Lo Mein (捞面)
This popular Cantonese takeout dish is actually fairly simple to make at home, and can easily be adapted to your personal preferences. I’ve written this recipe using chicken, since chicken lo mein is the most commonly ordered version of the dish here in the States. However, you can omit the chicken in this recipe if you prefer a vegetarian dish (try adding some thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms in place of the meat, if you like), or you can substitute pork, shrimp, or beef in place of the chicken. Fresh lo mein noodles are great in this (back on Oahu, we used to buy big packages of fresh noodles from Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory), but if you can’t find lo mein noodles, pancit kanton (found in Filipino grocery stores) makes a good substitute. For a healthier option, you can also use whole wheat spaghetti instead of the lo mein noodles.
Fun fact: The term lōu mihn (捞面) comes from Cantonese and means “stirred noodles”. In Cantonese, the character 捞 means “to stir”, but in Mandarin it’s pronounced “lāo” and means “to dredge” or “to scoop out of water”, so in Mandarin, this dish is more typically called bàn miàn (拌麵).
- 3/4 pound lo mein noodles
- Sesame oil (start with a small amount)
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
- 1 cup julienned carrot (2 large)
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery (1-2 stalks)
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion (1 medium)
- 3/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 10 oz. chicken breast, sliced thin, flattened (use the bottom of a glass), and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup vegetable oil
Combine the hoisin and soy sauces in a small bowl to make sauce and mix well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix corn starch, soy sauce, and water together to make the marinade; add chicken, and toss to to coat thoroughly. Let marinate for at least ten minute s (now is a good time to cook the noodles).
Cook the lo mein noodles in boiling salted water until al dente. Cool. Toss lightly with sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
In a wok or a large skillet, heat vegetable oil until very hot, and then fry chicken in small batches. Fry until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Drain chicken on paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain oil from wok. Return wok to stove top.
Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the wok and quickly sauté the ginger, garlic and scallions until they release aroma, then add the carrots, celery and onions and briefly sauté before adding the bean sprouts, about 2 minutes.
In a separate medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil and sauté the noodles. When they are hot and look pan-fried or lightly browned, add them to the other sautéed ingredients in the wok. Add the soy-hoisin mixture and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and serve.
Makes 4 servings.