One of my favourite guilty pleasures is chow mein. I suppose it is weird to voice this out loud, but sometimes I really do crave the grease of the greasiest take-out chow mein from the neighbourhood Chinese restaurant that delivers.
Given that our delivery options have dwindled to pizza only nowadays, I would have to satisfy my chow mein craving on my own. My mother occasionally buys these chow mein egg noodles, which she simply stir-fries with some green onions, garlic, soy sauce and soya paste.
I've seen a couple of bags of these noodles for about a week now -- so perhaps Mama had already forgotten about them. I also had a couple of chicken breasts left over from my weekly butchering of chicken, so I thought, hm, I guess chicken chow mein is going to be on the menu for today.
crispy pan-fried noodles
I started by soaking the noodles in some hot water then draining them. Then, it's time to fry the noodles!
I didn't use as much oil as I needed to, but I figure it's okay. There's still enough grease for me to enjoy. I dumped the noodles into the hot oil, flattened them into a pancake shape and let each side get nice and crispy.
As with any stirfry, prepping the ingredients beforehand is crucial.
I kept my chicken chow mein very simple, just using the usual aromatics (garlic, green onion, onion, celery, ginger), carrots, bell pepper, and half a head of iceberg lettuce that somehow was in the crisper. The lettuce yielded some moisture so I only had to add about half a cup of broth.
The chicken started the dish. When it was halfway cooked, the garlic, ginger, onions, carrots and celery went in. The white part of the green onions also went in.
They were tossed around with some oyster sauce. Then the bell pepper slices were next. A little bit of broth went in.
Then, the iceberg lettuce. Look at that tossing action! The green part of the green onions went in last.
The pair of tongs is being moved by TS. You see, TS always comes in after I have already prepped the ingredients to muscle in on my stir-frying action.
This version of chicken chow mein was quite "authentic," meaning it looked enough like the versions we get at Chinese restaurants. It was tasty and it was quick. The only thing missing from our home version is probaby the extra grease and other whatother additives -- but hey, that's not a cause for complaint.
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Chicken Chow Mein
Serves 8 people
1 pound thin egg noodles
2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, minced
1 onion, sliced
3 stalks green onion (white parts minced, green parts sliced into strips to add later)
1 stalk (1/2 stalk) celery, sliced into strips
1/2 carrot, sliced into strips
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 small bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup broth
To fry noodles:
Heat about a cup of oil in wok. Fry noodles in batches until done. Place noodles in your serving dish.
Marinate the chicken pieces in Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch for about 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in wok. When hot, add chicken pieces and fry.
When the chicken pieces are halfway-cooked, add the garlic, ginger, onion, the white portion of the green onions, celery and carrots. Stir-fry in wok.
Add bell peppers, lettuce shreds, oyster sauce and broth. Let cook until the sauce is your desired consistency. Use a cornstarch slurry to thicken, of desired*. Toss in green portion of the green onions and season to taste.
Pour stir-fried mixture and sauce over fried noodles and enjoy.
* To make cornstarch slurry:
Mix together about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with some cold water. Stir to dissolve. Add slurry to hot liquid in the wok and stir until thickened.