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Chicken Lo Mein – Tender Noodles And Juicy Chicken, Oh My!

Chicken Lo Mein – Tender Noodles And Juicy Chicken, Oh My!

What is Chicken Lo Mein?

Chicken lo mein is a classic Chinese takeout dish consisting of chicken, noodles, and vegetables in a savory sauce. The main ingredients are soft noodles similar to linguine or tagliatelle that have been cooked al dente, thinly sliced or diced chicken breast meat, and a variety of crisp-tender vegetables like bean sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. The sauce is what brings it all together – it has a distinctive sweet and salty flavor and coats the noodles and other components nicely. Some common seasonings used in lo mein sauce include oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.

I absolutely love how the tender noodles become coated in the flavorful sauce as I mix everything together before eating. It creates the perfect balance of tastes and textures in each bite. The juicy chicken provides a nice protein component that contrasts nicely with the soft noodles. I also appreciate that chicken lo mein typically includes a variety of fresh, colorful vegetables that add nutrition as well as visual appeal to the dish.

How is Chicken Lo Mein Typically Prepared?

Chicken lo mein preparation involves several distinct steps:

Noodle cooking – Dry noodles are boiled until tender but still firm to the bite. They are then drained and set aside.

Meat and vegetable preparation – Thinly sliced chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces. Firm vegetables like carrots are julienned or matchsticks while softer ones like cabbage are thinly sliced.

Sauce making – A mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and other seasonings is whisked together to form the signature lo mein sauce. Water can be added for a thinner consistency.

Stir frying – Oil is heated in a wok or large skillet. The chicken is added and stir fried until no longer pink. Vegetables are next, stir fried briefly just to soften slightly.

Noodle addition – The pre-cooked noodles are folded into the wok and coated with the sauce. Additional sauce is tossed with the ingredients until fully combined.

Plating and serving – Hot chicken lo mein is transferred to a serving plate or bowl and can be garnished with sesame seeds, chopped scallions or cilantro. Steamed white rice is a classic accompaniment.

Following these basic steps will yield delicious, restaurant-quality chicken lo mein at home! I especially enjoy how each element retains its texture when properly prepared.

How do the Main Ingredients Come Together?

The key main ingredients of chicken lo mein – noodles, chicken, and vegetables – form the foundation that makes this dish so satisfying. Let’s take a closer look at how they come together:

Ingredient Role in Dish
Noodles provide the bulk of the dish and act as a delivery system for the sauce and other components. Their texture should be tender but not mushy.
Chicken supplies lean protein. Thinly sliced chicken retains moisture and picks up flavor from the sauce nicely.
Vegetables add color, texture, nutrition. Each veggie is prepared to retain some bite for contrast to soft noodles.
Sauce ties everything together into one cohesive flavor bomb. Sweet, salty, savory sauce clings lightly to each bite.

I’m always amazed by how such a simple formula of noodles, chicken and veggies can become so much more than the sum of its parts when prepared with a great sauce. Each component fulfills its role, but together they create a truly delicious whole. mastering the balance is key to perfect chicken lo mein.

What are Some Popular Variations?

While traditional chicken lo mein sticks to the basics, there are many exciting variations home cooks and restaurants create too keep things interesting. Here are a few common ones:

Chinese Bacon Chicken Lo Mein

In this variation, diced or sliced Chinese bacon known as lap cheong is stir fried along with the chicken and other ingredients. The slight sweetness and saltiness it imparts elevates the dish.

Vegetable Lo Mein

For a meatless take, the chicken can simply be left out of the recipe. Extra firm tofu cubes or extra veggies make it a hearty vegetarian meal.

Spicy Chicken Lo Mein

By adding chopped fresh chilies or Asian chili garlic sauce to the mix, you get a tongue-tingling twist. I find this version really wakes up my taste buds.

Singapore Street Noodle

With rice vermicelli replacing wheat noodles, shrimp, chilies, curry powder and cabbage, it takes on an Asian fusion flair reminiscent of Singapore’s hawker stalls.

Getting creative with ingredients is part of the fun of lo mein. There are no wrong answers – it’s all about finding personalized combo’s I truly savor. Variations keep the dish feeling fresh and exciting each time.

What are Some Tips for Making Chicken Lo Mein at Home?

Here are some key pointers I’ve learned to ensure chicken lo mein turned out top-notch every time:

  • Use fresh noodles for the best texture rather than dried. Keep them separated to prevent clumping.

  • Slice chicken against the grain and as thinly as possible for quick, even cooking.

  • Prepare ingredients in advance for a seamless stir-frying process.

  • Cook noodles first until almost done before adding to the stir-fry.

  • Toss ingredients gently but thoroughly to coat everything in the aromatic sauce.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, especially the acid/sweet balance in the sauce.

  • Serve immediately while the noodles are still tender and hot from the pan.

Learning some basics like these allowed me to start recreating – and sometimes enhancing – my favorite Chinese takeout dishes. With a bit of practice, I found myself able to make tasty, satisfying chicken lo mein without leaving the house.



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