Cooking the Channel: Chicken Chow Mein

By: Kirsten Vala

Join our cooking club! We're excited by the eclectic Cooking Channel show lineup and the great-looking recipes flooding our site, so we're working our way through the shows, one recipe at a time... Please cook and blog along—leave links to your blog posts and upload pictures to our Facebook page. Questions, problems, comments—we want to hear it all. And we want help picking the recipes—check out the programming guide to see what's airing next week and let us know if a recipe or show catches your eye.

First up -- Chicken Chow Mein

The Cooking Channel show I've been looking forward to most is Ching-He Huang's Chinese Food Made Easy. I'll admit, I've always been a fan of classic, Westernized Chinese takeout dishes, like Almond Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork, but fresh, homemade Chinese food always tastes amazing to me. In this episode, Ching makes takeout at home—the best of both worlds. If you missed this episode of Chinese Food Made Easy last weekend, tune in this week or just grab the recipe and jump in.

Chow Mein means "stir fried noodles"—a broad term that refers to different dishes, depending on where you are. Ching's version is full of veggies and makes a great one-dish dinner.

Ingredients: Of course I didn't plan ahead enough to get Ching's full Chinese Pantry together before the show aired, but I found everything I needed for this dish at Whole Foods, except the dark soy sauce. For that I had to swing by a Chinese market (check for an Asian market in your area here), but I think  it would have been fine without.

While I was at the Chinese market, I took a stroll down the noodle section. Okay, I went a little crazy with the noodle shopping—I wasn't sure which ones would work best, although Ching does say almost any type, preferably thin, is fine. In the end I bought 4 different kinds of noodles, but decided to use these thin, long, Chinese wheat noodles for this dish. They were so long that I had to wrangle them with kitchen scissors once cooked!

Directions: In the show, Ching mixes the chicken with the spices first, and let's the flavors sink in while she cooks the noodles—I went ahead and did that. Also, she may talk and chop and cook gracefully, but stir-frying is so fast-paced I recommend having everything prepped and ready to toss into the pan before you even start heating the oil. I had noodles and bean sprouts and chicken flying everywhere once I started cooking, the stir-fry overflowing my cast iron skillet ( no, I haven't found my perfect wok yet—but soon!).

It turned out great, and I'm looking forward to cooking more easy Chinese food! I'm going to start by using up the rest of my noodles.

What's your favorite Chinese dish to cook at home?  Any tips or secrets to share?
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