When I was growing up, if I was asked to name a Chinese dish, Chow Mein was possibly the only dish I could come up with. It featured on every Chinese take-away menu, still does today. It's the irresistible salty combination of soy sauce and crunchy vegetables, often with chicken, prawns or beef that has made this a staple.
Getting hold of good Chinese ingredients is far easier today than it was for my mum back in the day. Chow Mein was only ever consumed when my Dad came back from a trip to the take-away. Making it fresh, hot from the wok tastes so much nicer.
In any Chow Mein at least a third of what goes into your wok are noodles. It's therefore worth using a really good quality noodle to give you the best end result. I'm really excited to have fantastic quality Sau Tao Egg Noodles in our range, they make such a difference. I'm showing you a version that I make a lot of home, it's a great way of combining some good store cupboard ingredients with some left over vegetables in the fridge.
Having the garnishes to use at the end will also elevate your noodle dish to hero status so make sure you have the crispy chilli oil and the La-Yu sesame oil to hand.
I'm using chicken thigh which has more flavour, breast meat will be more tender - your choice. There are plenty of other vegetables that would work well in this dish, try mixing it up with Bok Choy, Mange Tout, Green Beans, Bean Sprouts, courgette, mushrooms, baby corn.
Egg noodles are the traditional choice of noodle to use in Chow Mein, thick or thin, again it's your choice. I recommend 1-2 noodle nests per portion, 2 nests is a good sized portion so if cooking for 4, you would be fine to use 6-7 nests.
1. With a stir fry, everything happens pretty quickly, so make sure you get the chicken and all the vegetables prepped.
2. To make the chow mein sauce, simple mix together all the sauce ingredients.
3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the noodles and get your wok or pan onto a high heat. You need the wok to be almost smoking.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of the rapeseed oil to the wok and fry the chicken pieces on a high heat. You want to get some lovely caramelization on the chicken pieces, so for this part of your stir-fry, don't stir it too much! Once the chicken has a lovely golden colour, add in a couple of tablespoons of the chow mein sauce to glaze the chicken. Toss the chicken around in the pan with the glaze for around 30 seconds and then remove from the pan.
5. Wipe the wok clean with some kitchen paper. Heat the wok up again, add another couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil and begin stir-frying the vegetables. Always start with the hardest vegetables first, so I throw in the broccoli stalks first. A minute later, the rest of the broccoli goes in. To get the broccoli to cook quickly, add a ladle of hot water from the noodle pot - the steam will help get things nice and tender.
6. Now add in the carrots and red pepper and keep cooking for another minute before adding in the garlic and chilli (if using).
7. You should only be a few minutes away from finishing, so now is the time to drop the noodles into the boiling water. They need 2 minutes. Move them around in the water a few times to make sure the nests have fallen apart.
8. Whilst the noodles are cooking, add the cabbage to your wok and stir through. Now add half the remaining Chow Mein sauce and cook this through the vegetables.
9. Turn the heat down on the wok. Once the noodles are ready (always worth a taste test) drain and then add them into your wok. Pour over the last of the Chow Mein sauce and mix everything together.
10. Finally, add in a few splashes of the La-Yu Sesame Chilli Oil and mix through.
11. Divide between two serving plates, scatter over some toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with crispy chilli oil.
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