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Chicken Chow Mein

In China, chow mein is made with soft noodles. For crispy chow mein noodles, add more oil than the recipe calls for and cook the noodles longer to dry them out. You can substitute shrimp or pork for the chicken.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound mung bean sprouts
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 7 to 8 ounces each
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small piece (less than 1 teaspoon) cornstarch
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
  • Other:
  • 1/2 pound dry wonton noodles
  • 2 medium ribs celery
  • 1 pound bok choy or broccoli
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 green onion
  • Vegetable oil for frying and stir-frying, as needed
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

PREPARATION:

One or 2 hours before cooking, rinse the mung bean sprouts so that they have time to drain thoroughly.

Cut the chicken into thin strips. Add the marinade ingredients, add the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes.

The following 3 steps can be completed while the chicken is marinating:

To prepare the sauce, whisk the water or chicken broth with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch and set aside.

Soften the noodles by placing them in boiling salted water.

Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process and drain thoroughly.

Wash all the vegetables as needed. Cut the celery and the bok choy into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal. If substituting broccoli for bok choy, peel the stalks until no more strings come out, and slice thinly on the diagonal.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and slice. Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and chut into chunks. Peel and chop the onion. Dice the green onion.

Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the noodles. Fry in batches until golden. Remove the noodles from the pan.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and the meat. Let the meat brown briefly, then stir-fry until the redness is gone and the meat is nearly cooked through. Remove the cooked meat and onion from the pan.

Cook the rest of the vegetables separately, seasoning each with a bit of salt while stir-frying if desired. When cooking the bok choy or broccoli, add 1/4 cup of water and cover while cooking. Remove each of the vegetables from the pan when finished stir-frying. Add more oil as needed.

Give the gravy a quick restir. Add all the ingredients back into the wok, making a "well" in the middle if the wok for the gravy. Add the gravy, stirring quickly to thicken. Mix everything together. Stir in the green onions. Pour the cooked vegetable and sauce mixture on top of the noodles. Garnish the chow mein with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.

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