Looking to make a delicious and authentic Hu Tieu Xao dish at home? Our guide will show you how to prepare this popular Vietnamese dish, from blanching the squid to creating the perfect sauce. Learn how to balance sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors, adjust seasoning to your taste preferences and avoid common mistakes. With our tips and tricks, you can create a flavorful and aromatic Hu Tieu Xao that will impress your family and friends.
- Cook the noodles just right: Overcooking or oversoaking them can make them mushy and lose their chewy texture, while undercooking them can make them tough to eat.
- Balance the flavors: Hu Tieu Xao is about achieving a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors that complement each other.
- Use high-quality ingredients: To create an authentic and delicious Hu Tieu Xao, it's essential to use high-quality ingredients, especially for the sauce.
What is Hu Tieu Xao
Hu Tieu Xao is a delectable Vietnamese dish that has gained widespread popularity due to its scrumptious flavors and versatility. The term "Hu Tieu" refers to the type of noodles used in southern Vietnam, where the Hu Tieu noodle soup is a well-loved staple. "Xao," on the other hand, translates to "fried," resulting in the mouth-watering name "Hu Tieu Xao" or "fried noodles."
The noodles used in Hu Tieu Xao are larger, flat rice noodles, similar to those found in Pad Thai, Char Kuey Teow, and Chow Fun dishes in Thailand, Malaysia, and China, respectively. These noodles offer a delightfully chewy texture that elevates the dish to a new level.
Ingredients you'll need:
- 1 lb large fresh, flat rice noodles (14 oz package of dried, large-width flat rice noodles)
- 300 grams of beef (thinly sliced)
- ½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ lb squid, cleaned and sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup Chinese chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 5 large fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
- ½ cup carrots (julienned)
- 1 piece red bell pepper (sliced)
- 4 stalks bok choy
- 7 oz can of baby corn
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lime wedges for serving
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce (divided)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (divided)
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
Step 1 Prepare the flat noodles
If using dried noodles:
Pour hot water into a large bowl to prepare the rice noodles. Allow the noodles to soak for 15 minutes to ensure they are fully hydrated and soft. Once the noodles are thoroughly soaked, drain them in a colander and shake off any excess water.
Step 2 Prepping vegetables
To prepare the vegetables for Hu Tieu Xao, start by peeling and mincing the garlic. Cut the onion, bok choy stems, and mushrooms into strips approximately ½ inch thick. Julienne the carrots and cut red bell peppers into thin strips about ¼ inch thick. Separate the bok choy leaves and stems, and cut the leaves into 1-inch thick strips. Lastly, slice the baby corn in half lengthwise.
Step 3 Prepping the proteins
Combine the beef, baking soda, garlic powder, and 1½ tablespoon of the sauce in a separate bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that the beef is evenly coated with the marinade. Allow it to marinate for about 15-20 minutes to infuse the flavors into the meat.
- When preparing squid for Hu Tieu Xao, use scissors to cut along one side of the body and lay it flat on a cutting board. Position a knife at the lower left corner of the body and carefully score it with diagonal lines approximately ¼ inch apart, using just the tip of the knife. Since this step only marks the squid with lines, avoid cutting through it.
- After cutting the squid's body into chunks, move to the lower right side of the squid and repeat the same diagonal scoring technique that was used on the lower left side. The pineapple cut creates a beautiful pattern on the squid's body, adding visual appeal to your dish.
Blanching the squid for just the right amount of time is crucial to achieving the perfect texture in the final dish. To ensure that the squid in your Hu Tieu Xao dish is tender and succulent, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and blanch the squid for 20 seconds. Drain the squid and set it aside.
Step 4 Let's start cooking.
Cook the beef:
- Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the beef and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is seared but still slightly pink.
- Then, transfer the beef to a plate and set it aside. Finally, clean the wok or skillet to prepare for the next step.
Cook the seafood:
- Heat a large wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add half of the sliced garlic and stir fry for 5 seconds. Add the squid and stir fry for 30 seconds, followed by the shrimp. Season with black pepper and stir fry the seafood for just 2 minutes to partially cook it.
- Once partially cooked, remove the seafood from the wok and set it aside in a small bowl. These steps ensure the seafood is cooked enough to be tender and flavorful without overcooking it and losing its delicate texture.
