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Chinese New Year: Vegetable Lo Mein

There isn’t much I like eating more than a big bowl of glistening, slippery noodles. Greasy lo mein is one of my favorite takeout choices. Yes, chicken and broccoli will always be my number one, but veggie lo mein is definitely in the canon of American-style Chinese dishes. It’s no secret that mall Chinese food, e.g., Panda Wok, Great Wall Garden, Golden Wonton, is one of my life’s simple pleasures. Good, bad, mostly bad, sometimes really bad, I don’t care, I love it. I think it’s because when my mom and I would spend a day at our mall – The Crystal Mall – we would get a sectioned paper plate of Chinese: lo mein, egg roll, sticky sweet glazed chicken, orange or General Tso’s. Then we would take the glass elevator up to Contempo Casuals where she would buy me inappropriate shorts and black velvet chokers. Later, we’d share a Wetzel’s Pretzel, she would deny me entry into Spencer Gifts, and we’d go home. But, I digress.

Lo mein is really kind of miraculous, if you think about it. No matter how much you portion out onto your plate, there is always the same amount left in the carton. It is everlasting, seemingly infinite. 99% of the time there is an old box of noodles that slid between the shelves and the back wall of the fridge. New Year’s resolution number 510: clean refrigerator more frequently. This was extremely satisfying to put together. You have to add a good shot of oyster sauce for that weird, can’t-put-your-finger-on-it Asian flavor. If you have that, you need neither MSG, nor the sweat of a thousand immigrants to season your wok, in my humble opinion.

Vegetable Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dry cooking sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Method:

Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. Heat a very large skillet over very high heat. Get the oils super hot. Saute garlic and ginger quickly, then add onion, bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms. Stir-fry the veggies, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together corn starch, sherry, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin. Pour sauce over the vegetables, then toss with the noodles.

In our “Chinese New Year” series, we unlock the secrets of our favorite Chinese-American takeout classics with a week’s worth of recipe posts. We realize that the Chinese New Year isn’t until February 10th this year, making the name of this series more “clever,” than it is “informative.” To read more from this series, click here.



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  1. Kacey

    I just made this the other day and it was awesome!!! I intended to use the leftovers for my husbands lunch the next day, but I ended up eating them all for breakfast. Whoops!

  2. Lily Sheng

    Of course! I love your blog – your pictures and your writing style (even though I find some of the words hard to understand as I’m still learning Enlighs. But that makes it less boring and proof that it ain’t plain writing!) Please keep up the great work!

  3. ginny

    I’ve tried several other Lo Mein recipes over the past few months and they were not good. I’d just about given up when I found this one…..well, I didn’t exactly “find” it, you sent it to me! And I thank you for that! This recipe is hands down the best. My husband and I are living in Mexico right now and we can’t get good Chinese food. We can’t even get the ingredients in our area, except for soy sauce, but I bring them with me from the US when we go back to visit. Anyways, thank you so much and I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  4. Becky

    Oh my goodness, I grew up going to the Crystal Mall every Saturday! Too funny!

    All my friends in high school ended up working there. We called Contempo Casuals “Contrampo.” I was so sad when the bookstore went out of business… I think that’s when I stopped going!

    Love this recipe – thanks for sharing! Now we just need a good Roman Delight (i.e. now Illiano’s) garlic knot dupe!


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