Cooking the Channel: Chicken Chow Mein
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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.