One of my all time favourite dishes at my local Chinese!! Crispy noodles topped with a saucy chicken and vegetable stir fry, this is a CRUNCHY version of Chow Mein. You’ll love how the sauce soaks the noodles so some of it is soft, while some of it stays crispy.
Made healthier by pan frying rather than deep frying the noodles, this is an easy recipe that can be on the table in 20 minutes!
Chinese Crispy Noodles
At my local Chinese, they call this Crispy 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 deep fried crunchy noodles topped with a saucy stir fry.
The stir fry topping is much saucier than most Chinese stir fries and this is because you need plenty of sauce so it soaks through some of the noodles, softening them so they can be slurped up like normal noodles.
But the best part is all the crunchy noodle bits that remain! So as you eat your way through the plate, you get that awesome combo of juicy chicken, tender-crisp vegetables, loads of tasty Chinese brown sauce, soft slippery noodles AND crunchy noodles.
It’s crazy good!!!
How to make Chinese Crispy Noodles
Typically, the crunchy noodles served at Chinese restaurants are deep fried.
Tasty, for sure, but my skinny jeans aren’t so much of a fan. 😤
So when I make Chinese Crispy Noodles at home, I pan fry them. It means that the very centre of the noodles don’t go 100% crispy like when you deep fry.
But the entire surface area of the noodle “pancake” does get crispy, so as long as you make them fairly thin, you certainly won’t feel like you’ve been cheated of crispiness!!!
What you need for Crunchy Chow Mein
Here’s what you need for Crunchy Chow Mein. I’ve separated the photos into two components:
Base ingredients – for the sauce and the crispy noodles; and
Vegetable options for topping – there’s really no rules here. Just use around 4 to 5 cups of any vegetables you want.
Type of Noodles
This recipe for Chinese Crispy Noodles won’t work using refrigerated fresh Hokkien noodles, egg 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 – see image below – and this is what makes it possible to make them crispy in a pan!
Can’t find Chow Mein noodles?
No problem! Just use ramen noodles or instant noodles (see this Ramen Stir Fry recipe for photos). Spray the UNCOOKED noodles with oil and BAKE! (Yes really, it works 100% perfectly)
The most important part – crunch retention!!
The idea with this recipe is that there’s plenty of sauce, so it soaks the noodles and makes them soft so they can be picked up with chopsticks like normal noodles.
BUT it’s VERY important to ensure that you retain a SOME crunch! What I like to do is to pour the saucy topping in the centre of the crunchy noodle cake so the edges stay crunchy.
The one caveat I have about these Crispy Noodles is that you will make a bit of a mess of yourself eating it. Those darn crunchy noodle bits, they stick out all over the place.
So when you try to shovel noodles into your mouth, it’s inevitable that some of those crunchy bits stick out and miss your mouth, so you end up with sauce all over your face.
That’s just part of the fun of eating this!! ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
More unmissable Asian noodles!
Classic Chow Mein – also see the Emergency Chow Mein Ramen recipe!
Chinese Chicken Salad – with crispy noodles!
Express noodles: Quick Beef Ramen Noodles, Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodles and 12 Minute Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles
Browse the Noodle recipes collection!
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Chinese Crispy Noodles with saucy Chicken and Vegetables (crispy CHOW MEIN!)
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (shoasing wine) (sub Dry Sherry, Mirin, Note 1)
- 1.5 tbsp soy sauce , light or all purpose (not dark soy)
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- White pepper , one dash
- 3/4 cup (185ml) chicken stock / broth , low sodium
- 3 tbsps cornflour / corn starch
- 200 g / 8 oz fresh chow mein noodles (Note 2)
- 4 tbsp water , separated
- 2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable or canola)
- 150 g / 5 oz chicken , thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp peanut oil , if needed (or vegetable or canola)
- 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 1/2 onion , sliced
- 1 carrot * , small, halved lengthwise then sliced on diagonal
- 1 bok choy * , stems and leaves separated with stems cut vertically into sticks
- 2 shallots/scallions * , cut into 5cm/2" pieces
- 2 cups cabbage * , cut into 2.4cm / 1" squares
- 1/2 cup (125ml) water
Sauce & Chicken Marinade
- Mix the Sauce ingredients EXCEPT cornflour and chicken broth/stock.
- Remove 1 tbsp Sauce and mix through chicke. Leave to marinate 10 minutes+.
- Mix cornflour into Sauce until lump free.
- Turn oven onto low (to keep noodles warm while you cook the topping).
- Divide noodles into 2 then shape into 20cm/8" rounds. Keep them tangled - this holds them together while cooking.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium high heat. Place 1 noodle cake into pan then drizzle over 2 tbsp water.
- Wait until the water evaporates (steam cooks the noodles), then pat down lightly and let the noodles 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, then flip upside down back into the pan. Cook for a further 1 1/2 - 2 minutes until golden brown, then transfer to tray and place in oven to keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining noodle cake.
Saucy Stir Fry Topping
- Add an extra 1 tbsp oil if needed, increase heat to HIGH. Add garlic and onion, cook for 30 seconds.
- Add chicken and cook until it changes from pink to white (still raw inside)
- Add the carrot and bok choy stems, cook 30 seconds.
- Add cabbage and leaf of buk choy, cook for 1 minute until they start to wilt.
- Add chicken broth, water, then Sauce and stir. Let it simmer for 1 - 2 minutes until the Sauce thickens to a syrup consistency (see video).
- Place a noodle cake on the plate, then spoon over the stir fry onto the middle of the noodles (leave edges crispy) being sure to use up all the sauce so it soaks the noodles. Serve immediately!
Originally published August 2014, updated September 2019. Long overdue for an overhaul – new photos, new video, new writing and slightly streamlined recipe. Most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
You have no idea how much time I’ve invested into trying to get him to “bow” on command…..
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