Step 5 Building the flavors
- After partially cooking the seafood, heat the same wok over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining garlic and stir fry for 5 seconds.
- Add the carrots with 2 tablespoons of water and stir fry for 2 minutes until the carrots soften. Adding the water helps create steam and soften the carrots without making them mushy.
You can create a flavorful and cohesive dish by using the same wok and building on the flavors of the previously cooked ingredients.
Step 6 Cooking the vegetables
- After softening the carrots, add the onions, bok choy stems, and 1 tablespoon of water to the wok and stir fry for another minute.
- Next, add the red bell peppers and stir fry for another minute before adding the corn, bok choy leaves, and mushrooms.
- Combine everything well and cook for another minute before adding 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir fry for 1 more minute to distribute the seasonings evenly.
- Finally, transfer the vegetables into a separate bowl. These steps ensure that the vegetables are cooked just right, and the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and black pepper provide a savory, umami flavor that perfectly complements the other ingredients in the dish.
Step 7 Cooking the flat noodles
You can skip this step if using fresh or refrigerated flat noodles.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat using the same wok. Add the soaked rice noodles and gently stir fry for a minute to cook them slightly.
- Pour in the chicken broth and turn the heat to low. Cook the noodles until they are soft and all the broth is absorbed, which should take approximately 2-3 minutes.
This step ensures that the noodles are fully cooked and coated in a flavorful broth that complements the other ingredients in the dish. By cooking the noodles in the broth, you can infuse them with a rich umami flavor that will take your Hu Tieu Xao to the next level.
Step 8 Combine all the flavors.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and pour half the sauce to cook the rice noodles for the perfect texture gently. Stir the noodles occasionally and cook them for 1-2 minutes until they are soft and pliable.
- Once the noodles are cooked, add the vegetables and seafood back into the wok and toss everything together.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, along with ground black pepper and sugar. Combine everything well to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
- Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink and the flavors fully develop. These steps ensure all ingredients are fully coated in the delicious sauce, and the flavors are well-balanced.
Step 9 Plate and serve.
To serve your Stir-Fried Seafood Noodles, offer a side of soy sauce and chili paste to enhance the dish's flavors. The salty umami flavors of the soy sauce and the heat of the chili paste perfectly complement the sweetness and complexity of the Hu Tieu Xao sauce.
Tenderizing techniques and flavorful tips for perfect Hu Tieu Xao
Tip 1 Choose the right cut of beef
Choosing the right beef cut is crucial for a flavorful and tender Hu Tieu Xao. While filet mignon or ribeye is the most tender cuts, they can be pricey. A more budget-friendly option is to go for cuts such as skirt, flap, hanger, or flank steak. Even though these cuts may not be as tender, they can still be delicious if cooked properly and are perfect for stir-fry dishes.
Tip 2 Slicing tips for the beef
Par-freezing beef for 20-30 minutes is a useful technique to make slicing easier. The meat becomes firmer, making it easier to slice without fully freezing. When done correctly, the beef should be firm but not frozen, allowing you to slice it easily without being too squishy. This technique is especially helpful for tougher cuts like skirt or flank steak, which can be difficult to slice evenly.
Tip 3 Make refrigerated noodles pliable.
Follow these simple steps to make refrigerated wide noodles more pliable and easier to work with.
- First, place the noodles on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel.
- Then, microwave the noodles in 30-second intervals until they are warm, pliable, and loose.
- This technique will help to loosen up the noodles and make them more workable without overcooking or damaging them.
Tip 4 Avoid breaking the noodles.
Handling the flat noodles with care is crucial to ensure they are cooked evenly and don't break. Using a flat spatula to gently flip them and flick the wok to toss the components inside is best. This method helps to evenly distribute the heat and ingredients throughout the dish without over-stirring or damaging the noodles.
Additionally, using enough oil is crucial to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan. However, if the noodles break, don't worry too much since it won't significantly affect the dish's taste.
How to store and freeze Hu Tieu Xao for later enjoyment
To store leftover Vietnamese stir-fried noodles, allow them to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container and storing them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For freezing the cooked noodles, you should divide them into individual portions and store them in airtight containers or zip-top bags with excess air removed. It is recommended to consume them within three months of freezing. However, remember that the texture may be slightly altered after thawing, so it is essential to properly thaw and reheat them before consuming.
