pm

I love XO Sauce! I use it on just about anything. I like your recipe. It’s very easy to follow. Can’t wait for part 2. 🙂

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