Crispy pan fried noodles topped with a saucy chicken and vegetable stir fry, my favourite dish at my local Chinese. On the table in 20 minutes!
At my local Chinese, they call this Crunchy Chow Mein Noodles. It’s a Hong Kong / Cantonese style dish, and there are a lot of variations but the core of it is a bed of crunchy noodles topped with a saucy stir fry. The stir fry topping is much saucier than most Chinese stir fries (authentic ones, not Western restaurant versions) and this is because you need the sauce otherwise the noodles can be a bit too dry.
You can buy crunchy fried noodles at grocery stores and Asian grocery stores which you can use instead of pan frying your own. But have a look at the nutrition information before you decide to use it! The brand at my local grocery store is 350 calories per serving (that’s just the noodles, then you need to add the topping).
In any case, I love making my own because fresh made crunchy noodles are sensational and if you haven’t tried it before, you are in for a treat. It’s simple to make and the only thing you need to remember is to use the right noodles. Make sure you get a packet of Chow Mein Noodles. Whether you get them from the supermarket or Asian grocery store, they will say “Chow Mein” on the packet (even the Asian brands with Chinese characters on it that you can’t read, it should still display “Chow Mein” in English!).
This recipe won’t work using hokkien or singapore noodles or other common types of noodles because they are stickier and wetter so they don’t crisp up as well. Chow Mein noodles are distinctly drier and a bit crinkly.
Pan frying the noodles is super easy. You just fry one side in the wok, then slide it onto a plate, then flip it back into the wok to crisp the other side. Because there’s no binding agent, you can’t flip the noodles without the aide of a plate. But trust me, it’s super easy. If I can do it, anyone can!
Other than using the right noodles, there’s nothing tricky about making this recipe. As with all stir fries, once you start cooking it comes together very quickly. So have all the ingredients prepared and ready to toss into the wok. And make sure you serve it the minute this comes off the stove because it would be such a shame if the noodles went soggy!
Don’t let the list of ingredients daunt you. There’s a lot of double up because of the way I group ingredients together for different parts of the recipe. You’ll have this on the table in 20 minutes, making it a great midweek meal treat!
- 150g/5oz fresh chow mein noodles
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 carrot, sliced diagonally
- 1 bok choy, stems and leaves separated with stems cut vertically into sticks.
- 2 shallots/scallions, cut into 5cm/2" pieces
- 1 cup cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 150g/5oz chicken, cut into bite size pieces
- 1½ tsp light soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp corn starch
- White pepper, one dash
- 3 tbsps cornflour / corn starch
- 3 tbsp water
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- Combine Chicken and Marinade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Turn oven onto low (to keep noodles warm while you cook the topping).
- Loosen the chow mein noodles with your fingers.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok over medium high heat. Place noodles into wok and gently pat into a round pancake.
- Add water. Wait until the water evaporates, then let cook for a further 1 to 2 minute until the bottom of the noodles are golden brown (lift up with a spatula to check).
- Slide noodles onto a plate. Return wok to heat and add remaining 1 tbsp oil into wok. Flip noodles upside down back into the wok to crisp the other side. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Slide noodles onto serving plate and keep warm in the low oven, uncovered.
- Mix together cornflour and 3 tbsp water in a medium size bowl until there are no lumps.
- Add remaining sauce ingredients and mix to combine.
- Heat 1tbsp oil in wok over high heat. Add garlic and fry for 10 to 15 seconds until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn.
- Add chicken and marinade, then stir fry until it turns a very light golden brown, but not yet cooked through.
- Add the carrot, bok choy stems and shallots, then stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the Sauce into the wok, bring to simmer and cook, stirring, for 1 to 1½ minutes so the sauce thickens.
- Turn off heat. Add the bok choy leaves, cabbage and bean sprouts and gently stir to coat with sauce and allow residual heat to wilt these vegetables.
- Place stir fry and sauce over crispy noodles. Serve immediately.