Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicken Chow Mein

When I was a kid, Chow Mein was from a can (La Choy I think) over dried noodles from a can, except the one time I remember my aunt making it fresh and how much I liked it. Over the years, as we’ve eaten at Chinese restaurants, there was always something on the menu I wanted more, so it’s been well over 25 years since I’ve had it. I saw a recipe for it several months ago and have been wanting to make it since, but kept wanting other things more.

Then I saw an article on the web and the desire was rekindled, and it seemed like something we could make to fit in with Bev’s restrictive diet. I'd saved the recipe from cdkitchen and decided I could adjust it a little and omit as much oil and starch as possible. Following is what I made, but the original can be seen by clicking on the link. I used the canned chow mein noodles as they were one of the favorite parts from my childhood.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

3/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used our homemade)
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2  tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in
4 tablespoons water

1 cup chicken broth (I added it 1/4 cup at a time when needed to cook the veggies in lieu of more oil)
2 medium ribs celery, 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 # broccoli in small florets
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 green onion, sliced (I didn't have any)
2 cans water chestnuts, drained
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
1 cans bean sprouts, drained (Bev's not a fan or would have used 2)
2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying and stir-frying
Canned chow mein noodles

1. Cut the chicken into thin strips or bite sized pieces and marinate for 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce by whisking the chicken broth with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch and water mixture and set aside.
3. Wash and prep the vegetables.
4. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the chicken. Let the meat brown briefly, then stir-fry until the redness is gone and the meat is nearly cooked through. Remove the cooked meat and onion from the pan.
5. Cook the rest of the vegetables separately, except for the green onion, seasoning each with a bit of salt while stir-frying if desired, and adding broth (or oil) as needed. Remove each of the vegetables from the pan when finished stir-frying.  I added the bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots together and last.
6. Add all the removed ingredients back into the wok, making a "well" in the middle of the wok for the sauce.
7. Give the sauce a quick stir and add the to the pan, stirring quickly to thicken. Mix everything together. Stir in the green onions.

8. Ladle over the noodles and have extra Soy and Oyster Sauces available.

It turned out pretty good, but I believe it need more of the sauces.  Next time I'll be very careful with salt additions so more soy and oyster sauce can be added without getting it too salty.  We gave it a 3.5 out of 5 and it satisfied my chow mein craving - or it will have after I eat the leftovers.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Another delicious meal - a little tweaking of the sauces and seasonings and it will be perfectly to your taste.

    Sending care and very warm huggles to you both from a way too hot and humid Wellington (this isn't usual summer weather for us),

    Michelle and Zebbycat (he's purring, I'm just wilting in the soggy heat)

  2. I don't think my mom ever bought the canned variety, but I do remember giving it a try when I was first married. It and pizza were so exotic compared to the meat and potato life on the farm. Were the canned sprouts nice and crisp?

  3. Funny, when I was a kid, Chow Mein came from a can too!! lol I remember disliking it so much that it took me quite a few years before I actually tried freshly made Chow Mein!! Simple and delicious!!

  4. I haven't made chow mein in ages. I usually just get a take out order but think home made is much better. If my market has fresh bean sprouts I usually add them. Their crispness makes a difference. Thanks for the recipe, Larry.

  5. i remember Mom making LaChoy Chow Mein -and we loved the crunchy little noodles. I used to take my kids out for Chinese and discovered Lo Mein with soft noodles and it became one of my favorites at the little neighborhood dive. I'm sure I could adapt this recipe = thanks for sharing!

  6. I haven't had Chow Mein in ages either; I used to order it when I was a teeager at a local restaurant. My mom always made the canned stuff too.
    Your Chow Mein looks really good Larry and I'm inspired to try it myself. Have a great day!

  7. I have never made homemade Chow Mein. I remember eating it from the can --but since I'm not crazy about soy sauce, I stay away from most things with soy sauce in them... But--I'll bet your Chow Mein is delicious...

  8. My mother would never buy chow mein, despite her penchant for canned/pre-prepared meals. Yours looks terrific. I'm always careful about salt when I have to use soy sauce, too, especially because I don't really like salt.

  9. Hi Larry! It brings back memories for me too! My Momma always had chicken Chow Mein at lesat once a month. We too, loved the La Choy noodles in the can. Your version looks yummy!
    Take care,

  10. It sure looks good Larry! I don't think I've ever attempted this at home, but I don't usually order it out either. Like you I always want something else more! I do remember making it from the can 100 years ago, but can't remember if I really liked it!

  11. Larry,
    I tried a "crock pot" chow mein last week. I was planning on blogging about it but it really got over cooked. It's wasn't bad but faster stir-fry is the way to go. Yours looks yummy!

  12. When you mentioned the La Choy, it reminded me so much of the early 70's when my mom made that stuff. Back then I was excited to be eating "international cuisine".

    I like your thoughts on making again and watching salt content.


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