Chowmein, the stir-fried noodles with the veggies of your choice. Who doesn’t love Chowmein?? A lip-smacking and scrumptious meal favorite among all age groups that can be had just as it is or with side dishes like Veg Manchurian or Chilli Paneer. In India, it has become one of the most popular street food and ordered item at dine-ins. A must-have item for kids birthday parties or get-togethers. Even in US, I see Chinese Cusine is quite popular. But it is little different from Indian Chinese or Indo-Chinese as it is popularly called due to more heat added as we Indians love spicy food and we can give an Indian makeover to any cuisine of the world. 🙂 Chowmein is noodles stir-fried with veggies like bell peppers, cabbage and with or without any kind of meat(as per one’s choice), in Chinese sauces like soy-sauce, tomato ketchup, and vinegar.
Making Chowmein at home is very easy and we can control the amount of oil used and the veggies can be added as per one’s choice. I like my Chowmein or noodles in less oil, coated with evenly with sauces and with crunchy vegetables. For moms with fussy kids, sometimes it can be a good way to sneak in vegetables along with noodles. I used Ching’s Noodles(an Indian Brand of Noodles available in Indian/Asian Grocery stores) for making Chowmein that are quite popular in India. But here in US, I use angel hair spaghetti to make these as we like thin noodles for making chowmein. Any other kind of noodles of your choice like Soba Noodles, Whole wheat noodles can also be used for making chowmein.
The commonly used vegetables for making are any color of bell peppers( red, yellow or orange), green capsicum, cabbage any color and carrots. These veggies not only add color to the blend and plain boiled noodles but add the much-needed crunch. Veggies are stir-fried at high heat to retain the crunch. If we are careful while frying vegetables, we can have the nice crunch in our noodles. For me like many others, adding garlic and spring onions is a must is must in my Chinese dishes as it imparts a characteristic taste and aroma to the dishes.
I still remember the first time I made Chowmein when I was around 14 years old. We were introduced to these delicious noodles by our Masi(aunt) who liked trying out new recipes and whenever we met her treated us with her delicious treats. The Eggless, Gelatin-free Chocolate Pudding on my blog and is her recipe only. So when I thought of trying these noodles by myself (I started cooking and trying out new dishes from an early age), I added only the vinegar and tomato ketchup as totally forgot to buy soya sauce from the market. My younger sister’s few friends were home that day and we all happily gobbled up everything bit of the noodles. The result was not that bad but I know something was missing :). I remembered what was missing the ingredient. Soy sauce is one of the main ingredient used in Indo-Chinese cooking. Later I saw many versions of the this humble Chowmein on TV shows like Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khana Khazana and many others. And now here I am sharing my version of Chowmein.
To the get the perfect non-sticky noodles we can keep a few pointers in mind while boiling the noodles and frying the veggies.
- Take sufficient water in a big pan to boil noodles.
- Add noodles to high boiling water.
- Cook noodles al-dente we read many times that is cook noodles till these are little uncooked. After 10 minutes of boiling or as per instructions on the noodles pack, with some take out a noodle and press between the index finger and thumb. I should be little uncooked.
- Drain the noodles in a strainer and run under cold water. The cold water stops the further cooking of noodles. Overcooked noodles get sticky.
- Spread the noodles in a plate or on chopping board and coat noodles with 1-2 tsp of oil. Use your hands to evenly coat the noodles.
- Stir-fry the vegetables and noodles on high heat.
- Keep everything ready before starting to cook the noodles.
Let’s see how I make this yummy chowmein.
Stir-fried Noodles and vegetables in hot Chinese sauces. Learn how to make vegetable Chowmein
- Hakka Noodles- 1 Packet or Angel hair Spagethi-
- Onion(thinly sliced)- 1/2 Cup
- Mixed Colored Bell Peppers-1 Cup
- Cabbage(green/purple)thinly sliced- 1 Cup
- Spring Onions- 2-3 sprigs
- Garlic Cloves- 2-3
- Soya Sauce- 2-3 Tbsp
- Tomato Ketchup- 2 Tbsp
- White Vinegar/Apple Cider Vinegar- 1-2 Tsp
- Chilli Sauce- 1-2 Tbsp or as per preferred spice level
- Black Pepper- 1 Tsp
- Oil(Peanut/Sesame/Olive) – 3-4 Tbsp
- Salt as per taste
- In a pan boil 6-7 glasses of water. When the water starts boiling, add the noodles and cook for 7-8 minutes as per the packet’s instructions, till al-dente or little uncooked, not soft and mushy.
- Drain the noodles in a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Spread the noodles on a plate or board to cool.
- Add a tsp of oil and toss noodles with hands to coat oil uniformly on the noodles and keep aside.
- Chop finely or coarsely grind garlic in a motor pestle. along with green chili (if you are adding). I didn’t use any green chili.
- Keep all the other veggies and sauces ready. I usually mix all the sauces in a bowl, but here I have added one by one just for the demo pics.
- In a wok or pan, add oil, when the oil hot add garlic, saute for a few seconds, add onions.
- Saute onions till these start turning pink, add the bell peppers and keep stirring. Cook for 1-2 minutes. I didn’t add carrots this time as I didn’t have any, you can add julienned carrots along with bell peppers.
- Add cabbage at last, as it cooks very fast. Keep stirring the veggies.
- Add sauces and mix well. Add salt and a sugar. Add salt carefully as the sauces also contain some amount of salt.
- Add noodles and stir fry on high flame, stirring continuously.
- Once the noodles are coated with sauces and mixed nicely with veggies. Add black pepper. Take off the flame and garnish with spring onions/scallions.
- Serve hot.
Chowmein can be enjoyed just on its own or with any of the sides likes Veg. Manchurian, Chili Paneer. The recipe is adaptable to one’s preferences you can add the veggies and adjust the sauces. Kids love to take these for their lunch and an ideal dish for potlucks and parties. Veg. Chowmein vegan and you can make the gluten-free version by using the soba noodles or any gluten-free noodles. Replace soy sauce with a gluten-free soy sauce.
Today 14th Nov. in India is celebrated as Children’s Day, I treated my kidoos with their favorite Chilli Paneer and Chowmein after they came back from school. I also made their favorite Chocolate Pudding and served with strawberries and blueberries with chocolate shavings. Both the kids happily finished off everything in their plates.
Hope you liked my Chowmein recipe. If this recipe takes you back in time or have some cherised moments attached to it do share with me.
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