Hello there, dear reader! Grab a comfortable chair and prepare yourself as I take you on a culinary journey into the heart of my kitchen, where magic happens. Today’s hero is none other than the universally loved – the Chicken Lo Mein.
No matter how many dishes I experiment with, I always find myself returning to Chicken Lo Mein. There’s a certain comfort in its familiarity, and yet, every time I make it, it feels new, exciting even.
Now, since we’re bypassing the recipe bit, let’s dive straight into some tips that can elevate your Chicken Lo Mein game. Trust me, these are nuggets of wisdom that have been honed over countless cooking adventures.
Chinese Chicken Lo Mein
- 1 large sauce pan or stock pot
- 1 wok
- 1 pound Chinese egg noodles
- 2 cups Napa cabbage shredded
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms chopped
- 5 green onions sliced, greens part reserved for garnish
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cubed
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1- inch piece of ginger peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon peanut (or other preferred) oil
- Begin by cooking noodles: In a large sauce pan or stock pot, bring water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until firm, approximately 5 minutes. Check for doneness along the way, as cooking times may vary depending on thickness. Drain and rinse with cold water. Return noodles to pot, and toss gently with sesame oil. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over high heat and add oil to coat pan.
- Add crushed red pepper to the pan, tossing around until fragrant. Add chicken, ginger, soy sauce, sherry, salt, and cornstarch. Cook, tossing gently, for 2 minutes.
- Add shiitake mushrooms, white parts of the green onions and cabbage, cook for two more minutes until chicken begins to brown and cabbage wilts slightly. Remove chicken mixture from pan and set aside.
- Add a bit more oil to the hot pan before adding noodles. Toss noodles in the hot oil for no more than 1 minute. Add the chicken mixture back into the pan and toss gently until heated through.
- Garnish with green onions, if desired.
- Serve immediately
Creating the perfect Chicken Lo Mein is an art, a dance of flavors and textures that come together to create a symphony on your palate. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered over the years, each one a stepping stone towards mastering this delightful dish.
- Choosing the Right Noodles: The soul of Chicken Lo Mein lies in its noodles. Traditional egg noodles are my go-to choice. Their slightly chewy texture and ability to soak up the flavors make them the ideal base for our dish. If you can’t find egg noodles, don’t fret! Regular spaghetti or linguini can work just as well.
- Velveting the Chicken: This is a secret weapon in Chinese cooking. Velveting involves marinating the chicken in a mixture of cornstarch, egg white, and rice wine. This process gives the chicken an incredibly tender texture that’s a joy to bite into. It’s like wrapping your chicken in a velvety coat, hence the name!
- Heat Control: Stir-frying is all about heat control. Too high, and you risk burning the ingredients; too low, and they might turn soggy. The trick is to keep the heat at a medium-high level. This ensures that your ingredients cook quickly while retaining their crunch.
- The Order of Ingredients: When stir-frying, always add the ingredients that take longer to cook first. This usually means the chicken goes in before the vegetables. This way, everything finishes cooking at the same time, and nothing ends up over or undercooked.
- Sauce Matters: The sauce is what brings everything together. It should be a balance of sweet, salty, and umami flavors. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a touch of sugar usually do the trick. Don’t forget a dash of sesame oil for that extra depth of flavor.
- Freshness is Key: Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Fresh vegetables retain their crunch and color better than frozen ones, and fresh chicken has a superior taste and texture.
- Garnish Generously: Never underestimate the power of a good garnish. A sprinkle of sesame seeds or a handful of chopped scallions can add an extra layer of flavor and make your Chicken Lo Mein look restaurant-worthy.
Remember, cooking is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. So, take your time, experiment with these tips, and most importantly, have fun! After all, the best Chicken Lo Mein is the one made with love.
Serving Chicken Lo Mein is an art in itself, a final flourish that brings together the symphony of flavors and textures we’ve lovingly crafted. Here’s how I like to serve this delightful dish:
- Choose the Right Dish: Opt for a large, open dish or a shallow bowl. The idea is to showcase the vibrant colors and glossy texture of the Chicken Lo Mein.
- Presentation Matters: Don’t just dump the noodles into the dish. Use tongs or a large fork and spoon to gently lift and place the noodles, allowing the ingredients to be evenly distributed. This way, every serving will have a good mix of noodles, chicken, and vegetables.
- Garnish Generously: A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds adds a delightful crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the savory notes of the dish. Freshly chopped scallions bring a pop of color and a sharp freshness that cuts through the richness of the sauce.
- Serve Immediately: Chicken Lo Mein is best served hot, right off the stove. The heat enhances the aroma and flavors, making the dish even more appetizing.
- Accompaniments: While Chicken Lo Mein is a complete meal in itself, you can serve it with some hot and sour soup or steamed dumplings for a full-on Chinese feast. A side of chili oil or soy sauce can also be provided for those who wish to adjust the seasoning to their liking.
Remember, the joy of serving Chicken Lo Mein lies not just in the act itself, but in the reactions it elicits – the wide-eyed wonder, the appreciative nods, the contented sighs. So, go ahead, serve your Chicken Lo Mein with love and watch as it brings a smile to everyone’s face.
FAQs about Chicken Lo Mein
I’ve encountered several questions about Chicken Lo Mein over the years. Here are some answers that might put your curiosity to rest:
Can Chicken Lo Mein be made gluten-free?
Absolutely! Just replace the traditional egg noodles with rice noodles or any other gluten-free option.
Can I prepare Chicken Lo Mein in advance?
Indeed, you can. However, I’d recommend making it fresh whenever possible as the flavors are more vibrant.
As I wrap up this culinary tale, I find myself filled with warmth. Chicken Lo Mein, for me, has never been just about the taste. It’s about the memories it evokes, the smiles it brings to my loved ones’ faces, and the comfort it offers on a cold, rainy day. It’s a testament to the magic that can happen when simple ingredients are combined with love and passion.
So, my dear reader, I invite you to embark on your own journey with Chicken Lo Mein. Trust me, it’s a ride worth taking.