Chow Mein simply means Cop Suey with crispy noodles. Low Mein means with soft noddles.
Chp Suey was created ub the U.S. byChinese imigrants, and was a way to use up veggies, with meat added to season the dish. The protien can be pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, or basically any meat, including any seafood that you feel hungry for. The best Chiucken Chow Mein I've had was very simple, ant a little Chinese Restaurant in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. It consisted of strips of onion, minced garlic, snow peas, Celery, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts.
The Sauce was simply made by deglazing the wok after stir-frying all of the veggies, with Mirin, MSG, a little sugar, ginger, and thickened with a cornstarch slurry. If you don't want to use NSG, add a tbs. of fish sauce for that added umami flavor. Mushrooms are also good in Chow Mein.
Other additions to your sauce may include light soy sauce (real brewed soy sauce, not hydrolyzed wheat soy sauce) maybe a bit of oyster, or Hoisin Sauce, a dash of Chinese 5-spice pwder, and a little toasted Sesame Oil.
I cook my chicken separately as I velvet the meat. I'll explain the process in the recipe.
Here is a recipe that works well for me:
2 medium carrots, peeled and bias sliced
2 stalks celery, washed and bias sliced
1 sweet, white onion, cut into leafs (cut off top and bottom, then cut from top to bottom in 1/4 inch strips)
1 can sliced water Chestnuts, drained
1 can Bamboo Shoots, drained
1/2 cup frozen, baby peas, or 1 cup snow peas
2 cups Mung Bean Sprouts
1 cup Chicken Broth
2 tbs. Hoisin Sauce
2 tbs. Soy Sauce
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh, minced ginger
2 tbs.Corn, or other high temp cooking oil
Add oil to wok over high heat. Shen the oil starts to smoke, add the veggies, with the carrots first, followed by the onion, then water chestnuts, clelery an bamboo shoots. Add the rem Stir-fry for 4 minutes, or until carrots and onions just start to soften. add seasonings. Reduce heat to medium.
Remove veggies to a large mixing bowl. De-glaze the pan/wok with the chicken broth, Mirin, Hoisin Sauce, and soy sauce. thicken to a thin gravy consistency with a cornstarch slutty. Turn off heat and put the veggies back into the wok. Fold in velveted meat. Top with Chow Mein noodles on plates.
For velveting the meat:
1/2 lb Chicken Brest
3 tbs. lite soy sauce
2 tbs. rice vinegar
3 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. cornstarch
pot of hot, not boiling, water, or 2 inches of cooking oil in heavy pan
Slice the chicken with the grain into thin strips. Mix all marinade ingredients together. Put chicken strips in marinade for 15 minutes, stirring to coat all of the chicken.
Heat oil to 310' F., or water to 190' F. place chicken strips, a couple at a time, into hot liquid. Watch the meat. When the coating turns opaque, remove to a paper towel line bowl to drain.
Of course, this recipe was just made to alter. Be creative.
Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North