Quick Chow Mein Recipe

Chinese food is so popular all over the world. As a matter of fact, you probably have your own go-to Chinese restaurant for either dining in or ordering takeout to enjoy for a relaxing evening at home. But, you can also make some of your favorite Chinese dishes — like Chow Mein — right in your own kitchen. The dish certainly looks super delicious when ordered at restaurants, but it can be just as tasty when you prepare it with the right recipe.

Ting Dalton, recipe developer, award-winning writer, and blogger of Cook Simply, is serving up an easy recipe for these beloved Chinese noodles. "This is a quick and easy meal — and my mum taught me how to make it," says Dalton. "It [has] typical Chinese flavors, mixing soy, ginger, and garlic with oyster sauce." While Chow Mein is mainly savory, you can also tweak the recipe to your liking. According to Dalton, simply add chili if you like spicy noodles. She also notes that her husband is not a big fan of onions, hence the lack of the vegetable in this recipe. But, if you like them, you can certainly add them to the dish, "or even cut up baby sweetcorn." Speaking of vegetables, you can certainly add more or less. For non-meat eaters, Dalton recommends "adding tofu instead of chicken."

Gather your ingredients for Chow Mein

To make Chow Mein, you will first need to round up your ingredients: cornstarch, garlic, carrot, ginger, medium egg noodles, Chinese leaf, vegetable oil, bean sprouts, green onions, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper. You will also need thigh fillets or chicken breasts, which you will cut up into small pieces.

Many of the items this recipe calls for you probably already have in your kitchen, but some you may not. That being said, you might have to do a little grocery shopping. If you can't find Chinese leaf, Dalton suggests using green cabbage or bok choy instead. You can also substitute the vegetable oil for another cooking oil you have on hand, and the Shaoxing cooking wine for mirin.

Measure your ingredients

Before you start, it is better to prepare whatever needs measuring, and place each ingredient on a plate or in a small bowl. That way, you can just focus on cooking, and it will make the process smoother and faster. It is also the best time to slice your poultry. That being said, cut your chicken into small pieces and place them into a plate, then set aside. When you're done, you can also pull out your pots, bowls, and other kitchen tools that you will use for the preparation and cooking.

Mix ingredients to make the marinade

In a clean bowl, combine cornstarch and soy sauce, and add oyster sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing cooking wine (or mirin), white pepper, and sugar. Mix thoroughly until all of the dry ingredients have dissolved. Next, pour half of the mixture in with the chicken, and combine them. Flip the poultry to make sure all sides are coated, and let the chicken marinate for 20 minutes. Set the remaining marinade aside, as you will need it later.

Cook the egg noodles, and let them sit to dry out

While you're waiting for the marinade, you can start preparing the other ingredients. Apart from the chicken, the other main ingredient is noodles. In a large pot, add water, and let it boil. Next, add the medium egg noodles into the boiling water. Let it cook for about five to six minutes. When done, drain the noodles using a colander and let them sit for 10 minutes or more, so they can dry out.

Start cooking the Chow Mein

For the next step, you can either use a wok or a large pot. Add the vegetable oil, and set the heat to high. When the wok becomes hot, add the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir quickly to avoid burning, then add the chicken. Stir again, moving it around the wok. Let the pieces cook until they start to brown. When the chicken looks brown, add in the cabbage and carrots. Stir and cook for about two to three minutes, or until you see the cabbage beginning to wilt.

Add the noodles and the remaining marinade mixture

When the cabbage looks wilted, it is now time to add the noodles. Mix everything, then pour in the remaining marinade mixture you had set aside earlier. Stir thoroughly, and make sure the noodles are all coated with the sauce. If you want your Chow Mein to have a little moisture, you can add a splash or two of water, and cook for a few minutes. Next, throw in the green onions and bean sprouts. Stir thoroughly, and let it cook for one minute until the bean sprouts soften.

Add chili or chili sauce if you want spicy noodles

If you want your Chow Mein spicy, you can add a fresh red or green chili (chopped) when cooking, but you should add the chili together with the garlic and ginger. Alternatively, you can drizzle chili sauce or oil on top of the noodles, and mix well. When your Chow Mein is cooked, pour it in a serving platter or a large plate, and serve immediately. The Chinese dish tastes best when it's freshly cooked.

Quick Chow Mein Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
Chow Mein certainly looks super delicious when ordered at restaurants, but it can be just as tasty when you prepare it with this recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of chow mein
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine or mirin
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 ounces thigh fillets or chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups medium egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste or chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cups Chinese leaf or green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 2 green onions, finely cut
  • 1 ½ cups bean sprouts
  1. In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the soy sauce. Then, add the oyster sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine or mirin, white pepper, and sugar, and give it a good mix.
  2. Pour half of the mixture into the chicken, and let it marinate for at least 20 mins. Reserve the rest of the marinade for later.
  3. Cook the medium egg noodles in a large pot of boiling water, and then drain. Let them sit in a colander so that they can dry out for 10 minutes or so.
  4. In a wok or large pot, heat the vegetable oil on high heat, then add the chopped garlic and ginger, and stir through quickly.
  5. Then, add the chicken, making sure to move it around the wok quickly. You want to cook the chicken for a few minutes until the pieces start browning.
  6. Next, throw in the cabbage and the carrots. Continue to keep cooking all the ingredients until you see the cabbage begin to wilt, around 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the noodles, as well as the rest of the sauce, and combine everything in the wok thoroughly. Make sure the noodles are mixed well and coated in the sauce. If you need a little more moisture, you can add a splash or two of water.
  8. After a few minutes, add the green onions and bean sprouts, and continue to stir well for another minute until the bean sprouts soften.
  9. If you like it to be spicy, you can drizzle chill oil or sauce over the top. Alternatively, you can add a chopped fresh red or green chili to the wok, at the same time as the garlic and ginger.
  10. Serve immediately.
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