Slippery Lo Mein Noodles tossed in a lo mein Sauce with tons of veggies and protein of your choice. Takeout gold standard comes down to the right sauce and the right noodles – then you’re just 6 minutes away from noodle heaven!
Lo Mein Noodles
The actual noodles pictured above were my dinner last night, albeit I was a little heavy handed with a big dollop of chilli sauce that had me gasping and sweating (and swearing) through every bite.
Don’t fear, it was self inflicted torture. Those red strips you see is capsicum / bell peppers, not chilli. There is no sign of chilli in this recipe – Lo Mein is not spicy!!!!
What goes in Lo Mein Noodles
Here’s what goes in the dish:
• Lo Mein noodles – for takeout style, use fresh yellow noodles (usually labelled “egg noodles”) that are about 3mm / 1/8″ thick. By “fresh”, I mean the ones you get in the fridge section of grocery stores (Aussies – Coles, Wooles etc, find it in the pasta section of fridge). These noodles have the chewy, slippery texture you love about take out.
Next best is dried egg noodles, or vac packed “fresh” egg noodles.
But really, you can also totally make Lo Mein with any noodles – thick, thin, fresh, dried, egg or rice – or ramen noodles, or even spaghetti or other long pasta. Lo Mein doesn’t judge! This is going to be delish with ANY type of noodles (or pasta – trust me, no one will know!).
• Protein – use either chicken, pork, beef, turkey, prawns/shrimp or tofu. Directions on how to cut and cook with each of these included in the recipe (PS hard tofu is so delish in this!)
• Vegetables – I used capsicum/bell peppers, carrot and green onion. Use 5 cups in total (packed) of whatever vegetables you want. Plus 1/2 an onion and garlic – these are part of the flavour base!
Lo Mein Sauce
A gold standard Lo Mein calls for a great Sauce – and here’s what you need for truly takeout grade Lo Mein! You see these ingredients in virtually every one of my stir fries and noodles – they’re the holy grail of Chinese cooking!
- Dark soy sauce is labelled as such on the bottle, and sold at most large grocery stores nowadays. It adds colour and flavour to the dish – notice how my noodles are nicely bronzed? Thank you Mr Dark Soy!
- Soy Sauce – the other one can be any generic soy sauce or light soy sauce (bottle will be labelled as such). This soy sauce adds salt and some flavour to the dish, but it doesn’t stain the noodles like dark soy.
- Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) is an essential ingredient for making a truly “restaurant standard” Asian noodles. Substitute with Mirin, cooking sake or dry sherry. Non alcoholic substitute – sub both the cooking wine AND water with low sodium chicken broth/stock, reduce light soy sauce to 1.5 tbsp.
Lo Mein making TIPS!
The making part is a breeze – and moves super fast! Here are some tips to make your Lo Mein cooking life a breeze, even if you’re a first timer:
- Be prepared! As with all stir fries and noodles, have everything chopped and ready to toss straight in because once you start cooking, it moves FAST! You’ll be done 5 – 6 minutes.
- Double duty sauce – whatever protein you use, season it with some of the Sauce before cooking. Makes it extra tasty!
- TWO wooden spoons will make your tossing life a whole lot easier
- Wok or skillet – you don’t have to cook stir fries in a wok, but it does make it easier to toss enthusiastically, as is called for with stir fries. If you don’t have a wok, just use a very large skillet, preferably one heavy based that holds heat well.
- Keep things MOVING! Once you start cooking, keep stirring for the whole time otherwise things will start stewing ie leeching liquid. This will make your vegetables soggy and your noodles watery.
- CRISP tender vegetables – all stir fries and noodles are supposed to have “crisp tender” vegetables, meaning the vegetables are just cooked but are still a tiny bit raw inside. This not only retains their flavour, colour and nutrients better, but also is integral to the dish because overcooked vegetables leech water which waters down the flavour of the sauce.
