HONG KONG CANTONESE STYLE OF VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN NOODLES
Anyone looking for a meatless dish can try this Cantonese Vegetable Chow Mein in the Hong Kong style. This vegetable chow mein is light and filling because of the crispy and chewy pan-fried noodles, which are topped with bok choy, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.
In terms of flavor, what’s the difference between CHOW MEAN and LO MEAN?
The answer to your question is “chow mein vs. lo mein.” Noodles are the straightforward answer.
Most people are familiar with the thicker, softer Chinese lo mein noodles used in Vegetable Lo Mein.
Noodles used in true Cantonese chow mein recipes are thin and pan-fried till crispy, making them ideal for vegetable chow mein.
For this vegetable chow mein, we went with a crunchy, dry texture. However, if you prefer your food spicier, feel free to do so.
An opportunity to clean out the fridge
Vegetable Chow Mein, as we call it, is a “fridge clean-out,” which means there are no rules about what you may put in it!
There’s no need to worry about what’s lurking at the bottom of your vegetable crisper; whatever you have or can get will do the trick!
This recipe used a basic trio of buna shimeji mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, and dwarf bok choy.
Dwarf bok choy features curled, glossy, dark green leaves with short, thick white stalks smaller than a small Shanghai bok choy. Tender and sweet-tasting, they look and feel fantastic.
The Buna shimeji, or beech mushroom, is a newer species we’ve recently started seeing in the supermarket. There is an earthy flavor with a subtle crunch to the texture. In addition, the preparation is a breeze. Because they arrive in clusters, all you have to do to separate the mushrooms is chop off the base and clean them.
At this point, it’s time to start cooking!
- 8 oz. of fresh thin Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles
- 1½ cups of mung bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp. of hot water
- ¼ tsp. of sugar
- 2 tsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- 4 tsp. of Shaoxing wine
- ¼ tsp. of white pepper
- 4½ tbsp. of vegetable oil (divided)
- 1½ cups of beech mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- 3-4 cups of bok choy (cut into 3-inch pieces)
- ¼ tsp. of salt
- a pinch of MSG
- 2 tsp. of oyster sauce (vegetarian oyster sauce can be used)
- ¼ cup of vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch (mixed with 2 teaspoons of water, only if you added more stock for a moist chow mein)
- 2 scallions (julienned)
- Make sure you have 2 quarts of water boiling before adding the Hong Kong-style noodles (we use our wok because it warms rapidly). The boiling time for fresh noodles should be no more than a minute. Depending on their texture, boil the dried noodles for two to three minutes. Rinse and drain completely in cold water.
- Make sure the mung bean sprouts are clean by rinsing them twice in cold water. If you want the vegetables to stay crunchy and moisturized, drain them immediately before cooking.
- To begin, combine the hot water and sugar in a small dish, the soy sauces, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, white pepper, and salt, and set away.
- Two tablespoons of oil should be used to coat the wok. Allow the Hong Kong noodles to simmer for 1-2 minutes after spreading them out in an even layer. Use a lower or higher heat setting depending on how well the noodles are browning.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok’s outside rim, and flip the noodles over to cook on the other side. Allow the noodles to crisp up on the other side. Crisping and lightly browning the noodles is the purpose at this point in the process. Flip the noodles 90 seconds later. Add sesame seeds or chopped peanuts to the dish for additional flavor.
- After that, stir the noodles with an upward scooping motion for 30 seconds or more until they are well-coated and virtually glazed with the soy sauce mixture.
- Set aside the noodles on a platter.
- Add a half tablespoon of oil to your wok and heat it again. For approximately a minute, stir-fry the mushrooms and then move them to a serving dish.
- Reheat the pan with one more tablespoon of oil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring in the remaining 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing wine after the first 5 seconds.
- Take another 15 to 30 seconds to stir-fry the ingredients after you’ve added the MSG and oyster sauce.
- If you prefer your vegetable chow mein to be a little moister, you can add the optional hot vegetable stock at this point or go to the following step if you prefer it crispy. This meal is sometimes served with thin, crispy noodles, which some people like. Whether or not you like a softer, chewier noodles is entirely up to you. The water and cornstarch mixture can thicken the liquid if you utilize the surplus stock or if the veggies appear to release liquid. Another 30 seconds of high-heat stir-frying is required.
- At this point, your wok should be quite hot. Toss the noodles, bok choy, and mushrooms back into the wok and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring with a spatula to avoid sticking the noodles to the bottom of the pan. Serve soon after taking the pan off the heat.
- Continue to stir-fry for 30-60 seconds more, or until the mung bean sprouts are crisp-tender but not overcooked. Your favorite hot chili oil goes great with your veggie chow mein noodles.