Chicken chow mein is one of the most iconic Chinese American dishes—this is how it’s done

Chicken chow mein is a bowlful of beautiful contrasting colours from a myriad of vegetables.

It’s basically a toss up or stir-fry for more technical terms, of noodles -typically ramen noodles- and flavourful chunks of chicken meat. It’s essentially the Asian noodle pilaf. It makes a great one-pot meal for busy weeknights since it comes together in a flash. If you have leftover vegetables or are trying to clean up your refrigerator before your next grocery day, a chow mein is a delicious way to do this.

Other meats such as pork or thinly sliced beef; even tofu can be used as well, so it’s basically up to your preference. The meats such as chicken and beef are sometimes seasoned with baking soda to soften and tenderize the meat. Chicken thighs are chosen as it’s more tender and juicy as opposed to chicken breast that tends to dry out if cooked for too long. Some persons don’t really enjoy chow mein because some restaurants make it feel almost as an afterthought – just random vegetables tossed up with any old noodle and some soy sauce for flavour. This video is far from that and yields a well-rounded umami flavoured dish.

It’s no secret that this dish has been recreated in a number of ways and the ingredients vary from region to region. In America it consists of the noodles, meat or tofu, onions and celery. There are two kinds that you can get; steamed chow mein and crispy chow mein also known as “Hong Kong” style chow mein. Steamed chow mein has a softer texture in comparison to the crispy chow mein where the flat noodles are fried. Sometimes you might find carrots, cabbage, mung beans or sprouts in the American style chow mein, but that is very rare.

Even the West Indies especially Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, because if their Chinese influence have their own rendition of chow mein. The preparation is similar with green beans, carrots, peas onions and chicken or pork. The major difference is that their local spices are added and the final dish is served with hot pepper sauce or scotch bonnet pepper.

4 cups noodles
1 cup chicken
1/3 cup mushrooms
1/3 cup broccoli
1/3 cup red or yellow pepper
1/3 cup onion
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
Several leaves of basil

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tbsp oil
1 egg white

1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp cornstarch
Few drops sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1. BOIL noodles with salty water for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix with some oil.
2. CUT chicken and marinade with light soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, oil and egg white for 15 minutes.
3. SAUTE chicken with 2 tbsp hot oil until fragrant then take out the chicken and set aside.
4. SAUTE vegetables with remaining hot oil then stir in chicken and noodles.
5. DRIZZLE in with pre-mixed seasoning and soy sauce, add basil and saute until fragrant. Serve.

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