These Lo Mein Noodles have enough vegetables in them to make it a complete meal, but if you’re really busting for some extra greens, you can either cram in another 2 cups or so of vegetables (ideally something like shredded cabbage, spinach or bean sprouts that are “noodle shaped” once cooked so they kind of disappear into the noodles), or add a Side Salad like one of these:
And with that, I get to sign off. It’s your turn. Go forth and be a Noodle Master! And remember, toss with abundance! That is the very essence of stir fried noodles. Toss, toss, toss!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Lo Mein Noodles
Recipe video above. If you want lip smackingly delicious Lo Mein noodles just like takeout, you just need to get the SAUCE right! The noodles is easy – you can literally use any noodles, even pasta (yep, seriously). Also, switch out the vegetables with 5 cups (packed) of any chopped vegetables of choice.
- 2 garlic cloves (, finely minced (Note 1))
- 1/2 onion (, finely sliced)
- 300g / 10oz chicken or other protein (, sliced 0.5cm / 1/5" thick (Note 2))
- 2 medium carrots (, peeled and cut into 4 x 0.75cm / 1.75 x 1/3" batons)
- 1 large red capsicum / bell pepper (, sliced (or 2 small))
- 6 green onions (, cut into 5 cm/2” lengths)
- 500g / 1lb Lo Mein or other medium thickness egg noodles ((yellow noodles, Note 3))
- 1/4 cup (65ml) water
- 4 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce ((Note 4))
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or light soy sauce ( (Note 4))
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or Mirin ((Note 5 subs))
- 1 tsp white sugar ((omit if using Mirin))
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil (, toasted, optional (Note 6))
- 1/4 tsp white pepper ((sub black))
- Green onion (, finely sliced)
Sauce: Mix cornflour and dark soy until lump free, then add remaining Sauce ingredients.
Season Chicken: Transfer 2 tsp Sauce into bowl with chicken. Toss to coat.
- Heat oil in a wok or large heavy based skillet over high heat until smoking.
- Add onion and garlic, stir 30 seconds.
Add chicken, stir until white on the outside, still raw inside – 1 minute.
Add carrot and capsicum/bell peppers, cook 2 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
- Add noodles, Sauce and water. Use 2 wooden spoons and toss for 30 seconds.
- Add green onions, toss for another 1 minute until all the noodles are slick with sauce.
- Serve immediately, garnished with extra green onions if using.
1. Garlic – don’t use jar paste or a garlic press, makes garlic watery = spits & burns when it hits the oil. Finely chop it – even sliced is enough.
2. Proteins – how to cook & cut:
- Beef, pork, turkey – slice and cook per recipe
- Ground / mince meat – cook garlic and onion per recipe, then cook ground / mince. Once cooked, add 1 tbsp sauce, stir, then proceed with next steps in recipe.
- Hard tofu – cut into 1 x 4cm / 1/3 x 1.5″ batons, cook per recipe.
- Prawns/shrimp – use small peeled, cook per recipe.
- More veggies – use another 2 1/2 cups chopped veggies.
3. Lo Mein noodles are fresh yellow noodles (usually labelled “egg noodles”) that are about 3mm / 1/8″ thick, sold in the fridge section of grocery stores.
Next best – dried egg noodles, vac packed “fresh” egg noodles. But Lo Mein is still delicious made with ANY type of noodles – thick, thin, fresh, dried, egg or rice – or ramen noodles, or even spaghetti or other long pasta (trust me, no one will know!).
4. Soy Sauces:
- Dark soy sauce is labelled as such, provides colour and gives more flavour to the sauce than other soy sauces. Sold at Aussie grocery stores nowadays. Fallback: sub with more ordinary or light soy (below)
- Soy Sauce – ordinary all purpose soy sauce, they just say “soy sauce” on the label (eg. Kikkoman). Can also use Light soy sauce – bottle is labelled as such.
5. Chinese cooking wine (“Shaoxing wine”) is an essential ingredient for making a truly “restaurant standard” Asian noodles. Substitute with Mirin, cooking sake or dry sherry. Non alcoholic sub – sub both the cooking wine AND water with low sodium chicken broth/stock + reduce light soy sauce to 1.5 tbsp.
6. Sesame oil – toasted sesame oil is brown and has more flavour than untoasted (which is yellow). Default sesame oil sold in Australia is toasted, untoasted is harder to find.
7. Servings – makes 3 servings.
Noodle Lovers – wait!
Your life will not be complete without these noodles too!
Life of Dozer
You wouldn’t believe how often people ask me if I crimp his ears…. NO I DO NOT!!!
(Though I cannot blame anyone for asking, being the crazy Dog Lady that I am)