Leah is a follower of the 21-Day Fix. She works in mental health.
Chinese Food: Kosher Edition
I love Chinese food as much as the next person . . . maybe even a little more. However, there are a lot of things to be desired. Most westernized Chinese food is full of fat, sodium, calories, MSG, and inexpensive fillers (read: carbs) rather than healthy, less processed ingredients and vegetables.
I tend to stick to whole foods and go heavy on the veggies and clean protein. Rather than using the bottled sauces that are full of sugar, oil, and unpronounceable ingredients, I make my own. It does add a little time to the prep, but in my opinion, it's so worth the effort. The upside? I can make extra and use it for other things. And, the best part, it's less expensive!
Making my own Chinese-style food at home also allows me to ensure that it's kosher (which most Chinese restaurants are decidedly NOT!) and that it's suitable for those with food sensitivities or preferences. The way I prepared this dish tonight is gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, low-sodium, and 21 Day Fix approved, but with a few minor tweaks, it can be vegetarian or even vegan.
To be honest, I didn't develop this recipe to specifically become chow mein. I went into this with the mindset of putting together a bunch of ingredients commonly used in westernized Chinese food and seeing how it came out. Imagine my surprise when it came out perfect on the first try!
This recipe incorporates cabbage, carrots, ginger, garlic, and a homemade teriyaki sauce with gluten-free brown rice ramen (my newest obsession) to make a spicy-sweet meal that tastes like a cheat.
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Makes 8 servings—1/8 of a pan each.
For the chow mein:
- 1 pound ground turkey, can substitute chicken, beef, tofu, basically any protein you want
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 2 (10- to 14-ounce) bags coleslaw mix
- 2 cups snow peas
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons liquid aminos, can use tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, substitute vegetable broth if vegetarian/vegan
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or sriracha if you like food very spicy
- 4 cakes brown rice ramen, see below for link to what I use
For teriyaki sauce:
- 1/3 cup liquid aminos, or tamari sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ginger paste
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup almonds, sliced or slivered
Brown Rice Ramen
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Using cooking spray, grease a 13x9-inch disposable lasagna pan.
- Prepare the teriyaki sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together until combined. Taste it—you may want to add more salt, ginger, or chili paste, depending on your personal preference.
- Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add ground turkey (or protein of choice), 1 tablespoon of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of ginger paste. Stir to distribute seasoning throughout the protein and to break the protein into smaller chunks. Continue to cook until the protein is fully cooked, with no pink. Drain thoroughly and return to the pan with another teaspoon of olive oil.
- Lower the flame to medium and add the coleslaw mix, pea pods, shredded carrots, soy sauce, and half of the teriyaki sauce. Mix until everything is combined. Turn off the flame and place into a large mixing bowl.
- While that is cooking, put the broth and hot sauce into a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is simmering (but not boiling). Add the 4 noodle cakes to the liquid, reduce the heat to medium, and cover the pot. Don't worry if the noodles aren't all covered in liquid. After 2 minutes, stir the noodles to get the top cakes to the bottom of the pot. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to stir occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the noodles to the mixing bowl, and mix evenly using tongs. Place the whole mixture into the baking pan and top it with sliced/slivered almonds. Cover the pan with foil.
- Place pan on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove pan and turn the oven to 400°F. Remove foil from pan and place it back into the oven on the top rack for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven. Add the remaining teriyaki sauce (and green onions if you like). Serve!
What Do You Think?
I chose to top this dish with sliced almonds. I'm a pretty picky eater, and I absolutely refuse to eat any onion, green onion, scallion, shallot, leek (I think you get the picture). However, if you are so inclined, and I promise I won't judge, adding some chopped green onions on top could be a tasty garnish that'll add a nice pop of color to this beautiful dish.
For us busy home cooks, there are some time-saving hacks I used.
- I buy bagged coleslaw mix. It's so much easier than shredding a head of cabbage, not to mention much less cleanup.
- Shredded carrots can be easily made in a food processor with a shredder attachment. I use the Ninja pulse.
- Snow peas are kind of annoying to cut up. I took a pair of kitchen shears and snipped off the ends, then cut up the pods into appropriately sized pieces. It was much easier than using a knife (in my opinion).
- Garlic is notoriously annoying for me to cut/chop/dice/press/crush, not to mention it can get messy. I buy a big jar of crushed garlic, and just stick the right sized measuring spoon right into the jar and voila!
- Ginger. Let's be honest. I've always just subbed ginger powder in recipes, but when using it in a skillet, it tends to burn. I officially tried peeling ginger root, but that's time-consuming and difficult. My local supermarket has ginger paste that squeezes right out of a tube and it's way easier.
- Chili paste—I've just started experimenting with this after finding a squeezy tube of it, and I'm so glad I did. It adds a little kick to pair with the sweetness of the teriyaki and ginger.
Fast and Fresh Cooking
I work long days in a fast-paced environment, and I'm often on the go since much of my job entails local travel throughout the day. Ideally, I'd love to come home and have dinner waiting on the table. Reality is a little different. I take care of my pups and then have to cook dinner for my family. So after 10 hours of being awake, I don't really have it in me to make a 5-course gourmet meal.
This is where my talent for preparing healthy, fast, and most importantly DELICIOUS food comes in handy. You'll notice that most of my recipes have at least 4 servings (this one has more) so I can accommodate company, or make sure I have enough for lunch the next day. Bonus if there's enough left over to have for dinner the next night, since I don't always feel like cooking.
21 Day Fix Container Counts
The way I made this recipe (with almonds and no green onions), the container counts are as follows:
- 1 Green
- 1 Red
- 1 Yellow
- .5 Orange
- 2 Teaspoons
© 2018 Leah
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 09, 2018:
This is really unique chow mien, good recipe!
Leah (author) from New York on June 07, 2018:
Yes - instead of the traditional chow mein noodles I chose to top it with sliced almonds for crunch. It wasn’t hard to make at all!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 07, 2018:
your chow mien looks easy to cook and lots of colorful ingredients, are those nuts on top the chow mien?