Chow Mein Recipe – Asian-Inspired Fried Noodles
Stir-fried noodles, usually called chow mein in English-speaking countries, actually were named because of a corruption of the the Chinese word, “chau-meing.” The name basically just means “fried noodles.” Chow ( 炒 )means fried, and mein ( 面 ) means noodles!
Variations of chow mein are very popular in many countries that Chinese people have settled in. Even though the dish originated in China, it is not just popular with people of Chinese descent and is very often featured on menus in Chinese restaurants.
This is particularly true in the UK, the USA, and India. In fact, when asked about popular types of Chinese food, it is very likely that people in these different countries will mention chow mein.
Typical Chow Mein Dishes
In Western countries, chow mein dishes usually consist of fried noodles that are mixed with other food ingredients. Examples of common ingredients are diced vegetables, seafood and meat. For example, shrimp, chicken, and beef are common choices in American Chinese restaurants. There may also be a vegan or vegetarian option that uses soy as a source of protein rather than animal protein.
Very often, chow mein dishes are also cooked in a sauce that complements the rest of the ingredients in the dish. These might be sweet, spicy, mild, or some combination. The recipe below is fried with a concoction of sauce that is savory and not spicy.
There are usually two general kinds of noodles in the dish. These are actually the same basic noodles, but they are prepared differently for a different consistency and may have a different shape. These are:
* Steamed noodles are served soft in the dish.
* Fried noodles get crispy and add texture to the dish.
Very often, the steamed noodles are long and round. The fried type may be shorter, and they may also be flat noodles. In some cases, steamed noodle dishes will include some fried noodle bits to sprinkle over the top in order to add some crunch and texture to the dish.
Regional Varieties Of Chow Mein In The USA
In some cases, the crispy version of the chow mein is called “Hong Kong Style.” In the USA, for example, there are even regional differences. For example, diners on the East Coast might always expect the crispy style. They may also expect their dish to be served with rice. On the West Coast, diners might expected the soft, steamed style, and the crispy dish is always called the “Hong Kong” Style. Of course, other countries may have different names and expectations for this dish.
Even different cities may have developed their own varieties and dining expectations. For example, in Chicago and other places in the Midwest US, the sauce is commonly poured over crispy and friend noodles. However, further east in Philadelphia, the dish might be served with the crispy noodles on the side.
In many cases, the Philadelphia version of chow mein also comes with a serving of fried rice on the side. This really allows diners the option of concocting their own unique dish from the cooked dishes provided with the meal.
In any case, Americans and people in other English-speaking countries should not expect this dish to remain close to the original dishes that have been developed in China. Partly, this is because chefs have developed variations to conform to regional tastes. Also, they have modified recipes for chow mein to use common types of available food in each area.
It is not surprising to find that cultural anthropologists have actually studied this popular dish. They have found that the further away the dish has migrated from large centers of Asian immigrants, the more likely that the dish will have picked up local and regional variations and be very different from what would be expected in China.
- 25 g vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 40 g chicken meat cut to thin slices
- 20 g stir-fried sauce
- 40 g squids cut into rings
- 180 g egg noodles
- 30 g bean sprout
- 50 g cabbage cut into strips
- 30 g carrots cut into small strips
- 0.5 teaspoon corn starch
- 15 g water mix with cornstarch to form a slur
- 10 g spring onion cut into small pieces
- Put the dry noodle in the boiling water. Boil for about 3 minutes or until it is loosened. Use a colander or sieve to drain off the water
- Heat up some cooking oil in the wok. Saute the minced garlic over low heat in the wok until it turns fragrant.
- Add the meat into the wok. Continue stir-frying until the meat is cooked.
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- Add the vegetables, squids and stir fry about half a minute.
- Crack the eggs into the wok along with some extra oil. Stir-fried the egg like making scramble egg until the egg is half cook.
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- Add the noodles into the egg. Stir-fry all the ingredients together. Change to medium heat. Continue stir-frying until the for a minute. Add some extra oil if the noodles tends to stick to the wok. You can also add one or two tablespoons of water if it is too dry.
- Add half of the bean sprouts and stir-fry a half a minutes.
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- Add the fried noodle sauce.
- fry noodle sauce
- Push the noodles to the side of the wok. Pour the cornstarch water into the wok. Stir the cornstarch water with the wok shovel until the cornstarch is cooked and become transparent. Push the noodle back to the center of the wok and stir-fried for a few second.(optional step)
- Finally, add the remaining bean sprouts, spring onion and stir-fried over high heat for ten seconds.
- Dish out and enjoy.
The authentic chow mein in Asia
So if you want to try the authentic version of chow mein in Asia, here is my recipe. This is served in my restaurant for many years that is also popular in many Asian countries. Try it with your friends and family and leave a comment. I am eager to find out how western people think about the Asian version of chow mein recipe.
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