Classic beef chow mein with shredded beef, vegetables, and a savory sauce. This is a very classic Chinese chow mein dish that can be served as a staple food.
Beef chow mein - a popular Cantonese pan-fried noodles
Chow mein, meaning "stir-fried noodles" in Chinese, refers to dishes made of wheat noodles that have been stir-fried with meats, vegetables, and flavorful sauces. Beef chow mein is a popular version made with sliced beef, noodles, and mixed vegetables in a savory sauce. It's a staple menu item at Chinese restaurants across America. With a brief prep time and simple list of ingredients, beef chow mein is also easy to make at home for a quick weeknight meal.
Chow mein or stir-fried noodles is one of the most popular noodle dishes inside and outside China. Usually, they have with big flavor and are quite quick to prepare.
Another must-try popular Cantonese chow mein dish is pan-fried Cantonese soy sauce noodles which are slightly different from this one. It has a lovely crispy texture because the noodles are sauteed first before mixing with side ingredients.
Noodle for chow mein
There are lots of chow mein dishes in China, chicken chow mein, seafood chow mein, vegetable chow mein, etc. The noodles used for chow mein usually are egg noodles or alkaline noodles.
Both of two types are yellow in color. You can find them either labeled as egg noodles or chow mein noodles in the Asian market, both in fresh or dried forms.
If you can't find it, spaghetti noodles can be a good substitute.
Cook's Tip for perfect beef chow mein
- Velvet the beef well before stir-frying can guarantee a tender and full-of-flavor beef chow mein.
- Use the oil for frying the beef to continue frying aromatics, vegetables, and noodles. In this way, the flavors passed well.
- Add bean sprouts at the very end so it can keep a lovely crunchy texture.
- If you need to make larger batches, fry them in batches and fry only 2 servings each time.
- If you are quite new to chow mein noodles, using a non-stick pan can make a 100% successful beef chow mein. If you use a regular pan or wok, make sure your spatula reaches the bottom of the wok each time to avoid some of the noodles sticking to the bottom.
How to choose the beef cut
You can choose either flank steak or sirloin steak are ideal cuts for chow mein. A cheaper cut also works because we will velvet the beef before frying.
Side ingredients for beef chow mein
You can choose vegetables that contain less water to make beef chow mein. My favorite vegetable options are bell peppers, red onions, and bean sprouts.
I recommend adding bean sprouts as they can add a lovely crunchy texture.
How to make beef chow mein
In a small bowl, mix soy sauce (light soy sauce and dark soy sauce), oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, and water well.
Marinate beef: scoop around 1 tablespoon of the mixed sauce with beef, and mix well.
Add black pepper and starch, and combine again. Lastly, cover with oil and let the beef set aside for 10 minutes.
Cook noodles: Boil chow mein noodles for 2-3 minutes in hot boiling water. Strain out and rinse in cold water.
Read on the package of your noodles and cook only for 80% of the time required.
Stir-fry beef: Add oil to wok over high heat. Cook marinated beef for 1 minute until just browned. Remove beef. Don't overcook the shredded beef at this stage.
Now we mix every up: fry the aromatic with the oil we fry the shredded beef until aromatic. Then place the bell peppers and onion shreds.
Mix the noodles in, and continue to fry for half a minute. Pour the sauce and add bean sprouts.
Give everything a big stir to make sure every noodle is coated with the sauce.
What to serve with
A more satisfying way is to serve with milk tea and boba drinks.
Beef Chow Mein
- 1 cup sliced beef
- 2 blocks chow mein noodles
- ¼ bell pepper sliced (red, green, or mix)
- ⅛ onion sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 scallions minced (white part only)
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil
- black pepper for garnishing
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tsp. cooking oil
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Black pepper 3 dashes
- 3 tablespoon water
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bow.
- Marinate beef: scoop 1 tablespoon of the sauce prepared in the previous step and combine well. After mixing well, add starch and combine well. Cover with oil and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Cook noodles: Boil noodle for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. Rinse in cold water so the noodles can be cooled down quickly.
- Stir-fry beef: Add oil to wok over high heat. Cook marinated beef 1 minute until just browned. Remove beef.
- Cook aromatics: Add garlic and scallions. Fry 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add vegetables: Add peppers and onion. Stir-fry until aromatic.
- Return beef & add noodles: Put beef back in along with noodles, bean sprouts and remaining sauce.
- Toss and serve: Quickly mix everything well. Garnish with grounded black pepper.
Can I use other vegetables?
Absolutely! Some other great veggies to use are carrots, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, and cabbage.
What cut of beef is best?
Flank steak and sirloin sliced thin against the grain works well. Look for "stir-fry" cuts labeled for quick cooking.
How can I tweak the sauce?
Customize it to taste! Try adding a splash of rice vinegar for tanginess or chili-garlic sauce for heat.
Should I add a thickener?
The cornstarch in the marinade and sauce helps thicken it just enough to coat the noodles. If the sauce seems too thin, add some cornstarch to the stir-frying sauce.
This easy homemade beef chow mein is a winner for busy home cooks. With its simple ingredient list and streamlined cooking process, you can have a hot, fresh, and flavorful noodle stir-fry on the table in under 30 minutes.
Don't be afraid to play around with ingredients once you get the basic method down. Chow mein is highly customizable to use up veggie odds and ends. And switching up the protein keeps it exciting. Happy cooking!