Chicken Chow Mein

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Submitted by magua72


You're probably thinking that this is a recipe for that bland, MSG-laden mixture of chicken and noodles found at any Chinese restaurant. You, sir/madam, are mistaken. This traditionally aromatic, spicy, and (somewhat) healthy dish shatters any presumptions you may have about chicken chow mein. The recipe was originally featured on the BBC's Chinese Food Made Easy with Ching-He Huang, but I have since made some slight alterations. It's incredibly easy to make and a great entry-level traditional Chinese recipe for an oaf like me. Be not afraid, this one's a cinch!


The only prerequisite for this would be a wok (I'm cheating with a nonstick one).

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 2 bell peppers (I like differently-colored ones because they distract me from the unending weariness of existence)
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (I like jasmine)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (or similar spicy pepper)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil (less smokey than other oils, and less smoke means less frantic waving at the smoke detector)
  • 2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder (found in the "ethnic" section of most supermarkets, this is the meat and potatoes of the flavor)
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • Dash of toasted sesame oil (recipe will still work if you don't have this)
  • Pinch of ground pepper

Looks good, eh Kiwi?

Chow (1).JPG


The first step is to mix the marinade and cut the chicken. The chicken will need to sit in the marinade for about 30 minutes.

  • Combine the Chinese Five Spice Powder, chili sauce, and soy sauce into a large bowl. Mix it up real good:

Chow (2).JPG

  • Next, cut up your chicken nice and thin (each piece about 1/4 inch thick by 3/4 inch long). The high heat you'll be working at will cook the meat fast and evenly.

Chow (3).JPG

  • Add the chicken to the marinade and mix thoroughly. The odor of the five spice powder will probably make you drool at this point, but you must resist the temptation to eat the raw meat. We don't want any tummyaches, do we? No, we don't.

Chow (4).JPG

  • Sprinkle the corn starch on the chicken. GENTLY mix to just barely combine. The corn starch will give the chicken a very nice coating once it's cooked.

Chow (6).JPG

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. About halfway through the process, you may want to start cooking your rice so it'll be ready by the time you're done with the chow mein. Or you may want to say fuck planning ahead and do something else. May I recommend a diversion?

Chow (11).JPG

  • While you're waiting for the meat to marinade, you can also get your veggies cut up. Cut up the peppers real thin so they'll cook fast. Finely dice the jalapeno (or other spicy pepper). If you like it spicy, keep the seeds. If you like it mild, throw them away.

Chow (10).JPG

Don't that look pretty?

  • After 30 minutes, take your chicken out of the fridge and heat up your wok good and hot (medium high). Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When you see it start to glisten and smoke slightly, the wok is ready to receive your sacrifice. Add the chicken, being careful not to splash hot oil on yourself. Using a wooden spoon/spatula, keep the chicken constantly moving around. It won't take very long to cook since you put in all that effort to cut it thin. Cook until all the pink is gone from the meat.

Chow (12).JPG

Holy fuck that smells good!

  • Transfer the meat to a plate and add the other tablespoon of oil to the wok. Give it just a sec to heat up, then add your veggies. Add a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir fry until tender, but not limp. You want the veggies to have some crispness left in them.

Chow (13).JPG

  • Transfer the chicken back into the wok and stir to combine.

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  • By now, your rice is probably ready, so make a nice bed on a plate and top it with your chow mein. Add another dash of soy sauce and some fresh ground black pepper. Serve piping hot.

Chow (18).JPG

As an optional addition, you can top the whole shebang with some beansprouts. Enjoy!