Chow mein

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For all of you who know how to cook authentic chinese food, don’t hate me. In Lahore there is an abundance of chinese restaurants, and very few serve chinese food inspired from regions in China other than Szechuan. Szechuan cuisine is very close to our taste palette in terms of the use of spices and garlic, and us Pakistanis do not fear the art of fusion food.

So of course, my version of chow mein is no different. I recently acquired a bottle of sesame oil that i’m having trouble putting down, and my recent craving for Chinese food will make sure I buy every other oil that can be used to add a punch of flavor to any dish. What I love about Chinese food is that it emphasizes the use of vegetables, oil for flavor and not for cooking, and the combination of textures to make the perfect dish. For this recipe you can add any vegetables, but my favorites are carrots, green bell peppers and bean sprouts. Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 pound boneless chicken, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pack egg noodles (you can use egg spaghetti if egg noodles aren’t available)

1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 bell pepper

1 cup bean sprouts

4-5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons flavorless oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

1/4 tsp each of white and black pepper

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Start off by marinating the chicken in the sugar, 1/2 the salt and soy sauce, and the cornstarch. Mix it well and leave it for a bit. Thinly slice the bell pepper and the carrot, and boil the noodles if egg noodles weren’t available (story of my life-_-).

In a wok heat 2 tablespoons of the flavorless oil and stir fry the chicken until it’s light golden brown. Don’t overcook the chicken or it’ll dry out and get stringy, and the point of cooking at a high heat in a wok is to avoid that.

Take the chicken out of the wok and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flavorless oil. Stir fry the veggies, garlic, oyster sauce and the remaining soy sauce on high heat for about 5 minutes, then add the noodles and chicken. Stir fry everything together with the remaining ingredients (sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt and the black and white pepper).

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You can also add thinly slices spring onions and freshly chopped coriander.

 

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