There are lots of chow mein recipes out there, but this is how I like to make it. It reminds me of fast food chow mein, but it’s not nearly as greasy. I call for chicken here, but use whatever protein you like, or none at all. Chow mein are stir-fried noodles, the name being an English language corruption of the Taishanese chāu-mèing. This lovely dish is popular throughout the Chinese diaspora where it will appear on the menu of Chinese restaurants. It is particularly popular in the United States, India and Britain. The word means fried noodles, chow meaning fried and mein meaning noodles, in Mandarin Chinese. The pronunciation chow mein comes from the Taishan dialect of Chinese, spoken by immigrants from Taishan to America. In Taishanese, it is pronounced chāu-mèing. Anyway, the most important thing about chinese chow mein is that this dish it’s quite simple to make and extremely tasty. Try it with prawns as well!
225g dried or fresh egg noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 teaspoon
100g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into fine shreds
2½ tablespoons groundnut oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g mangetout, finely shredded
50g Parma ham or cooked ham, finely shredded
2 teaspoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ teaspoon golden caster sugar
2 spring onions, finely chopped
FOR THE MARINADE
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 3-5 mins, then drain and put them in cold water. Drain thoroughly, toss them with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and set aside. Combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients and ½ teaspoon salt, mix well and then leave to marinate for about 10 mins. Heat a wok over a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken shreds. Stir-fry for about 2 mins and then transfer to a plate. Wipe the wok clean. Reheat the wok until it is very hot, then add the remaining groundnut oil.
When the oil is slightly smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 secs. Then add the mangetout and ham, and stir-fry for about 1 min. Add the noodles, soy sauces, rice wine or Sherry, pepper, sugar, spring onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry for 2 mins. Return the chicken and any juices to the noodle mixture. Stir-fry for about 3-4 mins or until the chicken is cooked. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and give the mixture a few final stirs. Put on a warm platter and serve chow mein immediately.