There are a few different methods to choose from when it comes to reheating.
- You can microwave the noodles in one-minute intervals until heated, stirring halfway through.
- Alternatively, you can warm them up in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to overcook the noodles. If reheating from frozen, add extra time as needed.
What Types of noodles are used for Hu Tieu Xao
Hu Tieu Xao is typically made with flat rice noodles, similar to popular Southeast Asian dishes such as Pad Thai and Chow Fun. These noodles are wide, flat, and translucent and have a chewy texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish.
The noodles may vary in width and thickness depending on the recipe or regional variation. Some Hu Tieu Xao dishes may also include other noodles, such as egg noodles or vermicelli noodles, but flat rice noodles are the most common and traditional type used.
Blanching squid for tender and succulent seafood delights.
Blanching squid is an excellent technique for keeping it tender and succulent. To blanch squid, follow these steps: Master the Technique:
- Prepare the squid by cleaning and cutting it into desired sizes.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully add the squid to the pot.
- Let the squid cook for no more than 30 seconds.
- Remove the squid from the boiling water using a slotted spoon.
- Immediately transfer the squid to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
- Let the squid cool in the ice water for a few minutes before draining it.
Variations of Hu Tiu Xao sauce
Hu Tieu Xao sauce is a key component of the dish, providing a savory, umami flavor that complements the noodles, meat, seafood, and vegetables. While the traditional recipe for Hu Tieu Xao sauce is delicious, there are several variations that you can try to add your unique twist to the dish.
Here are some variations of Hu Tieu Xao sauce that you can experiment with:
- Spicy Hu Tieu Xao Sauce: Add chili paste or red pepper flakes to the traditional Hu Tieu Xao sauce recipe to give it a spicy kick.
- Hoisin-based Hu Tieu Xao Sauce: Replace the oyster sauce with hoisin sauce for a sweeter, richer flavor.
- Peanut Hu Tieu Xao Sauce: Add peanut butter to the traditional Hu Tieu Xao sauce recipe for a creamy, nutty flavor.
- Lemongrass and Ginger Hu Tieu Xao Sauce: Infuse the sauce with chopped lemongrass and grated ginger for a fresh, aromatic flavor.
- Vegetarian Hu Tieu Xao Sauce: Replace the oyster and fish sauce with vegetarian versions for a meat-free alternative.
These are just a few ideas for Hu Tieu Xao sauce variations that you can try. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations until you find the one that suits your taste preferences.
How to balance the flavors in Hu Tieu Xao
Balancing flavors is crucial to making a delicious and authentic Hu Tieu Xao dish. The dish should have a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors that complement each other.
Here are some tips for balancing the flavors in your Hu Tieu Xao:
- Sweetness: Use sugar or sweet sauces like hoisin sauce or sweet soy sauce to balance the savory and salty flavors in the dish.
- Sourness: Add lime juice, tamarind paste, or vinegar to provide a tangy and sour flavor that helps cut through the richness of the other ingredients.
- Saltiness: Use fish sauce, soy sauce, or salt to provide the salty flavor that brings out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.
- Umami: Add oyster sauce, shrimp paste, or soy sauce to provide a savory, meaty flavor that rounds out the dish.
- Spiciness: Use chili paste or fresh chilies to add a spicy kick that balances the other flavors.
Remember, the key to balancing flavors is to achieve a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors that complement each other and create a delicious and satisfying dish.
Side dishes and condiments that pair well with Hu Tieu Xao
Hu Tieu Xao is a delicious and satisfying dish, but several side dishes and condiments can complement it and take it to the next level. Here are some side dishes and sauces that pair well with Hu Tieu Xao:
1 Pickled vegetables: Pickled carrots, daikon radish, and cucumbers add a refreshing crunch and tangy flavor that balances the richness of the Hu Tieu Xao.
2 Fresh herbs: Garnish the dish with fresh herbs like cilantro, Thai basil, or mint to add a fragrant and herbaceous flavor that complements the other ingredients.
3 Chili sauce: Add a spicy kick to the dish with chili sauce or hot sauce on the side. Sambal oelek, Sriracha, or chili garlic sauce are great options.
