Chow Mein: Flavorful & Fast Weeknight Noodles

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist
Chicken breast
1 lb (454 g) (thinly sliced)
Baking soda
2 tsp
White pepper
1/2 tsp
Soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 ml)
chow mein noodles
12 oz package (340 g) dry
1 medium, julienned
Celery sticks
2, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups (150 g) , thinly sliced
5 , chopped
Cloves Garlic
3 , minced
Fresh ginger
2 tsp , minced
Oyster sauce
2 Tbsp (30 g)
Dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp (30 ml)
1 Tbsp (or other chile sauce)
1½  tsp
Rice vinegar
1½ tsp
Sesame oil
1½ tsp

Chicken chow mein is an incredibly fast and easy weeknight noodle dish. It features thinly-sliced chicken in a flavorful soy sauce-based glaze with chewy chow mein noodles.

The difference between chow mein and lo mein comes down to the cooking technique. In English, “chow mein” translates to “fried noodles”. To make chow mein, you’ll quickly fry noodles in oil in a hot skillet.

“Lo mein” on the other hand, translates to “stirred noodles”. This dish is cooked like a stir-fry. Both dishes us the same chewy egg noodles made from eggs, flour, and salt. You can use either fresh or dried noodles to make chow mein, while lo mein is best made with fresh egg noodles.

Both dishes usually feature colorful chopped vegetables and some kind of meat or tofu. Beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp are all common protein options for both chow mein and lo mein recipes.

Which Noodles Are Best for Homemade Chow Mein?

To make this fast dinner at home, look for noodles with the label “chow mein”. They’re easy to find in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores and at Asian specialty grocers. They are egg noodles that have a yellow color and are chewy and stretchy. Chow mein noodles are not especially thick, but they’re also not as thin as rice sticks or vermicelli noodles. You can find them fresh or dried, though the fresh noodles cook more quickly than dried.

This recipe uses dried noodles, and be sure to dry them well after cooking in boiling water.


Place the chicken in a mixing bowl. Add the baking soda, white pepper, and soy sauce and stir chopsticks to coat the chicken fully. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large skillet or wok. Add a pinch of salt. Add the chow mein noodles and cook according to package instructions. Transfer from the skillet to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Transfer the cooked noodles to a baking sheet to dry, using a fine-mesh strainer to drain as much excess water as possible from the noodles. Blot dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sambal, sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk well to combine.

Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When it starts to smoke, add the oil and chicken and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add more oil to coat the skillet and add the celery and carrots, stirring to cook until crisp-tender, about 20 seconds. Remove the vegetables from the pan.

Add the cabbage and cook for 20 seconds. Remove from the pan.

Add another drizzle of oil to the skillet, along with the scallion whites. They will fry in the oil. Add the cooked chow mein noodles and stir to coat in the hot oil. Make a well in the center of the noodles in the dish and add the chopped garlic, stirring to cook before you combine the garlic with the noodles.

Add the reserved chicken to the noodles in the skillet, then the sauce. Stir to coat fully. Finally, add the vegetables and reserved scallion greens to the skillet. Cook and stir for a few more seconds to coat everything in the sauce and heat through. Enjoy!

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