Chow mein translates into a vague term meaning stir-fried noodles, but to me it is a specific dish ordered from Chinese take away on busy or late nights. Sometimes the noodles are soft and sometimes they are crispy everywhere but where the sauce has hit them – which is my favourite kind.
When you order chow mein from a restaurant they deep fry the noodles but this version is more adaptable to home cooking. Plus, without the added MSG it can be made far healthier since you can add any vegetables you want. Hint: If you are concerned about MSG just carefully watch the labels of your sauces as both soy and oyster sauces can have hidden added MSG in them frequently.
Shrimp Chow Mein with Crispy Noodles(serves 2)
1. Prep your noodles, you will want to first boil them to soften them and then drain and fry in a skillet. You basically make a noodle "cake", so I suggest making one per person eating the stir fry, so choose your frying pan size accordingly. Add the noodles to salted boiling water and cook until soft to the tooth. Drain and rinse. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add one serving of the noodles and spread into a pancake shape. Cook one one side until nice and crispy and a little bit browned. Use a plate to flip the noodle cake over and back into the skillet on the other side, once crisped on the other side, remove to a serving plate and place in a low oven to keep warm. Do the same with the remaining noodles using another tablespoon of oil.
2. Get all your ingredients ready to stir fry. All your veggies should be cut and beside you. Your shrimp should be shelled and de-veined and I suggest you have the sauces ready and measured/. Mix together the soy & oyster together in one little bowl and the cornstarch into the chicken stock to make it easier on you later.
3. Heat a wok to high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the ginger, garlic and the scallions. Stir fry for 20 seconds and then add the shrimp along with the white pepper. Stir fry until the shrimp are 80% cooked - this will vary based on their size, but is probably 1-3 minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside.
4. Add the mushrooms, and stir fry until soft - about 90 seconds. Add the bok choy and stir fry for another minute or two until it softens.
5. Add the shrimp back to the wok along with the rice wine. Cook the rice wine for 30 seconds then stir in the soy & oyster, followed by the chicken stock and corn starch mixture. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken. Taste and season with white pepper and soy sauce if desired. Once the mix has thickened and the shrimp are cooked, pour onto the noodles and serve immediately.