Ham Chow-Mein

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Preparation info

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Appears in

Homestyle Chinese Cooking

Homestyle Chinese Cooking

By Yan-Kit So

Published 1997

  • About

Chow-mein (stir-fried noodles) has become a household name in the West ever since the Chinese emigrants in San Francisco spread the word in the last century. To achieve the best effect, however, one does not stir-fry the noodles but fry them, creating a toasted surface on both sides and a tender soft inside.


  • 6 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 scallions, cut diagonally into thin slices, white and green parts separated
  • 3-4 celery ribs, cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 4 ounces ham, cut into thin rectangles


  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon thick soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup water


  • Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 4 minutes, or until al dente, separating the noodles with a pair of chopsticks or a fork. Pour into a colander and refresh under cold running water. Drain for 1-2 hours.
  • Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Heat the wok over a high heat until smoke rises. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, swirl it around, and wait until smoke rises. Add the noodles, and spread them out so that the surface will be about 8 inches across. Brown the bottom over a medium-high to high heat for 3-4 minutes, peeping to check if they become too brown after the first 2 minutes. Loosen the edges all around, flip the “noodle cake” over, and brown the other side as before, adding 1 tablespoon of the oil around the side of the wok. Transfer to a warm serving dish.
  • Add the remaining oil to the wok and swirl it around. Add the white scallions and stir a few times. Add the celery and stir for 30-60 seconds. Add the ham and stir until hot. Push the ingredients to the sides of the wok, lower the heat to medium, and pour the well-stirred sauce into the center. As the sauce thickens, stir in the surrounding ingredients, add the green scallions, then spoon the mixture and sauce over the noodles. Serve immediately.

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