The Chinese stir-fried noodles, or chow mein, is probably one of the most popular dishes out there. And with good reason. It’s obviously yummy, it’s easy to make, it’s filling and can be a well-balanced meal with the right ingredients. And it’s such a great dish to make at home since you can basically use any ingredients you have in your fridge.
Homemade Chinese stir-fried noodles is such an easy meal to make that you’d probably won’t even need a recipe to make one. Most people just use any noodle they have available in their pantry, throw in some soy sauce, veggies, and a protein, stir-fry everything and done! And although this is a perfectly good way to make chow mein, we’d like to share with you guys our favourite way to make these stir-fried noodles based on our own personal experience of cooking them so often at home!
Choice of noodles
The type of noodles you use in your chow mein is quite important for the overall texture of your dish. We suggest using fresh egg noodles that can often be found in the refrigerated section of our Asian grocery store, next to the tofus and wonton/dumpling wrappers. These noodles are often called “Chinese egg noodles”, “chow mein noodles” or “steamed noodles” and are not dried. They have this incredible, bouncy and chewy texture that’ll bring your chow mein ttothe next level and so addictive! Since it is a pack of fresh noodles, you cannot really order them online. But most Asian/Chinese supermarkets usually carry these noodles in their refrigerated section. We’ve included some pictures below of some examples of how the packages look like!
Flavouring the noodles
As with other Chinese and Asian cooking, soy sauce is one of the main flavouring element of this dish. And though soy sauce alone would make a yummy chow mein, there are some other sauces you can add to give your homemade stir-fried noodles that extra umami goodness. For our homemade version of chow mein, on top of soy sauce, we also like to add:
- Oyster sauce for an earthy, salty addition
- Kecap manis/Indonesian sweet soy sauce for sweetness and color
- Chicken broth powder for extra umami and depth in flavour
- Sugar to keep the flavours balanced
- ABC chili sauce for a nice, slight, smooth spiciness
You can definitely choose to omit some of these flavouring ingredients if they are not readily available where you live, but just make sure to adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly. You want to add enough sugar not to make the sauce sweet, but to kind of tame the saltiness and to make “smoothen” out the flavours of the soy sauce and oyster sauce and keep the taste well-balanced. And we also suggest adding hot water to the sauce mixture to better dilute the chicken broth powder and sugar. Most importantly, don’t forget to taste your sauce mixture before adding it onto the noodles and adjust to your liking!
Although it’s a really easy dish to make, some of these tips and tricks really made our homemade Chinese stir-fried noodles go from just yummy to amazingly addictive!
We hope you enjoy this recipe and happy eating!
Easy & Quick Chinese Stir-Fried Noodles (Chow Mein)
- 200 g Chinese egg noodles or chow mein noodles
- 125 g shrimp peeled and deveined
- 100 g beansprouts
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 1 medium onion sliced into long strips
- 3 green onions cut into 1 1/2 long strips
- 5 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
- 1 tsp chicken broth powder
- 3 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp ABC chili sauce optional
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce and mix well until the sugar and chicken broth powder and well dissolved. Set aside.
In a bowl, put the shrimps, salt, and cornstarch and combine well. Heat pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Put in the shrimps and stir-fry until completely red and cooked, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Boil about 4-5 cups of water in a pot over high heat. Add the noodles into the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute, while continuously swirling and separating the noodles. Pour the pot content into a strainer and run cold tap water through the noodles. Set aside. Note that the cook time might vary depending on the type and brand of noodles. Please check package for instructions.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add in the onions and stir-fry for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add in the beansprouts, cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the green onions, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add in another 2 tbsp of oil into the pan, and add the shallots. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until shallots and slightly golden. Put in the noodles and combine well using tongs or chopsticks. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Add in the cooked shrimp and mix well. Continue stir-frying the noodles until there is no more sauce at the bottom of the pan and all the sauce is absorbed into the noodles. Cook for another 30 seconds and remove from heat.