Vegetable Chow Mein
When you order chow mein in the United States, your meal is likely to look different depending on your location: In the Northeast, it might be a plate full of gravy-laden stir-fried vegetables crowned with crispy noodles, whereas on the West Coast, the strands are thick and chewy. More traditional Cantonese restaurants will serve up deep-fried noodles, but in New York City, those noodles might be softer and thinner. Some versions use soy sauce liberally, while others abstain entirely. This Hong Kong-style chow mein is from the chef Lucas Sin, who researches regional Chinese cuisine and how it has morphed across the globe. This recipe, from his menu at Nice Day, a Chinese American takeout place in New York, is stained with soy sauce and has a robust vegetable-to-noodle ratio. It’s bouncy, it has bite, and it’s delicious hot off the wok (or even cold from the fridge).
- Serves: 2 persons
- 8ounces (uncooked) Hong Kong-style pan-fried noodles
- 2tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
- ½large white or yellow onion, halved tip to tip, then sliced stem to stem ¼-inch-thick
- ½large red bell pepper, sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips
- ½large green bell pepper, sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips
- 1 ½cups bean sprouts
- ¾cup trimmed and chopped Chinese chives (cut into 2-inch segments)
- 2tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1tablespoon abalone sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½teaspoons chicken bouillon powder or mushroom bouillon powder
Step 1Prepare the noodles: Bring a large wok (or pot) of water to a boil.
Step 2Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauces, abalone sauce, sugar and boullion powder until everything is dissolved and evenly combined.
Step 3Cook noodles for 1 minute, then transfer to a colander. Rinse the cooked noodles with very cold water until bouncy and totally cool. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a large sheet tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil to prevent sticking and toss to coat. Spread noodles in a single layer and set aside. Wipe the wok dry.
Step 4Set the wok (or a large skillet) over high heat until lightly smoking. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions and bell peppers, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Let it cook undisturbed until slightly charred on one side, about 1 minute. Toss again. Add the bean sprouts and Chinese chives, and stir-fry until the Chinese chives are dark green, about 1 minute.
Step 5Add the cooked, drained noodles to the wok and toss to combine. Keep cooking and stirring until the noodles are toasty and totally dry, about 2 minutes.
Step 6Add the chow mein sauce. Using chopsticks, vigorously and quickly mix the noodles thoroughly until the sauce is equally distributed and the noodles are all the same shade. Plate and serve.