Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chinese Spaghetti?

Lo Mein is a popular dish in most Chinese restaurants and take outs.  The noodles are made from wheat flour and are similar in shape to an Italian pasta, namely spaghetti.  Lo Mein noodles can also be flat and wide resembling fettuccine pasta.  In Cantonese, lo mein means "stirred noodles", basically cooked in boiling water and then mixed with a sauce.  Chow mein noodles are stir fried, so tend to have a drier, crisp texture to the noodle.

Personally I have never tried making lo mein myself as I thought it was too complicated.  However, my mother had found lo mein noodles (the flat, wide type) in her local supermarket and sent me several packages.  Well I was now committed to making the attempt, as I didn't want to waste the product.   It was also another reason to break out the Wok and try something different.

There are so many recipes online for Lo Mein, balanced between extremely easy to very complicated; some with a few ingredients, some with too many to count.  I basically went with what I know we like to have in our Lo Mein whenever we order it at a Chinese restaurant.  I let my husband and son choose what protein they wanted; chicken, beef, pork or seafood.  They chose shrimp, but happily chimed in "Yes!" when I mentioned I had crab meat and scallops also available; so we combined all three.  I used chicken broth in the sauce, as I didn't have any fish or vegetable stock in the pantry; the taste was not compromised in any way.

While it was good, we all agreed that we would rather have had the noodle that resembled spaghetti.  The flat, wide noodles absorbed too much of the sauce; and were cumbersome to eat, so now we know better for next time.  The vegetables I used balanced well with the seafood, but I will probably add bok choy if using beef, since beef has a more overwhelming flavor than seafood.

All and all, another cooking adventure that I gladly shared with my family.  Enjoy!

Lo Mein


1 lb lo mein noodles (thin or flat)
4 Tbsp peanut oil, divided in half
½ cup each thinly sliced bell peppers and onion
¼ cup green onion, cut at an angle
1 ½ cups bite sized pieces chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops, crabmeat (or any combination)
1 cup stock (chicken, beef or vegetable depending on protein used)
6 Tbsp oyster sauce
6 Tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp each minced ginger and garlic
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 cup straw mushrooms
1 cup bean sprouts


Cook lo mein noodles according to package directions; set aside, but keep warm.

In a large Wok or skillet, heat 2 Tbsp peanut oil; add bell peppers, onion and green onion; sauté till softened. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp peanut oil; sauté protein for 2 minutes before adding 2 Tbsp each of oyster and soy sauces; cook another minute, remove and set aside.

In same Wok or skillet, mix together 4 Tbsp each oyster and soy sauces, cornstarch, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and white pepper. Bring to a boil and let cook 2 minutes to thicken; add back sautéed vegetables and cooked protein; add mushrooms, sprouts and lo mein noodles. Mix together thoroughly and let cook together for 3 minutes; tossing frequently to coat and heat through.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour