Yummy chicken chow mein with the best treatment of the tender thicken meat and the best combination of vegetables and mushrooms.
I get lots of complains saying that my Chinese food bloggers do not cook chow mein and lo mein. At the first, I am quite shocked. Chow mein is extremely popular outside China, but generally it is part of Cantonese food with the most famous soy sauce fried noodles (豉油皇炒面). We really are quite freestyle for noodles, either lo Mein, chow mein or soup noodles. I love to introduce more about these types of noodles inside China.
The most common and popular noodle dish in China is soup noodles (汤面). There are actually hundreds of soup noodles. Fresh and plain, hot and savory, hot and sour. The tastes differ a lot in different areas of China. But in generally, it is the top dishes in China.
Chicken noodle soup noodles
Szechuan meat sauce noodles
Chinese beef noodle soup
Soy sauce noodles
The second position should be lo mein (捞面). But we usually call this type of noodles as dry mixing noodles (拌面), which has more liquid than chow mein but no soup base included. Lo mein is a Cantonese based dish while dry mixing noodles exist across the country.
Steamed noodle or braised noodle (焖面或者蒸面) usually with stronger flavors because noodles are simmered with more liquid seasonings. For example, green bean noodles (豆角焖面).
Chow mein (炒面)is quite humble and free style in Chinese kitchen. You can use most of the leftover vegetables and noodles to make a bowl of chow mein.
Even I was quite shocked at the very beginning and was thinking that making Chow mein is quite easy, using your own favorite vegetables and sauce. However, with the second thought and searching, I found wow this is not that simple. So I decided to develop some yummy chow mein and lo mein recipes in this month.
The most common side ingredient for chow mein is chives (either plain green ones or blanched ones), onion (white onion > red onion) and bean sprouts. But are they universally the best for all types of meat. My answer is no. Beef, pork (fresh or roasted), seafood and chicken, they have different characters themselves and thus should be matched with matched vegetables and sauces.
Tips for successful homemade chow mein
- Choose the right type of noodles and don't overcook. You can use Cantonese chow mein (either dried or fresh ones) or regular chicken noodles. The preparation of the two types of noodles are slightly different. In Guangdong area, Cantonese chow mein is dominating, however regular chicken noodles are always the best options for other areas.
- Remove the noodles out after the water boils the second time. And then add around ½ cup of cold water before straining. Pre-mix your sauce and save time for stir-frying.
- Coating the noodles with vegetable oil other than rising in cold water is a more common Chinese way especially for fresh noodles. Chinese noodles usually contains larger amount of water (comparing with pasta and spaghetti). So we tried to avoid meeting with water. Pick the noodles up after coating with vegetable oil to let the heat and water disperse. When the noodles becomes almost cooled, it becomes smooth and dry again, just like the picture below.
- Fasten the process as soon as possible after adding the sauce and slow down the fire a little bit. Our only purpose is to mix the sauce with noodle well, which can be finished within 10 seconds.
Chicken Chow Mein
- 2 servings noodles
- 1 cup sherdded chicken
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 button mushrooms , remove ends and sliced
- 4 other mushrooms , I use 鸡枞菌, other types works fine
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ tsp. cornstarch
- 1 and ½ tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- ¼ tsp. fresh grounded white pepper
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- Cook the noodles| Heat a large pot of water to a boiling, add a small pinch of salt. Then place noodles in. Gently stir. Add around 1 cup of water when the water boils. Then it becomes simmer again, wait until it re-boils. Add around 1 cup of cold water (to help the surface shrinks ) and transfer the noodles out immediately. Strain to remove extra water.Transfer the noodles to a large plate, add vegetable cooking oil or sesame oil. Mix well and let it cool down.
- Mix all of the sauce together. Scoop around 1 teaspoon of mixed sauce and marinate chicken. Then add anther teaspoon of cornstarch and mix well, set aside.
- Heat wok firstly and then add oil. Heat oil until warm. Place chicken meat in and fry until almost seared. Transfer chicken meat out.
- Add garlic, shredded cabbage and mushrooms, fry until aromatic.
- Place noodles in. Quickly fry and let the noodles slightly sautéed on hot wok, then place beans sprouts and chicken meat. Drizzle the sauce in. Mix well and transfer out immediately.