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chicken chow mein

Updated: Mon, 21 December, 2020

⯆ JUMP TO RECIPE

Chicken chow mein, fried noodles with chicken. Use egg noodles, fresh or dried and parboiled, in the dish - rice noodles are better for soft saucy lo mein.

Chicken chow mein stir fry with noodles cuisinefiend.com

Is chow mein an authentic dish?

Well, it turns out it is apparently an original Chinese dish after all. I was convinced it was bastardised Chinese food, made outside of China for the western palate.

It is predominantly made outside of China, this much is true, but it does have its roots in Cantonese cuisine, chow mein meaning simply ‘fried noodles’. Chicken is the most popular meat topping for the noodles but pork, prawns, beef or tofu are all acceptable.

Noodles mon amour

What can I say? I adore noodles. I could live on noodles, be it wheat or rice, udon or glass. As long as they are dressed with some decent sauce, a few shreds of pak choi or beansprouts, I’m theirs until the bottom of the bowl.

Or the bottom of the box – because that’s one takeaway staple many of us couldn’t give up. My eyes go immediately to the very end of the menu, to where noodle dishes are, whenever I order a Chinese takeout.

Chicken chow mein cuisinefiend.com

Takeaway recipes

It's hard to reproduce the Chinese takeaway flavour because we don't usually stock MSG at home. I'm joking there, of course, that’s one takeaway aspect you can do without. But both light and dark soy sauces, a random pinch of sugar; the crispy-almost-burnt noodles make for a deeply satisfying dish.

How to make a good stir fry?

Except for very saucy wok dishes (like lo mein), it is crucial to take things slow and not overload the wok. Otherwise the meat, the vegetables and the noodles will steam instead of frying. That's why chicken goes in first and is then removed, to make space for vegetables.

Get the wok smoking hot again and stir fry starting with the hardest vegetables. Soft and delicate ingredients like beansprouts, cabbage, spring onions should always be added at the very end. Watch the wok: when there's too much liquid at the bottom, it's a sign you have overloaded it.

You can rescue the stir fry by removing some of the wok contents and stir frying in batches.

Chow mein takeaway style cuisinefiend.com

How to get the noodles crispy?

That's the last addition to the dish. That's what the tall sides of the wok are for: push the contents up and around the sides to make space at the bottom. Add a little more oil if it looks dry and let the noodles sit there for a couple of minutes on one side, then on the other.

Finally, it all comes together with a pinch of sugar and a slosh of soy sauce. The best chicken chow mein - much better than the best takeaway.


chicken chow mein

Servings: 2Time: 20 minutes plus marinating

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g (10oz.) fresh medium egg noodles or 2 servings dried
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 200g (7oz.) boneless chicken
  • For the marinade:
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp chili bean paste
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • For the stir fry:
  • ½ red bell pepper, cored and sliced thinly
  • 30g (1oz.) mangetout, trimmed
  • 2 slices Parma ham or smoked cooked ham, shredded
  • 30g (1oz.) Napa cabbage leaves, shredded
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • groundnut oil
  • light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil


METHOD

1. If using dried noodles, soak them in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes (or follow the packet instructions). Drain, rinse with cold water and stir in the sesame oil.

2. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Skin the chicken fillet and cut it into thin strips. Stir it into the marinade and chill for 20 minutes.

3. Heat a wok until smoking; add 1 tbsp. of the groundnut oil. Add the chicken and stir fry until all the pieces have coloured lightly; transfer back to the bowl.

4. Add another tbsp. of oil to the wok and add the peppers and the mangetout. Stir fry for two minutes. Add the Parma ham, cabbage and most of the spring onions; reserve a little for garnish. Drizzle in a little light soy sauce and stir fry for a minute. Return the chicken to the wok and give it all a good stir.

5. Push the chicken and vegetables to the sides of the wok and add the noodles. Sprinkle the sugar and a little sesame oil over them. Make sure they are not burning underneath but getting crispy so prod them with chopsticks.

Cooking chicken chow mein cuisinefiend.com

6. When they start to catch at the bottom, stir the chicken and veg from the sides into the noodles, mix everything well together and serve with the reserved spring onions sprinkled on top.

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