Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Take Away v. Home Made: Chicken Chow Mein

It's our favourite dish when we order Chinese. Chinese take away, is not in our budget too often. Thus rises the dilemma.

I set about Googling, Pinteresting and asking about how I can make the awesome chicken and sauce that mimics our Chinese shop.

Most of the recipes on the internet, called to stir-fry the chicken. This is not how the Chow Mein I prefer is cooked. It's softer, more tender, and it's white, not browned, like in a stir-fry.

I found a sauce recipe that boasted that it was thick, so I stored it away, and kept searching for the method to cook the chicken. Some recipes said to poach it, so I tried that, but it was a bit too rubbery. Some recipes said to steam it, but it was a bit too dry and tasteless.

Then I found a thing called velveting. This method is a big winner. So, using a few different recipes, I've finally made something that I'm proud to call Chicken Chow Mein.

What also makes my Chicken Chow Mein better than the one in the take away shops, is that I use these new to Australian supermarket noodles.

I read about them a couple of years ago. Magic, low calorie, low GI, extremely low carb, gluten free, no fat noodles, made from the soluble fibre of the konjac root. These are like the magic filler or a meal. Brought here, by Cheng's  a well known and trusted brand, I was keen to give them a go. What's better, is this week they are on special in Coles, for 2 packs for $3.

Now, I italicised the above text, so it draws your attention to it. These noodles are great. If you're on a weight loss journey, and are sick of feeling a bit empty, give the noodles a go. They can be used in soup, as pasta, in stir-fries and in spring rolls.

So, without further ado... Here is the perfect Chicken Chow Mein recipe.

Chicken Chow Mein- My style.

Feeds 4-6


Velvet Chicken

1kg boneless chicken thighs (or breasts)
2 egg whites
4 Tbls corn flour
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper

The Vegetables
3 stalks of celery, cut into sticks
1 handful of snow peas, top and tailed
1/2 large red capsicum
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
bean sprouts
shallots, sliced on the diagonal

The Sauce

11/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbls soy sauce
1 Tbls fish sauce
1 Tbls oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbls corn flour
2 Tbls water

2 packets of Cheng's Low-Cal Wok Ready Noodles- rinsed


1) Slice your chicken thighs or breasts, against the grain. So, if you look down on your meat, you'll see a long side, and a short side. You want to cut, so that you're cutting short strips, not long strips... Does that make sense? If not, let me know.
2) In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they just start to get frothy
3) Add the corn flour, salt and pepper and stir.
4) Add the chicken strips and coat well.
5) Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
6) Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
7) Add your chicken, a little at a time, and stir well, separating the strips. When all the chicken is in, stir and wait for it to boil again.
8) When it's foaming up, and the chicken is white, remove from the water, using a slotted spoon. Place on a platter and cover. If you're not using it straight away, put it in the fridge. This can be done a few hours in advance.
9) Get your sauce ready! Add stock, all sauces and sugar into a jug, and stir to dissolve sugar.
10) In a small bowl, dissolve corn flour in the water.
11) Stir-fry all vegetables, except the bean sprouts and shallots (they'll be used as garnish). I prefer my veggies crunchy, so it only takes a couple of minutes.
12) Add the chicken. When that's heated through, add the stock based sauce, and bring to the boil. It wont take long.
13) Add the corn flour, and stir like a crazy person. It might be handy to have a little more stock on hand, in case it's too thick, although, mine was perfect.
14) Add in noodles and gently stir through

15) Serve in a bowl, with sprouts and shallots to garnish.

 Yes, I realise the photo is a bit crap- but the food was delicious!

So.. Take Away v. Home Made?

Cost: TA: $11.90 for two serves
          HM: $14 for 4 serves
Time: I was pretty impressed how quick it was put together. Probably quicker than getting in the car, ordering and waiting for it to be cooked. So HM wins.
Dietary Needs:  Lots of vegetables, and with the noodles instead of rice, WAY less carbs! Win for HM
Convenience: I have the ingredients in my cupboard/fridge/freezer most of the time, so that's also pretty great.

So it's a WIN for Home Made!
Let me know if you try it, if you changed anything and what you thought!!!


  1. Great recipe!. Indeed I tried this recipe and this is the most great dishes I have ever made. Easy to make and just incredible, I'll admit that I can't cook it perfect but it is delicious. I wish you would post also a stir fry sauce recipe. Thank you for posting!.

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