Friday, August 17, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein

I will be the first to admit that lo mein generally isn't my thing.  I could never understand growing up why so many of my friends would order shrimp lo mein (or fried rice for that matter) when we would go to a Chinese restaurant.  A large percentage of the time lo mein verges on being greasy/oily, as well as not very flavorful.  If I had to choose between lo mein and fried rice, I would order fried rice 9 times out of 10.  Strangely enough, when it comes to Thai restaurants I order noodles with impunity and I think that I would order noodles 8 times out of 10 if I had to choose between noodles and fried rice.  Random but true.  But we had all of the ingredients for lo mein, so I had to go ahead and make it (even though I was a little skeptical).  And yet, there was something comforting and wonderful about this dish.  It just felt so homey.  I really liked the profusion of vegetables in this dish - shiitake mushrooms, bell pepper, bean sprouts and scallions.  It just made it all look so pretty and gave the dish a nice variety of flavors and textures.  I also thought the flavors of the chicken and the noodles were really nice.  I would definitely marinate the chicken this way again because it really does make a huge difference.  The noodles almost tasted a bit peanutty - the first bite reminded me of the peanut noodles we have made in the past, which is interesting because there was no peanut in here to speak of and very little sesame oil.  As with most stir-fries, the time commitment here is really on the front end - chopping and prepping all of the individual ingredients.  Once you have everything prepped and ready to go the dish comes together fairly quickly and easily.

Recipe after the jump!

Chicken Lo Mein

For chicken:
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
For noodles:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp ginger, shredded
2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
10 medium shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup bean sprouts
 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the bias
12 oz fresh Chinese lo mein noodles (cooked according to instructions on package)**

In a bowl, combine chicken, minced garlic, minced ginger, Shaoxing rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce and white pepper.  Stir to combine.

Combine 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Swirl 2 tbsp peanut oil into the oil.  Add remaining garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 10-15 seconds.  Push the aromatics to the side of the wok.  Add the chicken and spread evenly in one layer in the wok.  Cook undisturbed until the chicken begins to sear and turn golden brown on the first side, about 1 minute.  Add 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine.  Stir-fry chicken until light brown on all sides, about 1 additional minute.  Remove the chicken and transfer the chicken to a plate.

Swirl in remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil.  Add the mushrooms and bell pepper.  Stir-fry until the mushrooms and bell pepper are tender, about 1-2 minutes.  Season with salt.  Return the chicken to the wok, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Add bean sprouts and scallions and stir-fry until ingredients are combined.  Add noodles and soy sauce.  Using chopsticks and the spatula, toss the noodles until the ingredients are well-combined and the noodles are warmed through.  Season to taste with additional salt/soy sauce (if necessary).


**NOTE: Our lo mein noodles didn't require parboiling, but generally you should boil them for 1-2 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and then drizzle with a little oil and toss together to keep them from sticking.  And then add the cooked noodles to the wok and stir-fry them as noted above.

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