We all love Chinese food and more often than not, rely on restaurants to satisfy our cravings. If I talk about myself, my Chinese experience is never complete without a serving of Chicken Chow Mein; it’s a no-brainer that this is one of the first things I order. This is also one of those things that most restaurants don’t get right.
My wife makes a mean Chow Mein which is universally loved by everyone in our family. If you talk about authenticity, this is a Pakistan-ized version similar to what’s served in restaurants across the country. I often hear people complaining why they are unable to prepare restaurant-style Chow Mein at home; well, here’s her secret. She cooks everything separately and assembles the Chow Mein towards the end; this not only keeps everything from turning into mush, but also gives a distinct flavour profile in every bite.
On those lazy nights when you don’t feel like going out or ordering in, what more could you want than a plate of piping hot stir-fried noodles? So here’s how you can prepare some in the confines of your own kitchen.
Prep Time: 35 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
- 300 grams egg noodles (or rice noodles, depending on your preference)
- 150 grams boneless chicken (cut into 1 cm thin strips)
- 2 medium-sized carrots (thin 1-inch julienne cut)
- ½ green bell pepper (julienne cut – if red and yellow bell peppers aren’t available, use 1 green bell pepper)
- ¼ red bell pepper (julienne cut)
- ¼ yellow bell pepper (julienne cut)
- 125 gm cabbage (thinly sliced)
- 2 spring onions (one inch pieces)
- 1 medium onion (thickly sliced)
- 6-7 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 4 tablespoon sesame oil (use vegetable oil if sesame is not available)
- 6 tablespoon soy sauce with honey-like consistency (if using the watery version, double the quantity)
- 6-8 tablespoon chili sauce (to taste)
- 2+1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoon salt required while boiling noodles)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chinese salt (Ajino Moto or MSG – optional)
- A pinch of sesame seeds (for garnish)
- Set aside all ingredients before starting to work on this recipe
- Boil noodles as per the instructions on the box; add two teaspoon salt during the process
- Drain the water and let the noodles cool
- In a wok, stir fry all the bell peppers in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; take it out in a bowl once done
- Next, stir fry the cabbage in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- Stir fry the thickly sliced onion in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- Stir fry the carrots in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- In a sauce pan, add all the remaining sesame oil along with soy sauce, chili sauce, black pepper, chinese salt, salt, chili flakes, and half of the garlic; cook for 3 minutes till the consistency is thick
- Once all vegetables have been separately stir-fried, add half of the remaining sesame oil and the garlic in a wok
- After a minute, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 mins (or till the chicken is tender) with the lid on
- Add in the noodles to the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes
- Add in the stir fried vegetables one by one and mix well
- Add the sauce to the noodles and cook for 2 minutes
- Finally, add in the spring onions and turn the heat off
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately!
Ciao (or should I say, Chow?)!