Chicken Chow Mein

There must be literally millions of recipes for Chow Mein, one of the most frequently prepared meals in the world. The name means simply “fried noodles” so it is no wonder that there are so many variations, but there is little otherwise in common with all these recipes. All call for noodles, steamed, boiled or fried, most call for meat [largely minced beef, diced chicken, sliced pork, and/or shrimps] and a very high proportion call for bean sprouts and Bok Choi [Pok Choy, Pok Choi, Chinese Cabbage]. All have some sort of sort sauce that is cooked with the solid ingredients and usually includes soy sauce, oyster sauce and brown sugar, with cornflour to thicken. Both raw and cooked meat is used. What I offer below, therefore, can only ever be representative of an astronomically high number of possibilities. Do not be put off by the list of ingredients: once you have read things through, you will realise just how simple this actually is.

1 tblsp tomato paste.
1 tblsp dark soy sauce.
½ tsp ground fenugreek.
½ tsp ground ginger.
Dash Cayenne pepper.
½ tsp salt.
300g diced lean chicken meat.
½ cup cooking oil.
2 tblsp oyster sauce.
1 tblsp soy sauce.
2 tblsp brown sugar.
3 tblsp cornflour.
¼ tsp salt.
1 ¾ cups water or vegetable stock.
2 nests of egg noodles.
½ stick celery, chopped.
1 cup diced broccoli florets.
1 cup chopped cabbage
1 large spring onion, chopped.
½ cup unsalted cashews.
2 tblsp toasted sesame seeds.

Mix the tomato paste, soy sauce, ginger, fenugreek, cayenne and salt together into a paste. Add to the diced meat, stir well until the meat is fully coated. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame and add the meat. Chow continuously until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve. Pour off the tempered oil and reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, sugar and cornflour, stirring well. Add the water while stirring. Cover and reserve. Prepare the vegetables and set aside. Beat the sauce mix quickly and set aside. Dry roast the sesame seeds and set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the noodles. Cook for the time indicated on the packet. At the same time, heat a sauté pan or wok over a hot flame. Add the tempered oil and add the meat and vegetables. Chow around quickly until very hot, then add the sauce mix. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Chow around occasionally to ensure that everything is evenly covered with the sauce mix and serve onto hot plates over the noodles, garnished with the sesame seeds.

Serves: 2.

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