Vegetable Chow Mein recipe

Where Chinese food is concerned, a bit of boiled rice with your main dish is great, but vegetable noodles trump that for me.  I really like chop suey and chow mein, so along with the chicken with ginger and spring onion we had the other day I made this.  Making this into a main course by adding a couple of hundred grams of meat, prawns, or just packing it full of vegetables is of course your choice too.  If you want to do this really finely slice some meat (or get your prawns in a bowl), marinade in a spoonful of soy sauce, a spoonful of rice wine, a spoonful of oil (preferably sesame), a pinch of salt and pepper, for about twenty minutes, and when you start the dish stir fry for a few minutes at the beginning of this recipe, adding it back into the pan before you put the noodles in.

These quantities will easily serve 4.

So for ingredients, you will need a selection of vegetables, I used spring onions, carrots, brocolli, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and red pepper, rough handfuls of each, feel free to change or add, bak choi, sugar snap peas, green beans, baby corn etc.  Have at least an equal weight of vegetables to the dried noodles. Everything should be sliced and chopped into smallish pieces.

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup / 120ml water or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1tbsp rice wine/sherry/wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • good pinch of ground pepper

Mix these in a bowl for later.

  • You’ll also want roughly 225 grams /  half a pound of dried egg noodles.  Place these in boiling water, soften, and drain. Toss a drizzle of sesame oil through them. (can be sunflower but the sesame taste is really very good)
  • And half a bulb of garlic, finely chopped. This will be about a tablespoonful.  The chinese tradionally use about double this, so if you really love your garlic than feel free to add more!

Get your wok / big pan really hot with a couple of spoonfuls of oil, then add your drained noodles, and toss until they are hot and the edges starting to crisp.  Remove for now.

Add a little more oil to the pan, get it hot and add the garlic, stirring constantly for 10 seconds, then add your vegetables, you may need to cook them in two batches depending on size and heat of your pan. Stir and toss the vegetables, adding a drizzle more oil or water if if starts to stick at all.

If cooking in batches do the things that take longest first, like peppers and brocolli, then as the pan is hot again and cooking them add the rest.

After about five minutes your vegetables should be cooking, you want them firm but not too crunchy.At this point put the meat back in if using, and then scatter the noodles aroung the outside of the pan.

and add the sauce, giving it a stir first so the cornflour has mixed back in. Use a up and over and outside to inside(if that makes any sense) method to get everything mixed together and hot, I use a pasta spoon, it’s got lots of fingers that get into the noodles and help you drag it, and a wooden spoon in the other, and tackle it with both hands. Stir for a couple of minutes until everything is well mixed, covered in sauce, and piping hot, and serve it up!

Sesame oil is used so sparingly in chinese cooking you may think you can do without it, I have to say though, if you do get some, the taste it adds is really amazing. A teaspoon is all you need in a dish, so get a tiny bottle and expect it to sit in your cupboard for ages, it’ll be worth it!

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