We all love Chinese food and more often than not, we rely on restaurants to satisfy our cravings. My experience with Chinese food is never complete without a serving of chicken chow mein — it’s one of the first things I order at a restaurant, but sadly it is a dish that most restaurants don’t get right.
Nonetheless, I often hear people complaining about being unable to imitate restaurant-style chow mein at home. Well, here’s the secret: cooks everything separately and assemble the chow mein towards the end. This not only keeps all the ingredients from turning into mush, but also gives a distinct flavour to every bite.
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Here’s how you can prepare a plate of piping hot stir fried noodles in the confines of your own kitchen.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Serving: 3 to 4 people
– 300gms egg noodles (or rice noodles, depending on your preference)
– 150gms boneless chicken (cut into 1cm strips)
– Two medium-sized carrots (julienne cut)
– ½ green bell pepper (julienne cut. If red and yellow bell peppers aren’t available, use 1 green bell pepper)
– red bell pepper (julienne cut)
– yellow bell pepper (julienne cut)
– 125gms cabbage (thinly sliced)
– 2 spring onions (one inch pieces)
– 1 medium onion (thickly sliced)
– 6 to 7 garlic cloves (crushed)
– 4 tablespoons sesame oil (use vegetable oil if sesame is not available)
– 6 tablespoons soy sauce
– 6 to 8 tablespoons chili sauce (to taste)
– 2+1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons required while boiling noodles)
– ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
– teaspoon black pepper
– teaspoon white vinegar
– ½ teaspoon chinese salt (Ajino Moto or MSG; optional)
– A pinch of sesame seeds (for garnish)
– Boil noodles as per the instructions on the box; add two teaspoons of 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 them 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 to 5 minutes (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!
Muhammad Yousuf Bawany
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2016.
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