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Nov 14, 2008 06:19 AM

"Cantonese" Chicken Chow Mein

Back in the days of my childhood in Brooklyn, going out for Chinese food was one of the weekly treats I always looked forward to. Our menu selections rarely varied from week to week and ALWAYS included chicken chow mein. I would love to re-create that same chow mein at home. It certainly had lots of onions, and probably celery, water chestnuts and bean sprouts. I'm not sure what else was in it, but it was a fairly simple dish. I'm looking for an authentic Brooklyn recipe, which may actually bear no resemblance to anything remotely Cantonese.

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  1. LOL! You're right, and I'm sorry I can't help you. I only want to state that restaurants tend to use the cheapest vegetables (the ones you listed) but at home my mom always used the nicest ones she could find that day at market, and she never used chicken - always seafood and/or pork sausage. The techniques should be the same, though, which you could find in any reputable Chinese/stir fry cookbook. Good luck!

    1. There are several chow mein recipes in Ken Hom's Easy Family Recipes From A Chinese-American Childhood. One may work or be adapted to work for you. Try getting the book from the library?

      1. Not quite the cornstarch-gloopy Avenue M/Sheepshead Bay version, but we love this one.

        I use whatever animal protein I have around, usually chicken thighs, somtimes shrimp, and whatever vegetables I need to use up before they go off. I've never had this recipe fail, no matter what combination of meat and veg I use.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rockycat

          I saw that recipe in my online search before posting. But the recipe I'm hoping to replicate is the cornstarch-gloopy one used at Lee's on Church Ave. in E. Flatbush.

        2. Here is my husband's recipe. He was born in Brooklyn, though raised in Manhattan. I never know which has the dry, crispy noodles, which is what I've got here. He makes this for me when I nag him. It's fantastic!

          CHICKEN CHOW MEIN for 2
          This is from the chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. You can also make it with porktenderloin. Pass the soy sauce when you serve! 1) In a bowl, marinate for 15 minutes:

          1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
          1 minced garlic clove
          1/2 Tablesp oyster sauce
          1 teasp soy sauce
          1/2 teasp salt
          1/4 teasp cornstarch

          2) Keep these cut vegetables in separate bowls:
          1 chopped celery rib, cut diagonally
          3 oz snow peas, cut diagonally
          1 baby bok choy, sliced (they're always at Star Market)
          a handful of mushrooms, sliced
          1/2 onion, sliced
          1/2 green pepper, sliced

          3) Rinse and drain:
          a handful of beansprouts
          1/2 of a 5-oz can sliced water chestnuts

          4) To cook:
          Drizzle 1 teasp oil around side of HOT wok. Stir-fry celery till crisp cooked (2 minutes?). Remove celery to a large bowl.

          Do exactly the same with the remaining vegetables, adding 1 teasp oil each time. Don't overcook the bean sprouts. When you cook the bok choy, add a Tablesp of water so it softens.

          5) In a measuring cup:
          2 Tablesp chicken stock
          1/2 teasp oyster sauce
          1/2 teasp cornstarch

          Reheat wok add in 1 teasp oil, cook chicken till done. Return all vegs to wok and toss. Make a well in center, then stir broth mixture and add to well. Bring sauce to a boil, UNDISTURBED, then stir to combine with chicken and vegs.
          Serve topped with Chow Mein Crispy Noodles. Don't buy the Chun King ones (they suck). Ralph bought "Luv Yu" brand at Stop and Shop and they were fine. You can also buy fresh Chinese egg noodles, boil them and then fry them to top your dish with.

          1. Me too. I'm from New york also and have been trying to duplicate the chicken chow .ein from my childhood. It was mostly onions, scallions, a nd I don't remember what elsr but it was topped with crispy Chinese noodles and a handful of thin chicken strips