Cantonese style chow mein is characterized by a bed of crispy pan fried noodles topped with a delicious brown sauce with stirfried meat and veggies—it could be seafood, beef, chicken, etc. The brown sauce is usually a base of soy sauce and oyster sauce thickened by a cornstarch slurry.
Chow mein was often a dish we ordered when we went to a Cantonese restaurant or dim sum place and got as an "add on" dish (because for us, when we went for dim sum, we ate dim sum, and any other "entree" is really just in case you aren't full, or you want to bring it home as leftovers, haha). My dad would often order the chicken chow mein for us to eat and it is a memory I often associate with whenever I see it on the menu. I love the way the pan fried noodles would crackle and crunch when you cut into them, and how tender and moist the protein always was, regardless of whether it was chicken, beef, or pork.
The reason for this is due to the marinade used for the protein and then cooking it on high heat—this is a process called 'velveting' and it locks in all the juices, making even chicken breast tender and yummy.
Since we've been craving childhood favorites lately, and because there is truly a shortage of good, authentic Asian eats where I live, I found our local mini Asian market sold chow mein in their freezer, I decided to make this restaurant favorite at home! I air fried the noodles rather than frying the noodles pan or wok of oil so it is just mildly healthier than the restaurant version! It was so crispehhhhhh 😍
The package of chow mein noodles we got had 4 servings, so we just used half and saved the other half to make again later in the week. You can always make as much as you want, but we have a small airfryer so it wouldn't have fit all of it in one go anyway, haha. Be sure to get the thin chow mein noodles--thick noodles won't crisp up the same way.
AIR FRYER BEEF CHOW MEIN
Makes 2 servings
Air Fryer Chow Mein
- 1/2 package Chow mein noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- salt* optional
Marinade for Beef
- 6 oz beef, sliced into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 stalks of scallions
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water or low sodium chicken broth
1. Marinate your sliced beef in 1 tbsp cornstarch, a sprinkling of salt, black pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp water. Mix well and let marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Boil the chow mein noodles briefly, about 1-2 minutes. Then drain and run through cold water to remove any excess starch, and get rid of as much liquid as possible in the strainer. Use paper towels to dry if needed.
3. Add the olive oil and sesame oil to the chow mein in a large mixing bowl and mix well to ensure the noodles are coated. You can add a pinch of salt and mix in as well, but optional.
4. Lay the noodles flat in your air fryer rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath the noodles. Airfry at 380°F for 10 minutes. Then flip the noodles and move the noodles around so that all the crispy edges are under and the non crispy noodles are exposed. Airfry again at 380°F for 7 minutes. At this point, check to see if it is crispy throughout, and if not, mix the noodles and make sure the non crispy noodles are exposed and airfry again, 3 minutes at a time until it reaches desired crispness. The time may differ based on how dry you were able to get your noodles.
5. While the noodles are airfrying, add a little oil to your fry pan and cook your beef until seared brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and cook your onions in the remaining oil until onions are brown and translucent.
6. Make your sauce mixture with cornstarch, water (or low sodium chicken broth), oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Add your beef back in, add scallions, and add the sauce mixture and mix. Cook until the sauce thickens and taste—add salt if needed, but if you use chicken broth, most likely do not need extra salt. Once the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, shut off the heat.
7. Once airfried chow mein noodles reach the desired crispness, put onto a large plate and spoon the beef and onions sauce on top. Garnish with more scallions if desired and enjoy!
Until next time,
Let's talk kale today. I could talk all about the benefits of this superfood vegetable that is great for you, but let's be real here, you can do your own research on that if you really wanted to. What I will talk about though, is how Wilson and I want to be more healthy and have a more balanced diet because we are getting older (30+ now! ahhhh) and while KBBQ, hotpot, seafood boils, rice, pasta and fried chicken every day sounds like a dream, we probably won't last long on this earth if we actually do loll! So, kale seemed to be a vegetable to get behind, or at least start adding to our diet. My hubby only likes enough vegetables that I can probably count off on one hand, and so cooking vegetables in a way that is yummy (or easily hidden HAH) is good.
