Better Than Takeout: Chicken Lo Mein

Before we begin cooking, I'd like to introduce you to my latest category called "Better Than Takeout". A segment where I feature your favorite takeout/fast food classics — made from scratch. Not only it is much cheaper but it gives you a chance to customize and put a spin on your go-to order🥡🥢 .

A comfort filled mingling of tender chicken, egg noodles, fragrant aromatics, fresh vegetables and a sweet-savoury sauce.

With its Cantonese roots, dating back to 206 B.C. Lo mein is a traditional Chinese dish composed of egg noodles, vegetables and meats, ranging from chicken and pork to beef and shrimp. This noodle dish has continued to evolve into a take-out classic throughout the Northern Hemisphere as American renditions continue to emerge.

For this dish, my goal was to evoke traditional flavors but make them my own.

Dishes like lo mein and fried rice, are perfect opportunities to utilize veggies and proteins that are already in your refrigerator as they are completely customizable.


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LO MEIN 101
  • Protein: I chose to utilize chicken thighs opposed to the breasts because of their higher fat content, which makes them inherently more flavorful and the simply fact that they won't dry out as chicken breasts often do. Chicken thighs are also much cheaper per lb than it's leaner counterpart. For this recipe, you can also sub or add shrimp, pork or beef.

*Note: The marination process will be slightly different depending the protein of choice. Red meats are much tougher, resulting in an extended time of 20 minutes oppose to the 10 minutes for chicken. This allows the marinade to

fully penetrate the meat, providing even more flavor.


  • *Noodles: The star of this dish are of course, the egg noodles which are noodles that carry a higher percentage of eggs in its dough. However, if you are unable to find this particular type, you can substitute them for linguine, spaghetti or any thin pasta/noodle you're able to find.

  • Sauce: For the sauce, I wanted that traditional flavor to be elevated but still taste familiar. The inclusion of soy sauce and oyster sauce, provides those customary savoury notes while the addition of brown sugar offers balance. I also added chicken stock for extra flavor.

  • Aromatics: When it comes to aromatics and vegetables, the substitutions and additions are completely up to you though the use of minced garlic and ginger are definitely recommended. This is a chance to "clean out your fridge" or simply utilize any produce you happen to have on hand.

know your ingredients:

When preparing a meal or dish, knowledge of ingredients is a key trait that every chef or homecook should acquire. Knowing when to use or substitute elements is an important feature when making a dish your own! Below are a few of the less common ingredients used within this recipe:


  • Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is a pressed vegetable oil extracted from sesame seeds. Though there are few variations, the most common is "toasted sesame oil" which carries a deep, almost "woody" color, flavor and aroma.

  • Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce is a deep brown condiment commonly found throughout Asian cuisine. The sauce is made from cooked oyster liquid, sugar and salt among other ingredients. It has a uniquely savoury flavor with a thick consistency. This can be found at any Chinese market or the ethnic aisle of your local grocery store. *If you are unable to find it, its exclusion will not dramatically affect the overall flavor of your dish. Simply include more soy sauce.

  • Bean Sprouts: Beans sprouts are delicate vegetables harvested from sprouting mung beans.

 

How to Make:

Better Than Takeout: Chicken Lo Mein

Yield: 3 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 8 oz egg noodles *see note above

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1/2 red bell pepper *thinly sliced

  • 3 scallions *thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic *minced

  • 1 tbsp ginger *minced

  • 1 large carrot *thinly sliced

  • 1 cup cabbage *shredded (about half a small cabbage)

  • 1 cup bean sprouts

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tsp cornstarch

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Garnish:

  • sesame seeds

  • scallions (sliced diagonally)

prep tips:
  • When preparing your chicken thighs, rinse with lukewarm water prior to cubing. Once cubed into 1 inch pieces, rinse chicken once again with the addition of vinegar or the juice of one lime. After cleaning chicken, begin marinade.

  • In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch until combined. Add chicken to a zip-lock bag, then pour the marinade into the bag, seal and toss until chicken is coated. Marinate in the fridge for 10 minutes. *In the meantime, prep other ingredients.

Instructions:
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain.

  2. In a small bowl combine all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

  3. In a large skillet over high heat, add vegetable oil. Once fully heated through (you want a extremely hot pan).

  4. Add marinated chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add red bell pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts. Saute for 3 minutes, until softened.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-high. Stir in noodles, chicken and sauce. Toss thoroughly and serve. Enjoy!

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