Prawn chow mein

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Textural heaven. The pancake of noodles goes deliciously squelchy in the middle, yet the perimeter stays crunchy.


  • 300 g dried egg noodles
  • 12 peeled ray tiger prawns
  • salt and white pepper
  • 1 free-range egg white
  • cornflour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp black, or rice, vinegar vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ small head Chinese leaves, cut into chunks
  • 4 spring onions, chopped into short lengths
  • handful of mangetout
  • handful of beansprouts


Soak the noodles in warm water for 15 minutes until they’re softened a little. Drain them through a sieve, spread out over a tea-towel to dry a little, then arrange over a plate in a big flat nest shape. Toss the prawns with a mixture of salt, pepper, the egg white and 1 tbsp cornflour, and leave on one side. Mix 2 tbsp cornflour with 1 tsp salt, the caster sugar and vinegar and 6 tbsp cold water in a jug. Put all this by the hob.

Heat a deep pool of oil in a wok, then slip the noodle ‘nest’ into the oil and fry for a few seconds, until it’s puffed up and crisped. Watch out for splatters. Lift it out, drain on kitchen roll, then tip out all but about 3 tbsp of the oil from the wok. Next, add the garlic and fry until it starts to take on a touch of colour, then add the prawns and stir-fry for about a minute, then tip in the sliced Chinese leaves, spring onions and mangetout, and stir-fry for another minute. Chuck in the beansprouts and toss through. Next, pour in the contents of the jug and bubble up, and mix through, cooking for a further minute. Put the crispy noodles on to a big plate, then spoon the contents of the wok over the top. Soy sauce and chopsticks at hand, and you’re off.