Chow Mein Recipe
What is Chow Mein?
Chow Mein (sometimes spelled as chowmin) is one of the best Chinese recipes. It’s made of noodles, vegetables, protein such as chicken, shrimp, beef or pork.
The ingredients are stir-fried with cooking oil, garlic and seasonings of soy sauce and oyster sauce in a wok.
It’s different from Lo Mein, which is a similar Chinese noodles dish but without stir-frying.
Other Chow Mein Recipes You Might Like:
How to Make Chow Mein?
To cook the classic Chinese noodles, first you have to decide on the list of fresh ingredients to use:
- Protein – you can use chicken, shrimp, beef or pork. You can also use squid and scallop. Choose your main protein or combine a few ingredients together.
- Vegetables – you can use cabbage, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, carrot or scallion. I like the combinations of cabbage, carrot and scallion.
- Seasoning sauce – you can use oyster sauce, soy sauce or a combination of both sauces for the best flavors.
You can make the noodles on a skillet or traditional Chinese wok. First, cook the noodles on high heat with oil, garlic and stir fry the protein. Next, add the noodles and seasoning sauce, stir fry until all ingredients are cooked through.
Chow Mein Noodles
There are all kinds of fresh and dry noodles available in the market. There are also thin and thick noodles.
For the best and most authentic homemade Chow Mein like Chinese restaurants or takeouts, I recommend thin, fresh egg noodles.
The picture above shows two brands of fresh egg noodles.
The color of the noodles is slightly different but the texture is similar. There are eggs in both noodles. There is flour that coats every strand of the noodle.
In Asian or Chinese grocery stores, you can find egg noodles in a clear plastic bag, like the picture above. They are available in the noodles section of the stores.
If you use dry egg noodles, follow the package instructions to boil the noodles first before stir frying.
For the best chow mein recipe, please follow my tips, techniques and secrets below:
- If you use fresh egg noodles, run cold water over the noodles and rise them before using. This will get rid of the flour on the surface.
- Drain the noodles dry using a colander. This will ensure that your noodles are not soggy.
- Make the sauce in advance by mixing all the ingredients together.
- The best utensil for making Chinese noodles is a well-seasoned Chinese wok and a pair of long wooden chopsticks. You can use spatula but a pair of chopsticks will loosen up the noodles while stir-frying. This will avoid the noodles from clumping and sticking together.
- Be generous with the cooking oil.
- Check out my Perfect Stir-Frying Techniques for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Difference Between Chow Mein vs Lo Mein?
These two popular Chinese noodle dishes are completely different.
Chow Mein is stir-fried noodles while Lo Mein is mixed and toss noodles with its ingredients and sauce.
Click here for Chow Mein vs Lo Mein.
How Many Calories Per Serving?
This recipe is only 429 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with this Recipe?
This meal is best served with a Chinese main dish or side dishes. For a wholesome meal and Chinese restaurant style dinner at home, I recommend the following recipes:
Pairs well with:
- 8 oz. steamed chow mein or fresh chow mein noodles
Chow Mein Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 oz. chicken, cut into thin strips
- 6 medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 2 stalks scallions, cut into 2-inch strips
Soak the chow mein noodles in cold water for about 5 minutes. Rinse a few times until the water turns clear and the noodles have become soft. Drain the excess water and set aside. (Don't over soak the noodles or they will become soggy.)
In a small mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients of the Chow Mein Sauce together. Set aside.
Heat up a skillet or wok with the oil. Add in the garlic and stir-fry until light brown or aromatic. Add the chicken and shrimp and stir fry until they are half cooked. Add the shredded cabbage and carrot into the wok and do a few quick stirs. Add the noodles and the soy sauce mixture. Continue to stir fry until the noodles are well combined with the soy sauce mixture and completely cooked through. Add the chopped scallions, do a few final stirs, dish out and and serve hot.