Chow Mein is a classic takeaway favorite! Egg noodles and veggies fried and tossed with a delicious sauce. With this easy recipe, you'll forget where you put the takeout menu.
This delicious and quick noodle recipe uses grocery store ingredients to have dinner on the table in no time. The ingredients are stir-fried in deliciously seasoned oil before being tossed with a sauce made with a few simple Asian ingredients, all of which you can find in your grocery store.
My Chinese takeaway recipes at home are always a family favorite (and readers favorites!), plus they are so much easier than you think.
Tips for making Chow Mein at home
- For the taste of takeout and that authentic flavor, buy a bottle of Chinese Cooking Wine, also known as Chinese rice wine or Chinese Shaoxing Wine. You can find it in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores or readily available online. Chinese Cooking Wine will make ALL the difference to the taste of your chow mein.
- Make sure your noodles are ready to go. If you bought dried ones, have them cooked, drained, and dried before you start cooking. If you purchased fresh ones, have them rinsed and dried before you begin cooking.
- Chop your veg before you start cooking. The chow mein cooks quickly, and you want everything to be crisp and just cooked, rather than soggy. So getting everything ready beforehand is a must.
- The same thing goes for the sauce ingredients. Have them mixed before you start cooking. Just be sure to give them a final mix before you add the sauce to the noodles.
Do you need a wok for chow mein?
No, you don't need a wok; a large frying pan works well and, in some cases, is preferable.
I have always loved cooking with my wok as it always makes me feel efficient and professional. However, I don't like the fact I have to handwash it!
In nearly all my takeout-style recipes, I talk about how you want to ensure that your cooking vessel is all as hot as possible. With a gas stovetop, this is easier as the flames can lick up the side of the wok. But with an electric stovetop, only the part touching the burner gets super hot.
This is a problem when stir-frying as you want that constant high heat. So when cooking chow mein on an electric stovetop, I recommend using a large heavy-based frying pan or skillet.
If you have a large gas burner or a wok burner, using a wok with a gas stovetop will give you great results. But so will a large frying pan or skillet.
Key Ingredients for Takeaway Style Chow Mein:
- The Chow Mein Noodles: Chow mein noodles are yellow and made with wheat and egg. You can find them in most grocery stores. And they often come both fresh or dried. Follow the instructions on the packet. Dried ones will need to be soaked or boiled in water first. Fresh ones often need rinsing to remove any flour or oil. Once they have been cooked/soaked/rinsed, ensure you drain them well and set them aside to dry off. This will ensure you get a good stir fry on the noodles.
- The Vegetables: For a traditional takeaway style chow mein, I like to use carrots, green cabbage, spring onions/green onions, and bean sprouts. If you cut them into thin batons, they resemble the noodles and meld perfectly into the mixture.
- Vegetable oil: The oil in the recipe is flavored with the spring onions/green onions, making the whole kitchen smell like a takeaway. It is a vital step, so please don't skip it or use less oil. This is a stir-fried noodle dish; we need to add the oil to fry the noodles and develop the flavor. But it still comes in with a reasonable calorie amount. Far better than an actual takeaway!
- Oyster Sauce: This is easy to find in the grocery store. It is a thick, rich brown sauce that adds a lot of flavor to your noodles. You can buy vegetarian versions.
- Chinese cooking wine: You can find this in most grocery stores in the Asian section. It is also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine, or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. If you can't find Chinese Cooking Wine, substitute with dry sherry or sake if you have it.
What to serve with chow mein?
Chow Mein is a great dish for serving on its own! Making this a fabulous one-pan dinner!!!
But turn your noodles into a feast with some extra dishes.
- Takeout Style Chinese Chicken and Mushrooms
- Chinese Takeout Style Happy Family Stir Fry
- Takeout Style Chinese Beef and Broccoli
- Chinese Pepper Beef Stir Fry
- Takeaway Style Wandering Dragon Stir Fry
- Cantonese Fried Rice
- Easy Chinese Chicken Curry
- Mantou - Steamed Chinese Buns
If you cook it up don't forget to come back and comment, or tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Takeaway Style Chow Mein
- 8 spring onions/green onions
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
- 2 carrots
- 12 oz chow mein noodles - see note 1
- 1 cup bean sprouts
For the Chow Mein Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons Chinese cooking wine - see note 2
- 4 teaspoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
Start by making the sauce:
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set to one side.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons chinese cooking wine
4 teaspoons oyster sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Prep the veg and noodles:
- Finely chop the spring onions/green onions into 2"/5cm strips. Use the white and green parts of the onion.
8 spring onions/green onions
- Peel the carrot and cut it into thin strips.
- Prepare the noodles as per the instructions. If using fresh, this is usually rinsing or soaking in water for a minute. If using dried, then it is generally boiling for 3-4 minutes. But each packet is different, so check yours.
12oz/380g chow mein noodles
- Ensure the noodles are well-drained and set aside to dry
To cook the Chow Mein.
- Place the chopped spring onions/green onions into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat all of the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan or wok.
4 tablespoons oil
- Once smoking hot, turn off the heat pour the oil over the chopped spring onions. It will sizzle and spit like a crazy thing!
- Once the sizzling has subsided, drain the oil through a sieve, reserving the spring onions for later.
- Pour half of the oil back into the pan and place on high heat.
- Add the shredded cabbage and carrot, then stir fry over high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 clove chopped garlic
- Remove the veg to a plate - See note 3
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Add the noodles, stir gently to coat the noodles in the oil. Once glossy and heated through, return the veg to the pan and stir gently to combine.
- Give your prepared sauce a whisk together, then add it to the pan, turning and constantly stirring to coat the noodles in sauce.
- Add the bean sprouts and reserved spring onions and toss for 30 seconds or until the bean sprouts have just started to wilt.
1 cup beansprouts
prepared spring onions/green onions
- Serve immediately.
- You will want to buy noodles that specifically say for chow mein (or low mein). I prefer the fresh ones as they have a better texture; here in Australia, I tend to buy Fantastic Noodles - Chow Mein Noodles. They taste great, have a good texture, and only need soaking for a minute in boiling water. If you can only buy dried egg noodles, then don't panic. Just cook them as directed on the packet. And ensure they are drained and dry before cooking the chow mein.
- Chinese Cooking Wine is also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine, or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find this in most grocery stores in the Asian section. Just don't get it confused with rice wine vinegar, as that will ruin your stir fry!!! If you can't find Chinese Cooking Wine, you can use dry sherry.
- I remove the veg from the pan as it starts to get too hard to stir everything together without losing food over the edges. If you have a giant frying pan or wok, you can keep everything in the pan.