Traditionally, chow mein is a common dish and has been around for many years. Chinese has their ways of creating this chow mein dish. The word “mein” mean noodles and “chow” has the definition of stir-fry in a wok. In Asia, there are many ways of putting a dish of chow mein together. Some like it with “yellow noodles” as known as mein whereas; some like it with “rice noodles” which called “fun”. In addition, different meats and vegetables can be added to the chow mein and will create different favors. Chow mein has evolved over the years and has become one of the signature dishes in Chinese cuisine.
Chow mein (yellow noodles) and chow fun (rice noodles) can be classified into two main categories. It either stir-fried with sauce called the “wet” style or the “dry” style would be the type you stir-fried with no sauce (aka: lo mein). The option of meat and vegetable is your personal choice. Beef, pork or chicken can be used as the meat portion and broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom and bok choy is a great viariety to use on chow mein - the list could goes on forever. Asain like to slightly deep fry the noodles so it is crunchy at the base and pour the meat and vegetable content over the dry noodles before serving. However, with the American Chinese cuisine, the noodles are usually steam or boil first then mix with the meat and vegetable at the end. You need to be more specific if you are in a Chinese Restaurant as to which kind of chow mein you want. Evidently, there is a distinct between the two.
For my family, just because I don’t have a commercial kitchen with a huge wok or a deep fryer, I tense to cook my chow mein in a stream and boil approach. I like to be creative and use different options to cook my chow mein. Using different type of noodles (ie; vermicelli, skinny rice noodles, flat fresh/dry noodles and the yellow noodles etc.) for my base and with different kind of meat and vegetable each time. My dinner of choice for tonight is “Ground Beef with Radish and Basil on Rice Noodles”. Cooking time is approx. 30 minutes. It’s so simple and yet so delicious!
Ingredients: (serving for 4)
· 1.5 lbs extra lean ground beef
· 1 pack of dry rice noodle (contain 8 squares)
· 1 small bag (90 grams) of preserved diced radish (aka; Char-Choy)
· 1 bunch of fresh basil (Chinese basil)
· 3 scallion green onions
· 2 teaspoons of olive oil
· 1 clove garlic
· 2 teaspoons of soya sauce
· 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
· 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
· 1 pinch of salt
· 2 pinch of black pepper
· 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
Bring the rice noodles to boil in a separate pot. Drain out the rice noodles and rinse under cold water for about 3 minutes. On a wok, bring the olive oil and garlic into a sizzle stage. Put the ground beef in and stir-fry it for about 3 minutes. Add the preserved radish and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Combine with the rest of the spices and 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce in and cook it for another 5 minutes, cover it and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the beef is cooked right through. Put the cornstarch into a rice bowl (Chinese style) and add 1 cup of water and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Stir it evenly and pour into the wok to create the sauce. Add the drained rice noodles and the green onion and basil at the end. Stir-fry it and mix everything together throughly.