Are you craving some classic comfort food with an Asian twist? Try this old fashioned chicken chow mein recipe. With tender chicken, crisp vegetables, and savory sauce, this dish gives you a traditional chow mein test.
Here’s how to make this classic dish step-by-step in your kitchen. So grab your wok and get ready to whip up a delicious meal that will satisfy both your hunger and your craving for something familiar.
What Is Old Fashioned Chow Mein?
Chow mein is a Chinese dish made with egg noodles and stir-fried vegetables. I love adding protein; my favorite is chicken. But you can add other meat or tofu.
The noodles are pan-fried in this dish, so they get a nice crisp and then tossed in a delicious sauce. A thick, dark sauce gives Chow Mein its signature flavor. A perfect combination of sweet and salty, it’s impossible to put down your chopsticks.
Main Ingredients Of Old Fashioned Chicken Chow Mein
To make this simple recipe, here are the ingredients.
Chicken: I prefer chicken breasts, but chicken thighs will also work. Cut them into cubes and make sure they are boneless.
Noodles: You’ll need one box of spaghettini pasta (375 grams or 13 ounces) or one pack of dried ramen or chow mein noodles for this recipe.
Fresh Vegetables: The combination of red bell pepper, snap peas, shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix), and matchstick carrots is colorful and simple to prepare. However, you can use any vegetable you like!
Oil: I use canola oil to cook the chicken and vegetables gently, but you can substitute any oil you choose. Ensure that it has a high melting point. You want to make sure the flavor of a more delicate oil is good. It is common to use sesame oil for finishing, but its flavor is strong, so I recommend just a few drops.
Garlic: I prefer freshly minced garlic, but garlic powder works as well.
Ginger: I use minced fresh ginger in this recipe, but powdered ginger will still work well.
Red Pepper Flakes: You can omit these for a milder dish or add cayenne for more heat.
Broth: To make my chow mein more flavorful, I cook it in chicken broth instead of water. But You can also use vegetable broth or water, depending on what is available or what you prefer.
Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce: Usually, I combine two sauces. These two Asian sauces make the perfect chow mein sauce.
Cornstarch: You can thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
How to Make Old Fashioned Chicken Chow Mein?
You’ll need to saute everything briefly, then simmer until cooked through. If you prepare your ingredients before you start cooking, it will be easier and faster.
Step 1: Cook the Cubed Chicken
Over medium-high heat, place a large skillet. Heat the oil for a few seconds. Stir-fry or saute the chicken cubes until they are mostly brown when the oil is hot.
Step 2: Cook the Vegetables
Then add the bell peppers, peas, cabbage, and carrots (or your choice of veggies) and cook for a few minutes.
Step 3: Add the Spices
Add the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes, and cook for one minute to release their flavors and fragrances.
Step 4: Add Liquids and Noodles
Add your broth (or water), the soy sauce, and the hoisin sauce. Bring everything to a boil over medium heat. Add the noodles and reduce the heat to medium.
Step 5: Finish Cooking
Combined with the other ingredients, cook the old-fashioned chicken chow mein for about 5 minutes uncovered. To prevent clumping and sticking, stir the chow mein frequently. Cover the pot and cook for 3-4 more minutes until the chow mein is done.
It is now time to serve the chicken chow mein. Mix some cornstarch with water and stir it into the pot if you want a thicker sauce. Stirring will thicken the sauce.
Expert Tips for Old Fashioned Chicken Chow Mein
Drain the noodles thoroughly. Chow mein will become mushy if you add too much water to the pan.
For this dish, you can also use firm, well-drained tofu cubes or browned ground beef. I do not recommend using steak cubes since they may overcook or undercook.
It might be a good idea to mix up the vegetables. You can choose from onions, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, snow peas, bean sprouts, green onions, bok choy, and water chestnuts.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers?
Keep this chicken chow mein in the refrigerator in airtight containers. It can be stored for up to three days.
You can reheat chicken chow mein in the microwave or a covered skillet. The bottom layer of the pot may become scorched, and the top layer may become cold if the pot is reheated.
Using a shallow layer on a plate, microwave the desired portion for 10-30 seconds at a time until hot. To prevent hot and cold spots, stir constantly.
To Reheat on the Stove
In a skillet, place the desired portion in a shallow layer. If the choice mein seems dry, add a splash of water or broth. Cover and heat on low until the dish is steaming.
- Canola oil - 1 tablespoon
- Boneless Chicken Breast - 3 cups
- Noodles -375 grams (whole grain spaghettini pasta (or an equal amount of dried ramen or chow mein)
- Veggies -4 cups (as you like)
- Garlic -2 teaspoons
- Ginger-1 teaspoons
- Red pepper flakes - ¼-½ teaspoon
- Chicken broth - 4 cups
- Soy sauce - ⅓ cup
- hoisin sauce-⅓ cup
- Water - 2 tablespoons (optional)
- Corn starch - 1 tablespoon (optional)
- Honey - For sweetening (optional)
- Cook chicken over medium-high heat in oil until mostly browned.
- Cook pepper, peas, cabbage, and carrot for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
- Then add the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook for a minute.
- Over medium-high heat, add broth, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Reduce heat to medium and add pasta.
- Cover and cook until al dente or desired tenderness, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent clumps.
- To thicken the sauce, combine cornstarch and water and stir into pasta. If necessary, add a tablespoon or so of honey to balance out the soy sauce. Then serve.
Why Is Vinegar Used In Chow Mein?
In Chinese dishes and stir-fries, vinegar is most commonly used. It enhances the taste and adds the right amount of tanginess to chow mein. If you have none, you can easily substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar. You can add it to any dish, which is safe to use.
Which is Better: Chicken Chow Mein or Chicken Lo Mein?
Choosing between the two is mostly a matter of taste since both dishes can be modified to suit your preference. Chow mein may be the best choice if you prefer lightly sauced noodles with some crunch and vegetables with some snap. You may choose lo mein if you prefer a more comforting noodle dish.
Is Chow Mein a Healthy Food?
No, Chow Mein is unhealthy. It contains high calories and sodium. One can make it healthy at home by substituting healthy vegetables and using less oil and sodium.
This old-fashioned chicken chow mein recipe is the perfect choice when you’re in the mood for a comforting and delicious meal. Its tender chicken, crisp vegetables, and flavorful sauce deliver all the traditional flavors of a classic chow mein dish. Whether cooking for yourself or feeding a crowd, this recipe is easy to follow and will surely satisfy your hunger.