Thanks Mema for teaching me how to make this.
I can’t tell you how many years I have been making this; oh, I guess I can, and that would be since I’ve been married which is going on 47 years.
I started dating my husband in high school when I was 15 and the rest is history. He use to hang around our house and ate many a meal there and I would go to his house for dinner. One night his mom was making chicken chow mein which I had never heard of let alone tried. So this one night that I had dinner at his house, I remember like it was yesterday, he put the chow mien on my plate and told me I would really like it. My initial thought was it looked like a lot of little worms. Maybe so, but it was delicious.
My mother was a wonderful cook, nothing fancy, just good food made with love and she never made anything like Chicken Chow Mein so I learned to make it from his mom. A few things I changed over the years like adding some canned mushrooms and thickening the broth a little with a cornstarch slurry. But, when we have chow mein we have exactly what his mom served with it — rice (I am doing brown rice), top with some chow mein noodles (I really like the skinnier rice noodles) and ALWAYS soft butter with some rye bread. Don’t ask me why rye bread with chow mein but I would not serve any other kind of bread with my chow mein.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: This Mandarin Orange Napoleon that I first posted back in 2009 would be great with the chow mein.
I don’t use the Fancy Mixed Chinese Vegetables like my mother-in-law did. It’s cheaper to use the bean spouts and add your own extra stuff.
Boil the chicken, then remove and debone, skim off fat and anything that floats to the top.
Remove all but about 4 cups of the broth from the pan. Add your celery, onion, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms.
Drain and rinse the bean sprouts and add to pot and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add in the chicken and the soy sauce and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. I usually take 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix with same of water and add to the liquid to thicken a little.
There are two kinds of noodles we like — rice noodles on the left and chow mein noodles on the right.
Put some rice on your plate or in a bowl, sprinkle with noodles of choice and then ladle on some chow mein and sprinkle with more noodles.
I usually sprinkle with more soy sauce.
This is the bread we always eat with chow mein; don’t ask me why, it’s just always been rye bread with softened butter.
This says Bon Appetit in Chinese (not really, just playing with the noodles and I thought they looked like Chinese letters.)
- 1 whole chicken, cut up (you need about 1 1/2 lbs. cooked chicken)
- 2 cans bean sprouts, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 cans mushrooms, drained (or use 8 oz. fresh mushrooms) chopped chunky
- 1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
- 1 can sliced or chopped water chestnuts, drained, rinsed
- 1 1/2 c. chopped celery
- 1 - 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce (or Tamari
- salt and pepper to taste
- white or brown rice, cooked
- rice or chow mein noodles (optional)
- Put the cut up chicken into a large pot with about 6-8 cups of water. Cook until chicken is done. Remove the chicken, debone and put aside until ready to add back to the pot. You need about 1 1/2 lbs. of cooked meat.
- Remove all but about 4 cups of broth from the pot, skim any froth or fat off the top and discard.
- To the pot, add the chopped celery and onion, the mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Stir in the soy sauce (or Tamari) and salt and pepper to taste. Cook this about 30-40 minutes before adding in the chicken. Add chicken and continue to simmer about 30 minutes more.
- Mix the water and the cornstarch together and stir into the pot to thicken the liquid a little like a gravy.
- To serve, put rice in your bowl or plate and top with chow mein and then add some noodles.
- Serve with additional soy sauce and some good rye bread with butter.