Chicken and Vegetable Chow Mein & Crafts for Chinese New Year

Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Blog, Chicken, Chinese Cuisine Favorites, Crafts, Family Favorites, Pasta & Noodles, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 4 comments

Chow Mein - 4

It seems that on a sunny, crisp day like today, I might feel better off spending some time outdoors, but yesterday’s three-mile walk has once again left my knee in a slightly uncomfortable state, and I’m slightly more comfortable relaxing quietly indoors. Fortunately, my laptop is now fully functional and I’m happy to report that Mac and I are friends again since I am finally able to access some of the photos that were seemingly lost on a deserted island.

I suppose you could say I’m finally motivated to play a little catch-up on my blog.

Last month, we celebrated Chinese New Year on February 10, 2013. This holiday is always a moving target and I’m proud to share that over the past three years, I’ve gotten better and better at remembering to Google this holiday in January to find out when it is. Now I’m really on top of things because I can proudly announce that in 2014, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 31st and I’ve already marked my calendar.

This year, on Chinese New Year I made a chicken and vegetable chow mein recipe that I learned from my friend C many, many years ago (her recipe is below). My Mom used to make chow mein for us growing up, and while I enjoyed it, I actually prefer my friend C’s recipe much better, and not surprisingly my Mom has said that she likes this recipe better too.

Sometimes it’s OK to let go of old traditions and start new ones.

Year of The Snake

Despite the fact that I enjoy this chow mein quite a bit, I only make this maybe once or twice a year, but I think I’ve gotten a lot faster at making this dish than when I first made it almost a decade ago. It requires a number of ingredients, but half of the ingredients are canned Chinese vegetables, and the half are fresh veggies, then there are the noodles which need to be boiled and then pan-fried but I found some great noodles that only require a 2-minute hot water bath prior to frying them. Don’t let the ingredient list deter you from trying the recipe. It’s a great homemade dish that you’ll probably find has less sodium than what you’ll get from take-out chow mein at a Chinese restaurant.

As for our Chinese New Year’s crafts this year, with the help of Pinterest and a new mommy friend from preschool, Bebe E and I created a number of wonderful crafts.

Lucky Kumquat Tree

I love how my little one wanted to put happy faces on the kumquats. I noticed afterwards that she also made a few sad faces. That’s just life, I suppose – some days good, some days not so good.

Lucky Kumquat Tree

Lucky Goldfish

From the perspective of a 3-year old, goldfish have two arms, two legs, and a little nose. When I asked Bebe E about the little green circles, she told me those were the fishy’s scales.

Lucky Goldfish

Paper Chain Snake in Grass

Lucky for us we still had paper rings from the time that Auntie S babysat Bebe E, because we found a great use for them!

New Year Snake

Hand Print Art Snake

My daughter is very creative. She gave her snake blue flowing hair. Beautiful. Not surprisingly she chose red and pink for the body of her snake. I’ve always known that Bebe E has long fingers, like myself and my paternal grandmother, but it was surprising to see on paper, just how long her fingerprints actually are.

Handprint Snake

Red Lantern with Happiness Character

Ok, if you read Chinese characters or kanji, the symbol might mean something along the lines of happiness. In Japanese, happiness is called, “koufuku” but I failed to write the first kanji character “kou” so what you see pictured below is “fuku”, or the latter part of the happiness. Does this mean the lantern is only half-happy?

Lanters

Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh egg noodles (16 oz)
  • ½ cup snow peas (1 handful), deveined
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • ½ pound bean spouts (12 oz)
  • ½ pound baby bok choy (6-7 bok choy)
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh beech mushrooms
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 3 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ pound chicken tenders, sliced on diagonal
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
  • ½ 14-ounce can baby corn, cut
  • ½ 14-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1½ cups hot water for soaking dried shiitake
  • Canola oil for frying noodles
  • MARINADE FOR CHICKEN:
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • THICKENING SAUCE:
  • 1 cup reserved shiitake soaking liquid
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • GARNISH (OPTIONAL):
  • 1 egg, mixed, then pan fried into thin egg omelette sheets. Cut into thin strips.
  • 2-3 stalks green onion, sliced diagonally
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add hot water and dried shiitake mushrooms to reconstitute. Slice mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid.
  2. Mix chicken marinade ingredients in medium bowl. Slice chicken and marinade for about 15 minutes in refrigerator.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix thickening sauce ingredients and set aside.
  4. Cook fresh noodles in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes until al dente, rinse in cold water and cool.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F.
  6. In a large frying pan, heat canola oil, and spread layer of noodles on pan, cooking until desired crispness. I cook noodles in medium-sized batches and flip the noodles over once, to make sure both sides are crispy. Keep the noodles warm in the oven at 250 degrees.
  7. In a wok or large pot, heat canola oil, cook chicken until tender, remove and set aside on plate.
  8. Add additional canola oil to pan if necessary, cook onions, celery, snow peas and mushrooms until just tender. Add bean sprouts and canned water chestnuts, baby corn and bamboo shoots along with sliced green onions.
  9. On hight heat, pour thickening sauce over cooked ingredients, stir occasionally until done, about 3 minutes until sauce forms.
  10. Place warm pan fried noodles on platter, pour vegetables and meat sauce over noodles and garnish with raw sliced green onions and thinly sliced egg omelette (optional).

We invited my BFF over for dinner on Chinese New Year and she asked about the type of egg noodles I use for the chow mein. This is what the fresh egg noodles look like. These can be found in the refrigerated section of the Asian supermarket.

Chow Mein - 3

May your Year of the Snake be filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

4 Comments

  1. avatar

    Hi Judy!
    I’m slowly making my way back out of my work/hell cave I’ve been trapped in for the last six weeks. I’m glad your Mac problems are resolved and you are getting into the groove again.
    Lovely post! I vaguely remember when the Chinese New Year’s was– I was in the middle of craziness, but we got an extra day from the printer because they were closed that day. :)
    Bebe E is sooo artistic!! She has an artistic bent, for sure! Her color sense is great, and she seems to really enjoy it. Can’t believe how big she is now!
    I love all the crafts you did together. So creative and fun. Wonderful!
    And the Chow Mein sounds amazing….
    How your knee feels better soon!

    • avatar

      Hi Melissa, I know you’ve been busy and I’m glad to hear the light at the end of the tunnel is near! I’m looking forward to visiting your blog soon! :)

  2. avatar

    Aloha!

    Mmm….chow mein looks yummy & all the crafts bebe E made look AWESOME!! Good job bebe E!!
    Interesting this dish looks like the chow mein that is sold at my dad’s church in Long Beach. I’m not sure if they still have their chow mein dinner fundraiser still, but we had a spring & fall chow mein dinner fundraiser at the church and it looks exactly like this chow mein you made!! The chow mein at the church was very yummy!!

    • avatar

      Aloha, friend! Thanks we had a lot of fun with the crafts. Does your mom have the chow mein recipe from church? I have another version of chow mein which is completely different from this one. I need to find and try it… it’s been years.

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