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,
This is pan fried turnip cake, or 香煎蘿蔔糕, a delicious turnip cake that is first steamed with daikon radish, Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp and scallions that is pan fried until crispy and golden brown.
Chinese turnip cake always makes me think of busy dim sum Sundays with family and friends and is such a nostalgic dish. Like my shrimp cheung fun recipe, this was born out of a craving during the COVID19A quarantine and wanting some luo bak go and not being able to go out for dim sum!
This is such an easy recipe—it's one of those one pot recipes where you throw everything togeher and let it cook. There's only a little prep work involved where you have to shred the daikon radish and stir fry the ingredients before mixing all of it in a bowl. To steam the turnip cake, I used a 12x3 metal circle pan that fit my wok, but you can honestly use whatever you have on hand and you can separate the batches depending on the size of your pan and steamer. Steam for an hour, let cool completely and it's ready to eat! Or, my favorite way is to cut it up and pan fry with some oil for a great crispy outside and soft turnip cake inside. I typically like to cover it and leave in the fridge overnight for it to settle and then crisp it up for breakfast or dim sum brunch the next day!
I'm so happy that we can now enjoy this dish at home and I hope you enjoy it too!
Recipe Serves 8
Until next time,
Crispy Cantonese Roast Pork "Siu Yuhk" 燒肉 (directly translated as "roast meat") is an essential part of Chinese Canto bbq cuisine. I grew up visiting Chinatown in New York every weekend with my family. For Chinese school, for groceries. We would walk past bakeries and restaurants, and many of the restaurants would feature Chinese bbq or tanks of live seafood at their storefronts. Seeing a plump soy sauce chicken, crispy roast duck, or fatty roast pork hanging in the window is always the best advertising a restaurant can have. You tell the butcher what you want by the pound, he chops it up and gives it to you with some cups of soy sauce or ginger scallion oil. Call us barbaric, but sometimes we can't even wait to get home and we start eating the meat straight out of the box with our hands!
With the COVID19 quarantine in effect, we found ourselves craving all sorts of food that we normally get at restaurants, especially Cantonese style crispy roast pork.
I found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest from a blog called What to Cook Today and made some adjustments to the marinade to suit our tastes, but the method, time and temperature is the same. Definitely check out their food blog, there's lots of great recipes there! I can't wait to try other flavor profiles for this crispy pork recipe! You can enjoy this crispy pork with a bed of lettuce wraps, with bao buns, with rice, in sandwiches or tortillas, the list goes on!
The key to getting that crackly crispy AF skin is to make sure to pat the skin super dryyyyy before you oven it. You can honestly marinate the meat part with whatever flavor you want. We went with sweet hoisin and peppery flavors. The rest is in a salt crust that further draws out moisture to help achieve the crispy skin.
Don't worry about the salt crust making your pork too salty—once it is done baking, the loose salt forms a hard crust that comes off easily and you just have to brush off any excess before returning it to the oven to finish the roasting process.
Then it's a low broil for about 20 minutes and the pork skin begins to crackle, snap and pop!
Out comes a beautifully crackled crispy roast pork. It makes my mouth water just looking at the photos of it again. So. freaking. good. I know, I know, you've been scrolling for a while, recipe is down below!
Just look at that deliciousness. Don't you wish you could pull it right off the screen to sink your teeth into?! Be sure not to cover the meat because the steam and heat will make the skin soft and no longer crispy, which will result in sadness.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! We had this with lettuce, an assortment of sauces like sweet thai chili, peanut sauce and hoisin sauce to dip, and a side of pickled cucumbers for a nice refreshing crunch. Until next time!
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