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Old 04-16-2005, 05:33 PM   #1
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Chow Mein Recipe...

I'm starting a new thread here to respond to sohailgagai who inquired about chow mein in the Terms & Techniques section because:

1. Terms & Techniques is "broken" and posts don't show on the "25 Most Recent Post List"... so a lot of people who know more about Chinese recipes than I won't see it and won't reply.
(Yes, I already told an Administrator about this )

2. sohailgagai is new here and posted his "request" for Chow Mein info in the Terms & Techniques section rather than the "Ethnic Foods" section where it fits better?


Basic Chow Mein
(I got this somewhere on the net a long time ago.. so I don't take credit and I don't recall any author being mentioned.. so...)

1/2 pound fresh egg noodles or equivalent of cooked pasta such as spaghetti, etc.
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 red or green (red is prettier.. is that a word?) bell pepper
1 cup fresh (or frozen ones thawed) snow peas
2 celery stalks, cut at an angle
2 slices ginger
2 TB dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 TB Chinese rice vinegar
1 cup bean sprouts
Peanut Oil (preferred) for Stir-frying

Blanch the noodles in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes, or cook according to the package directions if using dry pasta.
Prepare the vegetables: Rinse all the vegetables and drain thoroughly. (Rinse the bamboo shoots and canned water chestnuts under warm running water for several minutes to remove any tinny taste). Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips. String the snow peas and cut the celery into thin strips on the diagonal.
Heat the wok and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced ginger and stir-fry briefly until aromatic.
Add the water chestnuts. Stir-fry briefly, and add the other vegetables except for the bean sprouts. Stir-fry briefly and add the noodles.
Stir in the dark soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir in the bean sprouts.

You could cut up chicken breast in thin slices and/or pork and stir fry them first, just before the water chestnuts and stir fry until done and remove, then add back at the end.

Those of you who forgot more about this stuff than I know, please give sohailgagai some more ideas.


"Never order chicken-fried steak in a cafe that doesn't have a jukebox."
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:07 AM   #2
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When first attempting Chow Mein, I too added the water chestnuts, the bell pepper, and a bunch of stuff. Over time, and after eating at more chinese restaurants from San Diego to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, I found two chinese restaurants where I adore their version of chicken chow mein. I carefully took mental note of the flavor and ingredients that I could see, and reproduced this simple recipe at home.

This chow mein is deceptively simple, and yet has an incredible flavor. But then again, you might like the more complex flavor given in Lutzzz;s post. And that's OK. Your dish should taste the way you like it. And so I give you an alternative.

1 lb. boneless chicken breast
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbs. Splenda, or sugar, as you prefer
1 onion, cut vertically into leaves
2 celery stalks, bias-sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 tsp. MSG (optional)
Peanut or Sunflower oil
1 tbs. cornstarch

Slice the chicken into thin strips, about 1/4inch wide by and inch long. Put 2 tbs. of oil into a heavy pan or wok and heat until it is fragrant. Add the chicken pieces with a pinch of salt sprinkled over them. Stir fry just until done through. Don't even let them become browned. REmove imediately from the wok. Add the onion, and celery and cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add to the chicken in a large bowl. Sprinkle in the MSG and Splenda and mix well.

Put the bean sprouts into the wok with the water and cover. Steam for ten minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching the bean sprouts. Pour the chicken and veggies into the wok and bring to a rapid boil while stirring. Remove from heat and cover.

Mix the cornstarch with a quarter cup of water to make a slurry and stir that into the remaining ingredients. Return to heat and stir until the cornstarch slurry thickens into a sauce around the other ingredients.

Plate and spread chow mein noodles over the top. Serve with soy sauce.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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Old 04-17-2005, 09:29 AM   #3
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Thank you, Goodweed.. for being at least ONE person to give sohailgagai some advice. And you're right.. the recipe I posted is more "complex" in flavors.. and perhaps the more simple basic is better.. I plead guilty to perhaps "overkilling" my stir fry with various sauces, e.g. black bean/garlic sauce, etc. that begs for a glass of milk while you're eating.. but I didn't post any of those Anyway...

I noticed that a few also responded to his thread in "Terms & Techniques"... so I thank them also, in his behalf... BTW: I suspect sohailgagai may not be from the US and might not have the same command of English we do... so I wanted to take some special effort to make him feel welcome. (And my apology to sohailgagai in case I'm wrong )

This is the statement/request sohailgagai posted in his thread in "Terms & Techniques" that many might not see.
i want to learn stir fry , any tips specially for Chinese chicken chowmein , any tips and idea's , pls tell me , how to start ....
thanks alot bye
He (?) is also looking for basic techniques in "stir frying"... and I already posted my comments/opinions in this thread: Secret Chinese Fragrance?
as did some others,... so there's not much more I can add.
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:04 AM   #4
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"Blanch the noodles in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes, or cook according to the package directions if using dry pasta"

are'nt chowmein noodles supposed to be fried instead of boiled? i was wondering if the recipe you came up with is of "low mein" or chow mein? as far as i know,chow mein is crispy noodle dish,whereas low mein is the one which is boiled and not crispy...i might be wrong though!
what do you guys think?
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:19 PM   #5
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I like to combine both the crisp, fried noodles and the boiled noodles when I make chow mein. That is the way I was taught by a very dear friend many, many years ago.
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:53 PM   #6
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chow mein v. lo mein?

Interesting question, Sarah. As I mentioned, that was a recipe I got somewhere off the net. I don't think I've ever ordered either "chow mein" or "lo mein" at a good chinese restaurant.. so I defer to the experts... However, just out of curiosity, I briefly did a "google" search and found this on the net:

From: Chinesefood.about.com

"The main difference between lo mein and chow mein lies in what happens to the noodles before they are combined with the other ingredients. In chow mein, the noodles are fried separately. Usually, the fried noodles are combined with the meat, vegetables and other ingredients in the wok at the end of cooking.

Noodles destined for a dish of lo mein skip this separate frying stage. In fact, the noodles may not undergo any further cooking at all: it is common to serve the parboiled noodles in individual bowls at the table and pour the other ingredients over top. Alternately, the noodles may be quickly tossed with the sauce and other ingredients in the wok before serving.

While chow mein with thin crisp noodles is a staple of many Chinese take-out restaurants, authentic chow mein is made with soft noodles. The main difference between the two comes down to frying time: for dryer, crisper noodles, add more oil and increase the frying time."

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