Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken Chow Mein

Making restaurant quality chicken chow mein at home is a bit tricky, because it’s difficult to keep your wok hot enough during the cooking process, which will results in soggy veggies and noodles.  My fix is to cook everything in stages and a bit backwards.

Instead of frying my noodles, I bake them in a hot 400 degree oven to crisp them up. Then I stir fry the vegetables to get them wilted and fragrant so that they stay crisp.  I brown the chicken and make the gravy in the same wok .  Once the gravy has thickened I add back the vegetables and pour it over the noodles.

The extra step of removing the veggies and then cooking the chicken and gravy separate will allow your wok to maintain its heat, resulting in a beautifully browned chicken and stir fried veggies that keep their crispness.

There is no absolute vegetable selection, choose your favorites.  A good ratio is about 8 cups veggies to 1 pound of noodles.

1 pound fresh steamed chow mein noodles
½ Tbsp. oyster sauce (to toss with the noodles)
1 small carrot, sliced thin
½ med onion, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
4 sprigs green onion, cut into 2” pieces
½ small cabbage or nappa, chopped small
Chicken Marinade
1 pound chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sherry
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  1. Marinate chicken in chicken marinade for at least 15 min., and up to an hour.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Soak noodles in hot tap water for 1-2 minutes to loosen; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  4. Place the noodles on a sheet pan and toss with about 1-2 Tbsp. oil to coat noodles. Spread out evenly and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes; flip the noodles over and bake for another 10 minutes or until the edges start to crisp up. Place the noodles on a serving platter tented with foil to keep warm (or time the noodles to finish at the same time as the topping).  Drizzle oyster sauce over your noodles and gently toss.  This adds a nice flavor to the noodles.
  5. Heat a wok on high; add ½ Tbsp. oil and stir fry the veggies until wilted and fragrant.  Transfer to a dish and set aside.
  6. Place the wok back on the stove and add; ½ Tbsp oil and carefully add chicken (it will splatter) spread out but don’t stir. Let brown for 2 minutes then flip to brown other side.  When the chicken is browned, add the sauce mixture and stir until it thickens. 
  7. Add back the veggies; stir to blend and pour over noodles.  Garnish with green onions.

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