Chow Mein


Chow mein literally means ‘stir-fried noodles’. It is a dish of universal popularity based upon its characteristic savoury combination of textures, tastes and colours whether made with meat or, as in this case, with vegetables. Chow mein can be kept warm for at least an hour without losing any of its charm; I enjoy it cold. Serve as an economical family meal or at a buffet party.


  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh or dried egg noodles
  • 50 g (2 oz) celery
  • 50 g (2 oz) tinned bamboo shoots
  • 2 tablespoons oil, preferably groundnut
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 175 g (6 oz) small button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 100 g (4 oz) bean sprouts


If you are using fresh noodles, blanch them first in a large pan of boiling water for 3–5 minutes. If you are using the dried noodles, cook in boiling water for 4–5 minutes. Drain the noodles, then put into cold water until required.

String the celery and slice diagonally. Shred the bamboo shoots.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil. When moderately hot, add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the onion, mushrooms, celery and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles thoroughly and put into the wok. Continue to stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the rest of the ingredients, except the bean sprouts. Continue to stir-fry for another 2 minutes, then stir in the bean sprouts. Give the mixture a good stir and turn it onto a serving platter. Garnish with the fresh coriander sprigs.


  • fresh coriander sprigs