Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Chow Mein

Chow mein or (炒面 chǎo-miàn) is a Chinese term meaning stir-fried noodles and it is typically combined with strips of meat (chicken, pork, beef or shrimp), onions, celery, carrots, bean sprouts or whatever vegetable mix your heart desires. I learned that chow mein was most likely introduced to America by Chinese immigrants who served this dish to Chinese labourers working on the western railroads in the 1850s.
Did you know: "Mein" refers to long, thin noodles. They can be stir-fried, put into soups, or boiled. "Chow" refers to a specific cooking style: stir-frying in a wok.
I love making chow mein because it can be cooked quickly for the masses to enjoy. It calls for parboiled noodles (previously drained dry and cooled) which are then stir-fried and placed one side while the remainder of the ingredients (your mix of favorite meat and veggies) hit the wok for their turn. When these ingredients are just about done, the noodles rejoin them and chow mein is created.

My recommendation, if I may, is to use a wok to cook your chow mein. Not only do you feel like an Iron Chef but you can employ the stir-frying technique of tossing your ingredients with less spillage. Another benefit is cooking all your food items thoroughly with a small amount of cooking oil and heat!
Did you know: Woks allow food to be cooked quickly because of its curve offers maximum cooking surface with minimal fuel contact. So you end up using less oil and heat to cook your food. The wok is also the ultimate kitchen tool of convenience, as it can be used to boil, sautee, stir-fry, deep-fry and steam. As one pot cooks all, clean-up is likewise minimal.
My boyfriend, Jaeger, taught me how to make his version of chow mein so here it is, so deliciously simple for you to enjoy!

- 1 pkg (400 g) fresh chow mein noodles
- 1/4cup cup oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cups boneless and skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 4 cups chopped broccoli
- 2 cups bok choy
- 2 cups red bell peppers, sliced in matchstick strips
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2cup chicken stock
- 1 cup bean sprouts

Did you know: Chow mein noodles are made of wheat flour, and have a darker color and distinct flavor. When shopping for chow mein noodles, look for a package of dry long noodles that resembles spaghetti.

1. In large saucepan of boiling water, cook noodles until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well and set aside in colander. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and lightly stir-fry the noodles till they are crisp and golden. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Thinly slice chicken crosswise; add to bowl, tossing to coat.

3. In large wok or skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil over high heat; stir-fry chicken mixture for 2 minutes. Transfer to plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic and ginger; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms and 2 tbsp water; cover and steam for 3 minutes. Add noodles and stock; stir-fry until hot. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; add bean sprouts and toss to combine. Serve immediately to hungry guests!
Try this: Leftover chow mein for dinner keeps well and can be saved for a yummy lunch the next day!


  1. If I don't have Oyster Sauce, what can I use as a substitute?

  2. Great recipe Candice, cute boyfriend..

  3. Most people use soy sauce as an oyster sauce substitute. You may also add half a teaspoon of sugar to the soy sauce. Even fish sauce is used as a replacement for oyster sauce in some food recipes. However, it cannot be a perfect replacement as there will be some difference in the flavor.

  4. Thanks. I just go buy some Oyster, it sounds like it's essential!

  5. Good idea Jennifer. However, I have a few suggestions for Oyster Sauce substitutes on my blog (sorry for driving traffic away Candice). Check it out.

    Thanks again Candice for the recipe :)

  6. Next time we'll have to set up the camera crew to film xo

  7. Looks rather tasty ... love chow mein and will give your suggestion a try!


  8. Thanks, Alice of Savory Sweet Life. Suggestions and substitutes are always welcome because you never know if you'll have those ingredients handy!

  9. Paula, you have good taste and Jaeger is indeed a cutie!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. i Love soya noodle, it is healthy as well as tasty that give us taste like chicken.