Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.
Chow mein in a literal context means simply "stir-fried noodles." Sadly, chow mein is one of those Chinese creations that perhaps best represents how we in the West have adapted and twisted what is probably the classic cooking technique to suit our own tastes, purposes, and chemical additives. The Chinese style of stir-fry cooking is most of all about fresh ingredients, quickly and simply cooked over an intense heat; those are the principals upon which this recipe tries to focus to make this chicken chow mein as true to the ancient cooking principals as possible...while still retaining its recognisably Western qualities.
The only other ingredient I do add to this dish when it is available is bok choy. It should be roughly chopped and cooked at the same time and with the white onion. When it is unavailable (as in this instance), I simply omit it from the recipe.
List of Ingredients
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- ½ lb chicken breast meat, cut to bite sized pieces
- 1 small egg, white only
- 2 tsp cornflour/corn starch, 1 for velveting/1 for sauce
- Sea salt
- 6oz dried egg noodles
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 spring onion/scallion, finely chopped
- 4 fl oz/1 cup fresh chicken stock
- 1 tbsp Chinese oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
The Chicken Should Firstly be Velveted
- Velveting is a method of protecting chicken as it cooks in the intense heat of the wok and ensuring it is served deliciously soft, succulent and tender.
- Mix one teaspoon of cornflour with an egg white and a good pinch of salt, in to a smooth paste.
- Stir in the chicken pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preparing the Chow Mein
- Cook the noodles per the instructions on the pack in boiling water. Drain, cover and leave to cool.
- Add the oyster sauce and chicken stock to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. The second teaspoon of cornflour/starch should be mixed with a little water to a paste and stirred in. This thickens the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in half the chopped green onion.
- Add a tablespoon of sunflower oil to a very hot wok. Drain the chicken as thoroughly as possible and stir-fry until opaque and white. Remove to a plate.
- Add more oil to the wok if required and stir-fry the onion for about a minute. Re add the chicken and the chow mein sauce and fry for a further minute.
- Add the noodles to the wok and stir carefully but thoroughly to combine.
- Divide the chow mein between two serving plates, garnish with the remaining spring onion/scallion and serve—ideally with a Chinese beer!