Happy Lunar New Year! We didn’t make it to China Town this year, but that’s not stopping us from celebrating at home! (Plus, any excuse to make Chinese food..right?)
Ever since discovering our vast Asian population and community of exotic grocery stores here, we have accustomed to some foreign staples into our typical pantry. May I present to you, fermented chili bean sauce and or if you speak the language, “Doubanjiang”. A funky spicy, salty, thick fermented bean paste that slightly reaks if you put your nose to close in the jar. For heat lovers that like a little funk in their food, this is right up your alley. Clears the nostrils and doesn’t linger with an extra depth of sour yet incredibly addicrive notes. Add this to the chow mein sauce or gingerly as a garnish for an extra kick.
Now that I’ve introduced you to the hottest thing in my life, let’s celebrate properly with this chicken chow mein. Keep the noodles long for life longevity, as tradition states and add green onion for good luck. Celebrate, eat sweets and mandarines, dumplings and egg rolls and have fun!
Now I cannot take complete credit for the tenderness of this chicken in this chicken chow mein, thanks to Rasa Malaysia’s tip on soaking the chicken pieces in baking soda. This instantly tenderizes the chicken and gives is the most delicious and inviting chew. The Chinese broccoli and other vegetables provide just enough crunch and texture, that you’ll contemplate eating the entire wok-full yourself, but this is a celebration with family and friends, so make sure you save a bit for them, ok?
Chicken Chow Mein with Chinese Broccoli and Mushrooms
- 1 chicken breast about 4-6 ounces, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 Tb oyster sauce
- 1 Tb soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1 Tb cornstarch
- 1 tsp fermented chili bean paste optional
For the Chow Mein
- Canola or vegetable oil to coat wok or large pan
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 1 inch piece ginger peeled and chopped finely
- 1-2 carrots peeled and cut into thin strips
- 2 cups fresh Chinese broccoli thick stems removed
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms shiitake, cremini or button, sliced
- 2-3 green onions chopped
- 8 ounces Chinese noodles I used dried noodles
- First marinate the chicken. In a bowl, add the chicken pieces with baking soda and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then rinse off baking soda and pat dry and add cornstarch and soy sauce and allow to marinate.
- While chicken is marinading, cook the Chinese noodles in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes. They cook much quicker than paste and taste test for doneness. It should still have a bit of a "bite" to it because you'll be adding it to the hot wok later. Once done, drain and toss with a bit of sesame oil so noodles do not stick together.
- In another bowl (or I use a Pyrex measure cup), mix together the sauce ingredients and whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add oil to coat the bottom. Gently swirl the oil around the pan so sides are coated too. Once the oil is hot add the garlic and ginger and use a spatula to saute, making sure it does not burn, for about 1 minute.
- Next, add chicken and cook until outside is cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Next, add the vegetables, the Chinese broccoli, mushrooms and carrots and toss everything to coat and allow the carrots and broccoli to soften. About 1 minute in, add the sauce mixture and toss together. Then add the cooked noodles and use tongs to coat everything in the sauce.
- Once done, turn off heat and garnish with extra bean paste (if you'd like) and green onions.
Looking for other recipes to try for the Lunar New Year? Try my shrimp chow mein with fresh vegetables and head on shrimp (the best part, if you ask me!)