4 Lime wedges: Serve lime wedges on the side to provide a tangy and citrusy flavor that brightens the dish.
5 Steamed vegetables: Serve steamed broccoli, bok choy, or Chinese broccoli on the side to provide a healthy and nutritious accompaniment to the Hu Tieu Xao.
6 Spring rolls: Serve fresh or fried egg rolls on the side to provide a crunchy and savory contrast to the soft and chewy noodles in the Hu Tieu Xao.
Importance of balancing sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors
Balancing sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors is crucial to making a delicious and authentic Hu Tieu Xao dish. By achieving a harmonious blend of these flavors, the dish will have a depth and complexity of flavor that is both satisfying and balanced.
- The sweet flavor helps balance the dish's savory and salty flavors.
- While the sour flavor adds a tangy note that cuts through the richness of the other ingredients.
- The salty flavor brings out the natural flavors of the other ingredients and provides a savory, umami flavor that rounds out the dish.
- Lastly, the umami flavor provides a meaty, savory taste that complements the other flavors and adds depth to the dish.
Tips for achieving a well-balanced flavor profile
Achieving a well-balanced flavor profile is essential to making a delicious and authentic Hu Tieu Xao dish. Here are some tips for achieving a well-balanced flavor profile:
1 Taste the dish as you go: Taste the dish frequently as you add ingredients to adjust the seasoning and ensure the flavors are balanced.
2 Start with small amounts: Start with a small amount of each seasoning ingredient, such as sugar, salt, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, and gradually add more as needed to achieve the desired flavor.
3 Use high-quality ingredients: Use high-quality sauces and seasoning ingredients to ensure the flavors are rich and full-bodied.
4 Add acid: A squeeze of lime or a splash of vinegar can add a tangy, acidic flavor that helps balance the other ingredients' richness.
5 Experiment with different flavor combinations: Feel free to experiment with different combinations of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors until you find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences.
6 Balance texture: Besides balancing flavors, it's also essential to balance the texture. For example, add crunchy vegetables like bean sprouts and water chestnuts to balance the softness of the noodles and meat.
Role of broth in creating a flavorful and aromatic Hu Tieu Xao dish
The broth is vital in creating a flavorful and aromatic Hu Tieu Xao dish. The broth provides a rich and savory flavor that complements the other ingredients in the dish, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile.
1 Infusing flavor: The broth simmers pork bones, shrimp shells, or other meaty ingredients with aromatics like ginger, garlic, and shallots. This process infuses the broth with a rich and savory flavor essential to the dish.
2 Moistening the noodles: The broth moistens them, preventing them from sticking together and providing a smooth texture.
3 Enhancing the flavor of the meat and seafood: The meat and seafood are cooked in the broth, absorbing the rich and savory flavors and becoming more tender and succulent.
4 Providing a fragrant aroma: The aromatics used to make the broth, such as ginger and garlic, enhance the dish's flavor and sensory experience.
5 Balancing the flavors: The broth adds a salty, savory flavor that helps to balance the sweet, sour, and umami flavors in the dish, creating a well-rounded and satisfying flavor profile.
Common mistakes to avoid when making Hu Tieu Xao
Making Hu Tieu Xao can be challenging, especially if you're new to the dish. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when making Hu Tieu Xao:
1 Overcooking the noodles can make them mushy and lose their chewy texture. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, and rinse them in cold water immediately after cooking to stop the cooking process.
2 Not balancing the flavors: Balancing the sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors in the dish is essential to achieving a delicious and authentic flavor. Taste the dish as you go and adjust the seasoning to achieve a harmonious blend of flavors.
3 Overcrowding the pan: Overcrowding the pan can cause the ingredients to steam instead of fry, resulting in a less flavorful and less crispy dish. Cook the ingredients in batches if necessary, and leave enough space in the pan for them to cook evenly.
4 Not seasoning the dish properly: Seasoning is crucial to achieving a well-balanced flavor profile. Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning to ensure the flavors are balanced and harmonious.
5 Using low-quality ingredients: Hu Tieu Xao is a simple dish that relies on high-quality ingredients for a delicious and authentic flavor. Use fresh and high-quality ingredients, such as meat, seafood, vegetables, and sauces, to ensure the dish has a rich and full-bodied flavor.
6 Overcooking meat or seafood can make it tough and rubbery. Cook the meat and seafood until finished and tender, and avoid overcooking.