I was dubious whether to call this a chow mein or not because one: I am not Chinese and two: I have never been to China, so I have no authority on the matter. But I think of chow mein as a Chinese style noodle dish and this is a Chinese style stir-fry with noddles – so chow mein it is.
I, for many years, always made stir-fries with chicken breast meat thinking it the best to use. But I have discovered that quite frankly this is wrong.
I have long loved chicken thighs for their juicy brown meat, but seldom fry them in small slices. But they are fantastic. You do need to cook the pieces for a few minutes longer, but they stay juicy and flavoursome in the meal – and just as importantly they are half the price of breast meat.
I also only recently started to marinade the meat in a mix of soy sauce, five-spice powder and cornflour. This is now the most crucial part for me and the element that gives this dish such punch and mouth-filling flavour.
Use whatever vegetables you wish, my favourites are sliced red peppers, mushrooms, mini corn, spring onion and beansprouts. But try sliced white cabbage, green beans or spinach as well.
This is a perfect, quick, healthy midweek dinner.
Two chicken thighs, in thin slices
½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1tbsp soy sauce
1tsp grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
2-3 handfuls of finely sliced vegetables
Egg noodles or rice noodles – two nests (or follow guidelines on packet for portion sizes)
1tbsp oyster sauce
2-3 tbsp hot water
Extra soy for seasoning
Marinade the chicken thigh pieces in the five-spice, soy and cornflour while you prepare all you other ingredients. Cook your noodles to the packet instructions then drain and run under cold water – set aside.
Fry the ginger, garlic and chilli in some sunflower oil in a wok for a few minutes, then add your chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add your vegetables and continue to fry for a 1-2 minutes.
Mix the oyster sauce, honey and hot water to make a sauce. Add the noodles to the wok then pour in the sauce and stir to coat. Season with more soy if necessary.
Serve in deep bowls.