Mr. C and I recently attended a birthday party for our good friend Dave. Dave (I never use last names, but he knows who he is) was turning 60. Poor old guy! And among the guests were our good friends Larry and Clay.

Clay and I started talking about food, (what a surprise!) and he asked me if I had a good chow mein recipe. (He and Larry love to go out for Chinese food, but sometimes they just want to stay home, but still be able to enjoy one of their favorites.) I told Clay my cooking repertoire was sorely lacking in the Asian food department. But I told him I would look into chow mein and see what I could find.

Turns out recipes on the internet for chow mein are as abundant as recipes for spaghetti and meatballs. And since I have been concentrating lately on Italian cuisine, I thought I would try a recipe for chow mein from a chef who has some Italian ancestry. (Why a chef with Italian heritage you ask? All I can say is that it made sense at the time! Maybe it was the noodle part.) Anyway, I made a few changes to Guy Fieri’s recipe for Hong Kong Style Noodles with Chicken. And because Mr. C and I enjoyed it so much, I decided to post the recipe right in the middle of my series on Italian cuisine. (Again, it must be the noodle part. That’s the only thing that makes even a semblance of sense to me!) But regardless, this is truly a wonderful recipe and I wanted to share it with you as soon as possible.

To my thinking, the chili garlic sauce in the marinade gives the chicken just the right amount of spiciness. Enough to get your attention, but not enough to beat up your taste buds. (I don’t really appreciate having my mouth set on fire, but if you do, by all means add more chili sauce or even some crushed red pepper flakes.)

If you are a true devotee of Chinese food, you know that some chow mein recipes have a high fat content. I have reduced the amount of fat in this recipe to the lowest amount I feel is reasonable. Another thing you should know is that the “planned-overs” were just as good as the chow mein fresh off the flame. (You just can’t ask for more than that!)

So next time you get a hankering for a relatively simple to prepare, economical, and tasty alternative to going out for “the real thing”, give this recipe a try.   个饱 Gè bǎo

  • 6 T. soy sauce, divided (low sodium is fine, as is Tamari or GF Tamari)
  • 2 T. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T. chili garlic sauce (use less if you don’t like spicy chow mein)
  • 4 T. cornstarch, divided
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut 1/4-inch slices (or pork, shrimp, or beef)
  • 3 T. vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 T. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 small carrot cut into 1/4-inch sticks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch bias-cut chunks
  • ½ medium sized onion, sliced 1/8-inch
  • 1 red pepper cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms (I like part button and part shiitake)
  • 4 oz. snow peas, 1/2-inch bias cut strips
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • 8-10 ounces chow mein noodles, cooked al dente (follow instructions on the package)
  • 1/2 c. bias cut green onions, garnish

In a re-sealable plastic bag add 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste, and 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch; mush together thoroughly. Add the chicken and marinate for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, chicken stock, remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan or wok (I use a very large non-stick pan because less oil is required), heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to almost the smoking point and add chicken, separating each piece after you get all of the chicken in the pan. Cook chicken until just browned on both sides. (Do not overcook.) Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and add the carrot and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes then add the onion, red pepper, and mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Finally add the snow peas, and bean sprouts. Stir in the chicken broth mixture and let burble until sauce thickens. Stir in the cooked chicken and cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately sprinkled with green onions.

Note: If you prefer rice to noodles, just prepare the sauce and serve over steamed rice. For gluten free – use GF Tamari and serve over steamed rice.