Chow Mein (Chinese Noodles)

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Chinese noodles are versatile and there are so many ways to prepare them—stir-fry, pan-fry, boil, blanch, soup, gravy, or dry. I could never get bored of noodles. It’s one of the easiest foods to prepare at home, and the end results are always satisfying.

One of the most popular Chinese noodles  is chow mein or literally “fried noodles”  in Cantonese dialect. Chow mein is also a favorite Chinese take-out item. Some shredded vegetables, some protein–either chicken,  beef, seafood, or combination—and you will have a perfect chow mein that is cheap, filling, and sinfully gratifying.

Making chow mein or any Chinese noodles at home doesn’t have to be complicated, if you know which noodles to buy (which according to many non-Asians, it’s the toughest part of it all). I have to say that the varieties of Chinese noodles available in the market are rather overwhelming; however, if you narrow down your selection, things would get a lot easier—and manageable. So, let’s start with chow mein, which is also the name used for fresh noodles.

Now that you have narrowed down your Chinese noodles selection, the cooking process is really easy. In Asia, chow mein are mostly cooked with bean sprouts, but I noticed that fried noodles served at Chinese restaurants in the US usually come with shredded cabbages and carrot, which are great, too.

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For the protein, you can use any meat or seafood or any combination of your choice. Chicken chow mein is always safe with most people, but combination is always pleasing and exciting.

Ingredients:

8 oz. steamed chow mein (Chinese noodles)
2 oz. chicken (cut into thin slices)
5 shrimp (shelled and deveined)
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 stalks scallions (cut into 2-inch length)
Salt to taste

Method:

Soak the steamed chow mein in cold water for about 5 minutes. Rinse a few times until the water turns clear and the chow mein is soft. Drain the excess water and set aside. (Don’t over soak the chow mein or the noodles will get limpy and soggy.)

In a small mixing bowl, mix all the seasoning ingredients. Set aside.

Heat up the wok with the cooking oil. Add in the chopped garlic and stir-fry until light brown or aromatic. Add the chicken and shrimp and stir fry until they are half done. Add the shredded cabbage and carrot into the wok and do a few quick stirs. Add the noodles , the seasoning mixture and the water. Continue to stir until the noodles are well blended with the seasonings and completely cooked through. Add the chopped scallions, do a few final stirs, dish out and and serve hot.