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Oct 15, 2010 04:30 PM

Any Chinese-American Chow Mein recipe?

So I've desperately been googling and searching for chow mein recipes but with little to no success so I'm turning to my fellow foodies here on Chowhound.

The kind of chow mein I'm looking for is very specific basically I'm looking for the kind of chow mein you get at chinese fast food restaurants but not Panda Express, there's has gone way down since '98.

Anyways basically I'm looking for a recipe with mostly stir fried vegetables, usually celery onion and bean sprouts, and where the noodles are soft and stir fried they shouldn't be swimming in a sauce, soggy or sodden kind of like spaghetti in a light sauce. From my adventures in fried rice I know that it has soy sauce as a seasoning/flavor but it maybe another type of sauce either way it's only a small amount as they're not gloppy and slimey.

From what i've read the dish is a kind of lo mein chop suey hybrid though I'm not totally sure. I appreciate everyone's help with this as I've been super craving this forever but every restaurant around has modified their recipes and the noodles have a crispy dry texture to them or are orange with a strange taste.

Also nothing beats making your own food that and I already have the noodles and bean sprouts.

Again thanks in advance!

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  1. Maybe this one? You can leave out the chicken. I would increase amt of bean sprouts to two cups and add sliced celery and bok choy:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sarah

      Sarah, I love your avatar, darling.
      I can't believe the recipe you posted, thank you, I just bookmarked it for tonight, as tonight, I'm making it.
      Looks so easy, didn't know about the special noodles but I'll find them at an Asian store for sure and have the needed chicken but not the bean sprouts which I'll buy today too.

      Thank you so much Sarah, I love how the poster did the photos too, very helpful.

    2. The main thing you need for stir fried anything is a basic sauce. I use the following sauce:
      Stir fry sauce

      ¼ cup chicken broth
      ¼ cup soy sauce
      2 tsps rice wine vinegar
      2 tsps sesame oil
      1 tsp rd pepper flakes
      1 tsp sugar


      If you want it to thicken, add a teaspoon of cornstarch. Want to use it as a marinade? fine. Boil the leftover marinade and use it with some more sauce.

      Don't stress what you put in it. Lo Mein is left over food. Make a pot of noodles and cook them al dente because you will be adding them to the stir fry at the last minute. You can use lo mein noodles from the asian market or linguine because it closely resembles the noodles from the chinese take out or even spaghetti.. it's noodles.

      Use whatever veggies you have in the fridge. I keep a bag of frozen stir fry veggies for when I am lazy.

      Mise en place is critical. Chop all your veggies in advance and put them in containers alongside the stove.

      I like to marinate the meat then sear it up and put it aside while I sweat some onions and garlic. Start adding the veggies. The bigger ones first, they have to cook longer. Once they start to get close add your meat and sauce. then add your noodles.

      Don't get yourself stressed about a recipe for lo mein. Even every chinese restaurants lo mein is different. A lot of small chinese restaurants serve a different lo mein depending on what they have in the fridge.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        Thanks Hank sounds great can't wait to try it

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          thanks for the stir fry sauce recipe HH.
          looks wonderful and again I have all those things in my overstuffed [according to some] pantry......... :))))

          1. re: Hank Hanover

            HankHanover, your sauce is perfect. Just did thinly sliced chicken breasts strips and a sirloin steak cut in long skinny strips too marinated in your sauce for 5 mins for our take on chow mein. Perfect really perfect. I changed one thing=did half the crushed red pepper so 1/2 tsp, as I'm a woose, thanks again, dinner tonight will be great...

          2. That chow mein you get in fast food places is pretty plain and pedestrian stuff. Probably isn't anymore than noodles, vegetables (take your pick- celery, cabbage, onions, carrots, bean sprouts) some soy sauce and oyster sauce.

            2 Replies
            1. re: monku

              Possibly but I enjoy its 'pedestrian' simplicity

              1. re: geekluve

                I must agree with you geekluve as the last two meals I had at PE were awful.
                Sought out the manager the last time and said so and he said, 'oh I'm sorry."
                that was it.
                their chow mein or lo mein whatever it's called is now just the other side of nonedible to me. what a shame, take a great item and totally kill it.

            2. I can't vouch for this recipe, as I usually wing it, but I saw Giada make this the other day and it appears to have good reviews:

              4 Replies
              1. re: katecm

                OP is looking for the chow mein you find on a steam table at a fast food Chinese take out place. Nothing fancy or tasty.

                1. re: monku

                  I actually think it is tasty and it's simplicity is the best part about it

                2. re: katecm

                  Thanks Kate! I was actually watching that episode as I was writing up the post it looks good I'll have to try it but I'm admittedly cautious of Hoisin sauce though mostly because I've always had bad luck with it

                  1. re: katecm

                    although I am not usually very fond of the things GDL makes, this does sound good.
                    I would omit a couple of things but basically it's appealing for sure, thanks for sharing...


                    You might get some info from this thread of mine. Yours does sound like a hybrid :)