This recipe for chow mein is simple enough to make during the week. Some folks call this chop suey. I make this dish at least once a month. I love it with jasmine rice, but white rice works too. I like everything about jasmine rice. The smell while it is cooking reminds me of popcorn. The taste is a little nuttier to me than white rice.
I generally have both kinds of rice in the pantry, but to me jasmine just pairs better with Asian cuisine. Unless of course, it’s Cheater Fried Rice, then it’s whatever kind of rice the manufacturer sticks in the bag.
Chow Mein is fairly versatile too. You can substitute or add just about any vegetable or protein. This is just a base recipe and I would encourage you to add your own spin to this. Any recipe of mine is usually just a good starting point. They tend to be a representation of how I like whatever recipe I have featured. Like a famous chef once said, “There are no food police.” It’s your kitchen, it’s your choice.
This is also good with those really bad for you, highly processed chow mein noodles you can buy in bags or cans. You can even fry up some rice noodles yourself. You know, the ones that puff up to like 100 times their original size the second they hit the hot oil. I use those mostly for garnish though since I always seem to have a few areas that miss the oil and are like eating gravel.
Edit: We now cut won ton or egg roll wrappers into short thin strips and fry those up until they are brown and crunchy – no more canned anything for us and no more gravel pieces in our Asian inspired foods.
Place chicken in a small bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix together and allow to sit for 15 minutes, or longer.
In a large skillet, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan. Heat over high heat until very hot. Add chicken and cook just until you see no pink. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, add another coating of oil if needed. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, garlic, and onions. Sauté garlic and onions for 1 minute.
Add water chestnuts, 2 tablespoons molasses. 2 more tablespoons soy sauce, and chicken broth, undiluted and reduce heat to medium.
Place a large sauce pot on the stove. Pour everything from skillet into sauce pot. Set heat to medium.
Add celery and cabbage. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until cabbage has slightly wilted. Reduce heat to medium low. Add ¼ cup molasses.
Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. Taste, add more soy sauce or molasses to adjust to your tastes.
In a separate container, add cornstarch to ¼ cup of water. Set aside.
Add bean sprouts and reserved chicken, with any liquid that has accumulated to chow mein.
Bring chow mein to a boil, add cornstarch mixture to chow mein. Stir constantly until chow mein becomes thick. Immediately turn off heat.
Serve hot over jasmine rice or crispy chow mein noodles.
Other Asian inspired dishes: