Cook the noodles for 3 minutes in a pan of boiling water until al dente, or as per the package instructions. Drain, then run them under cold running water, and drain again. Drizzle with a few splashes of sesame oil, and toss through to prevent them from sticking.
Season the chicken with a splash of dark soy sauce, the five-spice powder, and chile sauce, if using. Mix well. Coat the chicken breasts lightly with the cornstarch.
Heat a wok over a high heat, add the groundnut or peanut oil, and heat until smoking. Then, add the chicken, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked through.
Add the red bell pepper, and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the bean sprouts and green onion and stir-fry for less than 1 minute. Add the cooked noodles, and season with the light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and black pepper, to taste. Stir well and serve immediately.
NotesThis is a classic takeaway dish and a classic Chinese snack - Chow mein in Mandarin Chinese is pronounced 'Chao meean and it means 'stir-noodle', i.e. stir-fried noodle.
I love this simple dish with plenty of fresh crunchy vegetables and the usual Chinese condiments of light soy sauce and toasted sesame oil - but the trick to getting a good-quality chow mein is in the quality of the noodle used. I use shi wheat flour noodles - 'shi' means 'thin' and whether yellow shi or white - they are easy to cook, 3 minutes in boiling water. Then all the ingredients go into a wok - couldn't be easier or healthier!