Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein (豉油皇炒面)
I love Cantonese dim sum and every time I go dim sum, other than the dainty little dumplings and soft fluffy steamed buns, I always order a plate of supreme soy sauce chow mein, or 豉油皇炒面. Supreme soy sauce chow mein is basically plain fried egg noodles seasoned with soy sauce. The greasy, glistening, brown-colored fried noodle dish is the epitome of Cantonese cooking: the simplest ingredients, perfect breadth of wok or wok hei, and the timing of wok cooking. A great supreme soy sauce chow mein can be very addictive and utterly scrumptious, no less than the flavorful and delicate dim sum. It’s a plate of savory, toasty (from the perfect wok hei), and greasy goodness! I can’t stop eating it and always want more.
Since the ingredients are really simple, I decided to attempt it at home. I fired up my well-seasoned cast iron wok, prepared all the ingredients and had them right beside the wok. Using a pair of long wooden chopsticks, I successfully created my favorite dish at home, and the smoke alarm didn’t go off while I wok hei’ed the noodles! Having the ingredients right by the wok is essential to the success of this recipe because the high heat cooking process is so short that you have no time to turn around and find your ingredients, as just a matter of a few seconds can render your noodles overcooked and unsuccessful.
For this supreme soy sauce chow mein recipe, it’s important to use a pair of long chopsticks to “stir fry” the noodles as they are more versatile than spatula; the motion of tossing the noodles with the chopsticks will loosen up the noodles so they don’t clump together. As a result, your noodles will be perfectly blended with the soy sauce seasonings, every strand of the noodle lustrously coated with the oil, and the bean sprouts and yellow chives will be perfectly cooked and remain fresh and crunchy. So there you have it, the secret technique of making it Chinese restaurant worthy.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to use oil. In fact, use oil generously in this chow mein recipe, because without the glistening and greasy sheen on the noodles, it ain’t the classic and iconic Cantonese supreme soy sauce chow mein that we all love so much. Dig in and enjoy!
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