Next time you’re craving a comforting dish of Chinese takeout, make this chicken lo mein. It contains noodles, stir-fried vegetables and an irresistible umami sauce. What exactly is umami? Find out here.
Here’s how to make this popular takeout dish at home.
Skillet vs Wok: What’s the Difference?
Before you whip up a hearty stir-fry meal, it’s important to know about the tools you’ll be using. In many cases, skillets and woks are interchangeable, but there are some subtle differences you should know about:
- Skillets have a flat bottom and a shallow height and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate varying amounts of ingredients. This everyday cooking tool works well on both electric and gas stovetops. Read our handy guide to find the best nonstick frying pan for your home.
- Woks allow foods to cook much faster, since oil heats more quickly. Originally from China, woks have a round bottom and are slightly taller than skillets. They work best on gas stovetops due to their shape. They’re used for many Chinese culinary techniques because they’re great for steaming, deep frying, poaching, searing and, of course, stir-frying.
So, at the end of the day, it’s all about preference. If you don’t own a traditional Chinese wok, a good ol’ skillet will work perfectly well for making lo mein!
How to Make Chicken Lo Mein
- 4 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot (This is why fresh ginger is worth keeping around!)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
Step 1: Make the pasta and sauce
Cook the pasta according to package directions. (Be sure to check out these tips for perfectly seasoning your pasta water, first.) Then, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic. Set aside.
Step 2: Cook the chicken
In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry the chicken strips in 1 tablespoon of canola oil for 5-8 minutes or until fully cooked. Carefully remove the chicken strips with a slotted spoon.
Step 3: Stir-fry the veggies
Stir-fry the broccoli and carrots in the remaining canola oil for 5-6 minutes or until crispy and tender. Add the cornstarch mixture from Step 1 to the pan. Bring the veggies and cornstarch mix to a boil. Then, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Step 4: Stir in the noodles
The term “lo mein” comes from the Cantonese lou min, which translates to “stirred noodles.” It’s time to stir in the noodles and chicken and heat through. Serve on plates and sprinkle each dish with peanuts. Enjoy!