This dish is often served as a Chinese New Year recipe. Chinese fried noodles are commonly known as chow mein, chow mein noodles, chaomian (炒面）or nouilles chinoises, mines frit in Mauritius. There are many different kinds of chinese noodles out there in the market and it took me a long time to find the perfect noodles for making my favorite dish of fried noodles/chow mein! For chinese fried noodles, we traditionally use egg noodles but if you are going for a completely vegetarian dish, you should use wheat flour noodles. For beginners, DO NOT use the “white” noodles. They are usually used for soup. You can try using them when you feel your cooking skills are better.
Personally, I prefer using the fresh egg noodles, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere here in Beijing. So, I tried several times to use the dried noodles, but they always ended up mashed or soggy. The trick behind making perfect chow mein is to cook your noodles until 3/4 cooked, because the cabbage tends to release water which your noodles will absorb. Now, if your noodles are already cooked and absorb the water, they will tend to become too soft, creating soggy batches of noodles. Well, of course, this comes from my own experience of cooking and my Dad’s advice. For those in Beijing, you can buy the dried 鸡蛋面 anywhere in shops. Again, for a completely vegetarian dish, you can try wheat flour noodles like hotpot noodles (again look for the yellow ones, not the white ones).
We have this family tradition that for every birthday occasion, the birthday person has to eat noodles (chang shou mian长寿面） because it means “long-life”. So, the week-end before the birthday, my dad would start preparing by making his own noodles and making it as long as possible. We serve chow mien with a garlic sauce or as we call it in Mauritius “la sauce ail”, or a simple salad, and topping the chow mein with fried omelette strips. If you want a purely vegetarian chow mein, just omit the omelette strips. OK, enough talk, let’s get to the cooking of our vegetable fried noodles/ vegetable chow mein! For other Chinese New Year recipes, you might also enjoy Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs, Spring Rolls, Chinese Tea Eggs, Orange Chicken in a sauce, Chinese dumplings with chicken, Vegetarian potstickers.
(Complete list of Chinese New Year Recipes)
Mauritian-Chinese fried noodles, Chinese vegetable chow mein recipe (Chinese New Year Recipe)
200g egg noodles/wheat flour chinese noodles
handful of chinese leek/garlic chives/chinese chives, cut about finger-size
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/2 medium cabbage, shredded
handful of bean sprouts/ mung bean sprouts
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1. Bring water with salt to a boil in a pot. Add the noodles and using your chopsticks, untangle the noodles and cook until 3/4 cooked.
2. Drain under cold water and add the sesame oil to the noodles. Use your fingers or chopsticks to untangle the noodles. Keep.
3. Heat oil in a wok. Add in the chopped garlic, stir-fry until light brown.
4. Add the cabbage, carrot and a pinch of salt. Do a few quick stirs.
5. Add the bean sprouts and chives. Do a few quick stirs.
6. Add the noodles, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, pepper(optional) and using chopsticks, mix so that the noodles become coated/blended with the seasoning
mixture. Check for salt. Add if needed.
Note: For Garlic sauce, mix 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1 chopped red chilli, 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped and sugar to taste.