Chicken Chow Mein, a stir-fry delight, brings together tender chicken and vibrant vegetables with our homemade chow mein sauce. In Chinese, "Chow Mein" means stir-fried noodles, and this dish is a testament to its name, combining crunchy veggies and juicy chicken with these iconic noodles.
Enhanced with a hint of sambal oelek for those who enjoy a spicy touch, it's a versatile one-pot recipe perfect for a quick meal or a taste of Chinese takeout at home. Simple yet flavorful, it's an ideal choice for any dining occasion.
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Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
For this Chicken Chow Mein recipe, you'll need a variety of Asian sauces and fresh produce, all of which are typically found at your local Chinese grocery store. Here's what you'll need.
Ingredients for Marinating Chicken:
- Boneless Chicken: Use breast for a healthier, leaner option or thighs for richer flavor. Either choice promises tender, juicy bites in your Chow Mein.
- Soy Sauce: A blend of all-purpose and dark soy sauce is key. All-purpose soy sauce introduces a savory umami, while dark soy sauce adds a deep color and a nuanced, slightly sweet flavor.
- Chinese Cooking Wine: This ingredient elevates the marinade with a complex, acidic note. If unavailable, dry sherry is a great substitute, enhancing the dish's overall depth.
- Sambal Oelek: An optional but recommended addition for heat lovers. It allows you to customize the spice level and adds a zesty flavor both in the marinade and the sauce.
- Cornstarch: Essential for a smooth, even coating on the chicken. It helps to seal in the flavors and moisture, ensuring every bite is succulent.
- Aromatics (Ginger and Garlic): These are crucial for their fragrant, spicy notes. They infuse the chicken with a fresh, aromatic depth that's also mirrored in the chow mein sauce.
- White Pepper: Unlike black pepper, white pepper offers a milder, earthy heat, contributing a subtle yet distinct spice profile to the dish.
- Chow Mein Noodles: The backbone of the recipe. These noodles provide a delightful texture contrast, soaking up the flavors of the marinade and sauce for a truly authentic Chow Mein experience.
Ingredients for Chow Mein Sauce and Stir-Fry:
- Oyster Sauce: This adds a unique blend of sweetness and saltiness, harmonizing perfectly with soy sauce and sambal oelek to enrich the noodle flavor.
- Chicken Broth: Provides a savory base, enhancing the sauce's richness and depth. Vegetable broth can be a good alternative for a different flavor profile.
- Brown Sugar: A touch of sweetness to balance the savory flavors, ensuring a well-rounded taste in the dish.
- Vegetables (Spring Onions, Carrots, Cabbage): These classic choices add crunch and freshness. Feel free to include bean sprouts, celery, or other vegetables for extra texture and nutrition.
- Oil: Sesame oil is recommended for its distinctive, nutty flavor, contributing to the authentic taste of the dish. However, you can use any cooking oil that suits your preference.
How to Make Chicken Chow Mein at Home?
Dive into the process of creating your own Chicken Chow Mein with our easy-to-follow recipe. From marinating the chicken to crafting the perfect sauce and mastering the stir-fry, our steps, accompanied by photos and videos, will guide you to a delicious homemade meal. Let's get started!
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Chicken Chow Mein
For Marinating Chicken
- 1.5 lb Boneless Chicken, chicken breast or thighs
- 1 tbsp Garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp Ginger, grated
- 2 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine
- 1 tbsp All-Purpose Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek, optional
- ¼ ts White Pepper Powder
- Salt, to taste
For Chow Mein Sauce
- 1 tbsp All-Purpose Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Sambal Oelek, optional, added for spiciness
- 4 tbsp Chicken Broth
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 4 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Garlic, grated
- 1 tsp Ginger, grated
- ½ tsp White Pepper Powder
For Cooking and Seasoning Noodles
- 5 cups Water
- 12 oz Chow Mein Noodles
- 2 tsp Olive Oil, to drizzle on the noodles
For Stir Frying
- 3 tsp Oil
- 4 tbsp Spring Onions, white part chopped
- 1 small Carrot, julienned
- 1½ cup Cabbage, shredded thinly
- 4 tbsp Spring Onion, green part, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Combine chicken with the marination ingredients. Mix well, ensuring the chicken is evenly coated. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This resting period allows the flavors to deeply infuse into the chicken, enhancing its taste and tenderness.
Preparing Chow Mein Sauce
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all the Chow Mein sauce ingredients. This blending of flavors creates a harmonious and rich sauce, which will coat the noodles and chicken evenly during stir-frying. Set it aside for later use.
Cooking and Season Noodles
- Begin by filling a wide-bottomed pan or pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once it's boiling, add the Chow Mein noodles.
- Gently stir the noodles with tongs to separate them, ensuring they cook evenly. Follow the package instructions for cooking. After cooking, remove and drain the noodles. Then, quickly rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- After draining, season the noodles with a small amount of oil to keep them separate and prevent them from sticking together.
