We purchased our chicken chow mein ingredients from Smart and Final.
Specifically, we wanted to get Foster Farm’s Chicken Breasts, split, bone-in with ribs attached, in a family pack (on sale this week). Family packs of chicken are the BEST…such a great deal and they freeze well, which saves tons of time.
My husband’s Chicken Chow Mein (by the way, chow mein is also known as Lo Mein on the East Coast) basically consists of a meat and vegetables, stir fried with noodles with either soy sauce or oyster sauce. We use minimal oil so it comes out way healthier and less greasy than your average Chinese restaurant take-out. So in addition to the chicken, we checked out what Smart and Final had to make the chow mein.
We found colorful vegetables, like bell peppers, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and (a HUGE BAG!) of green onions.
We love chicken chow mein for its convenience. Often, we have these ingredients at home already. But you could also skip all the chopping and buy one of these already-prepared packs of vegetables. Even a cole-slaw mix would work…I would love the crunch and freshness from the carrots and cabbage in my chow mein.
As for flavorings, we usually use staples of the Asian kitchen such as soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Our Smart and Final has a small Asian section.
We actually saw some soy sauce we’d never heard of before…gluten free, as well as organic. Remember that soy sauce is made of wheat, so if your family is gluten free, this is a great alternative! My husband opted for the organic kind.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find sesame oil or oyster sauce. We surprisingly found other South East Asian sauces like fish sauce and peanut sauce, that we thought were less commonly used in the suburbs! But anyways, you can usually find sesame oil and oyster sauce these days at large grocery store chains. For our recipe today, we’ll opt out of the oyster sauce and you can can substitute olive oil for the sesame oil.
As for the noodles, we were surprised to find these Japanese wheat udon noodles. If we’re shopping at an Asian supermarket, we’ll usually get a pack of fresh noodles. We were expecting to substitute spaghetti (which is totally yummy as well) but we thought we’d give these noodles a try.
Here’s all the stuff we bought at Smart and Final to make chicken chow mein.
Here’s one chicken breast from the family pack. There were 5 total in the pack, all bone in and skin on. We individually wrapped them and put them in a big freezer bag, but kept one out for today. My husband started out by prepping the chicken. First, he removed the skin.
Then the bone. Basically just carefully cut along the bone with your knife. Practice makes perfect! You can save the bone for making chicken stock.
You’ll be left with the main part of the breast and the tenderloin. Cut the main part into 3 pieces. Remember that the tenderloin has a piece of tendon going through it, so carefully run your knife under it to slice it away. Again, practice practice!
Then he cut up all four pieces on the bias, against the grain, resulting in long, flat strips. This will help the chicken cook faster and more evenly. Note: These bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts are great for roasting too. You can always roast the chicken breast coated with olive oil, salt and pepper and cut it up after it’s roasted to put into the chow mein, to give it a different flavor.
Next, he marinated the chicken in soy sauce, sesame oil (you can use olive oil), corn starch, sugar and pepper. He let that sit while he prepared the noodles and vegetables.
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and add the noodles, cooking according the package directions.
These need 4 minutes to cook.
Julienne the vegetables so they are about the same size.
For the snap peas, remove the tail and the “tendon” along the side. Snap them in half if they are too large. My girls were eager to help…brought back memories of doing this for my mom.
The noodles finished cooking, so he drained them in a colander, rinsed with cold water, and allowed to drain again.
Time to stir-fry. First, he heated cooking oil in a pan and added the chicken.
And he stir-fried the chicken.
Here it is at about 3 minutes.
When it’s done (about 1-2 minutes later), he set it aside in a bowl. The chicken will have created some sauce from the soy sauce and corn starch. In the same pan, stir fry the vegetables (all except for the mushrooms) for a few minutes, until they start to become tender. Add salt and pepper to taste at that point and cook for another minute.
Then add mushrooms. Stir fry the vegetables together until they are tender and the mushrooms have turned golden. Taste a vegetable and add more salt and pepper if desired.
Add the chicken back to the pan with the vegetables, then add the cooked noodles. Now, add sesame oil (or olive oil) and soy sauce to the noodles. Stir to combine. Taste a noodle; if desired, add more soy sauce and maybe some pepper.
Pour onto a serving dish. Garnish with chopped raw green onions.
All done. A tasty, quick meal great for any night of the week. The chicken was really tender and tasted fresh, and the vegetables were crunchy and tasted fresh as well. I was hoping there would be leftovers…there weren’t any.
Our girls’ portions in their piggy bowls:
Thanks to my husband for cooking (and for putting up with me saying “WAIT! Don’t pour that yet! I need a picture!” while he cooked tonight). Kiss the cook!
Sorry, didn’t mean to add cheeze to the recipe.
Chicken Chow Mein
Prep time: 10 minutes || Cook time: 20 minutes || Serves 4
- 1 Foster Farms Chicken Breast, split, bone-in
- 1/2 an 8-ounce pack of sugar snap peas
- 1/2 a small onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 green onions (3 cooked, 1 raw)
- 1/4 a large green pepper
- 1/4 a large red pepper
- 1/4 pack of mushrooms (about 6)
- (or the equivalent of other vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, snow peas, or zucchini)
- 1 TBS oil (for cooking, such as canola or olive), plus an additional 1 tsp oil
- 1-2 TBS soy sauce (to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 TBS oyster sauce
- About 1/3-1/2 lbs noodles (such as Hakubaku Organic Japanese Wheat Udon Noodles, chow mein/lo mein noodles (not the crunchy kind!), spaghetti or linguine)
- 1 tsp oil (sesame or olive)
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2-1 tsp each grated ginger root and garlic
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain in colander, and set aside.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove skin and bone from chicken breast. Remove tendon from tenderloin. Slice chicken on the bias, against the grain, into thin, flat strips. Put chicken into a bowl and add marinade ingredients. Mix and set aside. May be done a day in advance (keep in the fridge).
- Wash and julienne vegetables (all of the above, except for one green onion). To prepare snap peas, remove tail and tendon along side and cut in half if large.
- Heat 1 TSP oil in a pan and stir-fry chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan, along with juices, and set aside.
- In the same pan, stir fry vegetables (all except mushrooms). Add salt and pepper to taste. After the vegetables start to become tender, add mushrooms and stir fry. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Add chicken back to pan along with juices. Add noodles. If your pan is too small, you can do this in batches (remove half the vegetables and add half the chicken and noodles). Add remaining 1/2 tsp oil, soy sauce and optional oyster sauce to noodles. Stir to combine with other ingredients. If the noodles still look dry, add a little more soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in a platter and garnish with chopped raw green onions.
- Smart and Final website (be sure to sign up for their newsletter!)
- Smart and Final on Facebook
- Smart and Final on Twitter
So tell me…have you made chow mein (or lo mein) before? What do you put in it?
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