But, to be honest, there just aren't that many recipes online for kale that I enjoyed. Once in a while, I'll buy kale and throw it in some kind of vegetable and bean soup, but after a while, that got old too. We aren't really fans of kale chips or kale salads, so when we still have at least half a bag of kale left with no inspiration, I was at a loss. But my sister told me to use it as a substitute for dishes I would normally use spinach in, and it opened up more possibilities for me! I decided to make breakfast with it to finish off the remaining bag of kale in our fridge by incorporating it into breakfast shakshuka!
Shakshuka is a North African dish that is popular throughout the Middle East, specifically in Israel. It's easy to put together and is essentially a mix of onions, tomatoes, and peppers in a tomato based sauce seasoned with paprika, cumin, chili powder, and topped with poached eggs. I decided to add in kale, mushrooms, as well as some chicken sausage, and it came out delicious.
Extra plus because it's also healthy, and a great way to use up/sneak veggies into your diet 🤭
This dish is so good with some toasted bread to dip into and smother the runny poached eggs all over. I added a splash of sweet soy sauce and it provided some extra umami, especially with the mix of mushrooms, tomato and onions. The kale and chicken sausage gave it extra body as well, making it a filling and satisfying breakfast dish.
This is definitely a dish we'll be making again and again, and a great way for us to eat more veggies. We rarely eat breakfast--if anything, we're more brunch people, but this dish is great for any meal, but even better incentive if we make it for breakfast because it's so quick to put together and has great savory flavors. I hope you enjoy it!
KALE AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE SHAKSHUKA
Makes 2-3 servings.
1. Cook red onions until translucent in olive oil, then add garlic, tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, chicken broth and cook until kale has softened.
2. Add sliced mushrooms and sliced chicken sausage, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sweet soy sauce, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, sugar and paprika, mix and cover. Add salt to taste if you feel you need it. Then lower heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes.
3. Open and mix again, then crack 4 eggs on top of the mixture and cover again, cook for about 5-8 minutes or keep an eye on it until eggs reach your preferred doneness. I like them just cooked until the egg whites are no longer transparent and the yolk is still runny!
4. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and chopped parsley. Enjoy with buttered, toasted bread!
Until next time,
Japchae is a sweet and savory Korean vermicelli noodle dish made with sweet potato starch. The noodles are usually cooked with an assortment of vegetables and served as a side dish or as an entree. Did you know, in both Korean and Chinese, the term japchae 잡채; 雜菜means mixed vegetables. As a linguaphile, I always find it so interesting to see commonalities between vastly different languages, especially that of Chinese words, phrases and their similar meanings in Korean and Japanese. Like when I found out the word for library in Japanese was toshokan 図書館, which sounds like the Chinese equivalent for tu su guan圖書館, and then in Korean it is also doseogwan 도서관! So cool!! Anyhow, moving on...
This is an easy recipe that everyone in my family enjoys. It's not oily or greasy, and packs lots of healthy veggies. Japchae has a sweet and savory profile, making it palatable for kids and seniors alike. My grandmother who is notoriously picky about all foods other than her own, also enjoys japchae! The sweetness not only comes from the sugar and soy sauce, but also from the natural sweetness of the carrots. Some japchae dishes include protein like sliced beef or chicken, but today's recipe is mainly vegetarian. Feel free to add protein as you like!
This dish is quick to pull together with a little prep for the veggies and boiling the sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon). You can buy this noodle at your local Asian supermarket or Korean market.
I used dried shiitake mushrooms and re-hydrated them, saving the mushroom broth to use when cooking the japchae instead of water. I would much rather use dried shiitakes and re-hydrate them instead of using fresh shiitakes because there is a depth of flavor from the drying process that concentrates the mushroom flavor to a whole different level of umami. Like a dry-aged steak, the flavors of the aged beef are more pronounced and richer when dried than a fresh cut. Also, the mushroom broth that comes out of rehydrating is great for cooking and replacing vegetable stock in recipes.
When I boil the noodles, I also cook the veggies at the same time, starting with the carrots. Then the garlic and mushrooms go in, and lastly the spinach. From there, the noodles are tossed in and the sauce joins the party!
With a sprinkling of sesame seeds and fresh chopped scallions, the dish is complete and ready to eat. Enjoy as a meal by itself, or cook it as a side dish to eat with Korean bbq at home--grill up some meat, serve with fresh lettuce leaves, kimchi, potato salad..the list goes on. I am seriously missing Kbbq right now. 😞
We hope you enjoy this Korean staple dish as much as we do!
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