Enjoy an easy week night dinner with our easy Chinese chow mein fakeaway. It will be ready faster than the food can be delivered! Full of flavour, it’s so much cheaper than takeout. Vary this chicken chow mein to make a beef or vegan tofu version.
Fakeaway Chicken Chow Mein
Producing healthy, appetizing food every day on a budget is a real challenge. We all enjoy takeaways, but they can be expensive. There really is no need to order a takeaway when cooking your own at home is so much cheaper, and can be ready in the time it takes the food to arrive.
This Chinese chow mein fakeaway can be made three ways – with chicken, as I have done here, with beef or with vegetables, either topped with crispy tofu, or served as a simple vegetable chow mein.
Stir fry recipes like this easy chicken chow mein are great for week-night suppers. This recipe comes together in a snap, so I recommend getting everything ready and easy to reach – mise en place – before you start to cook.
How to make easy Chinese chow mein
Step one – Start by marinading the chicken. Mix cornflour (cornstarch), rice wine, soy sauce, cumin, chili, ginger, and garlic into a bowl. Add the chicken, making sure it’s all well covered with marinade, and leave for 20 minutes.
Fuss free tip The cornflour really helps to make a silky smooth sauce.
If you are using beef, simply substitute strips of frying steak for the chicken.
Step two – While the meat is marinading, prepare the vegetables. By cutting them into small, evenly sized pieces, you ensure they will all cook both quickly and at the same speed. Stir-fries are all about the preparation!
Step three – Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain.
Step four – Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok. When hot, remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the pan. Cook for about five minutes (3 minutes if you are using beef), until lightly browned on all sides. Once cooked, add the rest of the marinade and stir.
Step five – Add the vegetables to the chicken. Fry for a couple of minutes. Then add two teaspoons of water and allow them to steam for a few minutes, until just soft.
Step six – Add the noodles, stir, and allow to heat up.
Add dark soy sauce and sesame oil and stir through. Transfer to plates and serve; garnish with extra soy sauce, chili and finely chopped spring onions.
Top tips for easy Chinese chow mein
- To make a gluten free version of this Chinese chow mein, use GF noodles and good quality tamari rather than soy sauce. Check the bottle to make sure it’s suitable.
- Freeze your fresh ginger, and grate from frozen. It keeps for ages that way, so there is no waste.
- Save time in future by marinading twice as much chicken as you need, and freezing half of it. Defrost during the day in the fridge, and you’re ready to go once you’ve chopped the vegetables and cooked the noodles.
- Make a vegan version of this dish by pressing some of the moisture out of some tofu between two chopping boards. Cut into cubes, dust with cornstarch. Fry until crispy, and then remove from the pan. Cook the vegetables and add the noodles as normal. Serve, and top with the crispy tofu.
- It is easy to make this Chinese chow mein go further, add an extra nest of noodles, or more vegetables. Finely chopped strips of carrot would work well, or even a handful of peas or corn from the freezer. Just add a little more liquid, and use a little more cornflour to thicken.
Love fakeaways? Then try my Sticky Soy Chicken recipe!
Easy Chinese Chow Mein Fakeaway
- 2 skinless chicken thighs (cut into strips)
- 1 tbs cornstarch
- 1 tbs rice wine
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 red chili (deseeded and diced)
- 0.5 cm fresh ginger (finely grated)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper (deseeded and cut into thin strips)
- 8 baby corn (cut lengthwise into quarters)
- 50 g mange-tout (cut in half lengthwise)
- ½ courgette (medium sized. Cut lengthwise into batons.)
- 4 spring onions (trimmed and cut into thin strips)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 65 g Chinese egg noodles (cooked)
- Place the chicken, cornstarch, rice wine, soy sauce, cumin, chili, ginger, and garlic into a bowl, mix, and allow to marinate. Leave for at least 20 minutes, longer if possible.
- Pour the vegetable oil into a large saucepan or wok and heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the marinade and stir-fry over a high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the remainder of the marinade and stir well. Add the bell pepper, baby corn, mange-tout, scallions and stir-fry for another minute. Pour over 2 tbsp of water and allow the vegetables to steam.
- Add the noodles and stir-fry until they are hot and coated with the sauce. Add the dark soy sauce and sesame oil, stir through and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately with extra soy sauce, chili, and spring onions to garnish.
- To make a vegan-friendly version of this dish use tofu in place of the chicken. Wrap a block of firm tofu in kitchen towel and place a chopping board on top of it for 10 minutes to remove some moisture. Cut into 1.5 cm cubes and dust them in a tablespoon of cornstarch. Fry until crispy. Remove from the pan and set to one side. Add the marinade mix to the pan, then the vegetables, and cook as above. Serve topped with the crispy tofu.
- You could also make this with strips of frying steak.
- To make a gluten free version, use GF noodles and a good quality tamari rather than soy sauce.
- A time saving tip it to marinade twice as much chicken as you need for one meal. Freeze half of the marinading chicken.
- To make this meal go further throw in an extra nest of egg noodles, or some extra vegetables.
- This recipe is 12 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion