As a Chef, I really enjoy tinkering with restaurant foods at home. During life in the time of Covid-19, I experimented with this Lo Mein recipe over and over, and also studied some take-out a couple of times. This has become one of my very favorite meals and my family agrees. It has worked its way into a fairly constant rotation, and I'm not sad about it!
What's the difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein?
Let's start at the top so we can knock the confusion out from the get-go. The most basic difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein is that Chow Mein is fried noodles and Lo Mein is sauced noodles.
Both include noodles that have been boiled, but Chow Mein has its noodles cooked in a hot, oiled, wok, then gets a sauce on them. Lo Mein is cooked noodles added to vegetables and/or meat that have been cooked in a sauce and then simply tossed in it.
How do I make Lo Mein at Home?
The first step in making a restaurant-quality Lo Mein at home is finding just the right noodle. This was a search that was a little harder than I expected it to be. Finding a simple Asian style egg noodle took me a minute, but I found one I love, and it was as good, probably better (as my family says), than the restaurant dish we usually order.
If you have a hard time getting your hands on these noodles, you can always swap them for spaghetti noodles in a pinch.
Next assemble all the basic veggies, or your favorites to eat with you Asian food. The joy of cooking at home is that you can customize your dinner to your liking. This would be good with snap peas, or broccoli added, or even green onions swapped out for cilantro.
I have even added peanuts a time or two for a pad thai sort of twist too. But I ALWAYS include bean sprouts, every TIME!!
Wok it up!
As far as the cooking process goes it is pretty quick and easy. In a wok or large skillet, first cook the chicken, then take it out. Next start by cooking the veg that will take the longest to cook. From here we will layer in ingredients to build flavor in the pan until the dish is done.
Cooking the aromatics like ginger and garlic at this early stage will also help to permeate the entire dish with its flavor. Plus it makes the whole house smell amazing! Next, add in the remaining vegetables and the sauce, cook until everything is tender, then add the chicken back to the pan.
This is the time to make this YOUR Lo Mein. If you like it extra saucy, add more sauce now. If you want more veggies, add them in. Finish it all off with the noodles, work them in and get them all saucy, and get the veggies and chicken evenly dispersed.
And that is it! This dinner really comes together in just about 5 minutes after you prep your veggies and chicken. Getting everything ready before you start is really important with this dish because of its quick cooking time.
I serve it over more bean sprouts and with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top!