Preparing Chicken Chow Mein
- In a hot, oiled wok, lay the marinated chicken in a single layer. Allow it to sear undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Then stir and cook the chicken for about 7-10 minutes or until fully cooked. This technique creates a crispy exterior while keeping the inside juicy.
- Add spring onions, carrots, and cabbage, stirring and cooking for 2-3 minutes. The quick stir-fry retains the vegetables' texture and color.
- Introduce the cooked noodles and pour in the prepared sauce. Stir everything together thoroughly, ensuring the noodles and chicken are well coated with the sauce.
- Garnish with additional spring onions before removing from heat, adding a fresh, crunchy element to the dish.
- Serve the dish with your choice of sides to complement its flavors. For more pairing ideas and diverse serving suggestions, refer to the Serving Suggestions section.
Chef's Notes and Tips
Ingredient Selection and Preparation:
- Select Premium Fresh Ingredients: Freshness is key. Choose the crispest vegetables, the most flavorful sauces, and the freshest chicken to bring out the best in your dish.
- Preparation is Essential: Stir-frying moves quickly. Have your sauces mixed, vegetables chopped, and chicken marinated and ready to go. This ensures a smooth and efficient cooking process.
- Maximize Flavor with Aromatics: Fresh ginger and garlic are crucial. Grating them or using them in paste form releases their oils and maximizes their flavor, deeply enriching your dish.
- Customize Your Spice Level: Traditional Chow Mein is a balance of sweet and savory, but you can personalize it. Incorporate sambal oelek for heat, adjusting the quantity to match your spice preference.
- Consistent High Heat is Crucial: Keep your stove on high to achieve the characteristic tender-crisp texture of stir-fry. Stir continuously to cook the ingredients evenly and prevent any from burning.
- Mind the Space in Your Wok: An overcrowded wok leads to steaming rather than stir-frying. Cook in batches if necessary to ensure each ingredient has enough room to fry properly, maintaining the crispness and texture that is signature to Chicken Chow Mein.
- The Right Pan Makes a Difference: For the best Chicken Chow Mein, use a high-quality wok or cast iron skillet. These pans ensure even heat distribution for authentic, smoky flavors and, if seasoned, add the coveted "wok hei" – a smoky, charred aroma essential in Asian cooking.
- Noodle Preparation: Properly prepare your chow mein noodles. If they're too soft or overcooked, they'll become mushy during stir-frying. Follow the package instructions, and usually, a quick blanch is sufficient.
- Sauce Consistency: Adjust the consistency of your sauce to suit your preference. If you like your Chow Mein saucier, consider adding a bit more broth or water. If you prefer it drier, reduce the liquid components slightly.
- Ingredient Order Matters: Add ingredients to the wok in the order of their cooking times. Typically, start with the protein, followed by harder vegetables, and end with the softer ones. This ensures everything is perfectly cooked.
- Flavor Layering: Build layers of flavor by adding some of the aromatics at the beginning and some towards the end of the cooking process. This technique enhances the overall depth and freshness of the dish.
- Balancing Flavors: Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning. The key to a great Chow Mein is the balance between the savory, sweet, and spicy elements.
- Resting the Chicken: After marinating the chicken, let it rest for a bit before cooking. This helps the flavors to penetrate more deeply and the meat to cook more evenly.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Dive into a world of Asian-inspired stir-fry dishes, featuring a variety of chicken dinner recipes that promise to enhance your cooking skills. This selection offers a range of flavors, perfect for broadening your culinary experiences with delicious, diverse tastes.
For a delightful meal, pair Chicken Chow Mein with these serving suggestions:
- Rice Dishes: Chicken Chow Mein pairs exceptionally well with steamed rice, such as fragrant jasmine rice for a classic touch. For an extra burst of flavor, a side of vegetable or pineapple fried rice, adds a delightful twist to the savory noodles.
- Crispy Spring Rolls: Serve with crispy vegetable or chicken spring rolls for a delightful contrast in textures, offering a satisfying crunch alongside the tender Chicken Chow Mein.
- Stir-Fried Vegetables: Elevate your meal with a side of stir-fried greens such as bok choy, broccoli, or snow peas. They add a delightful crunch and a nutritious element to your Chicken Chow Mein.
- Hot Soup: Start your meal with a warm, soothing bowl of miso or egg drop soup. It's a light and comforting way to prepare your taste buds for the main course.
- Asian Salad: Complement your dish with a fresh Asian salad, featuring crisp greens and a zesty dressing. It offers a refreshing and tangy balance to the savory stir-fry.
Enjoy your Chicken Chow Mein best when it's freshly made. If you have leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For reheating, use the microwave or stovetop until it's thoroughly warm.