Chinese Recipes

Chicken Chow Mein

Recipe for Chicken Chow Mein

Almost certainly the most popular Chinese dish consumed in the country’s diaspora, chow mein (chāu-mèing) is, very simply, stir fried noodles. Of all the many varieties of chow mein, chicken chow mein is the most ubiquitous – at least in Britain. In my family if we have Chinese takeaway chicken chow mein is always lurking.

For me, trips made to my local takeaway – though few and far between – are almost always accompanied by a hefty dose of inspiration. My recipe for Chinese Crispy Beef is testament to that. And this chicken chow mein is no different; I ate and was compelled to replicate.

My compulsion to replicate was particularly strong here; many recipes for chāu-mèing seem far too complicated, with vegetables and other non-essentials thrown in without thought. Chinese cuisine is, at heart, a simple one. Few ingredients, rustic flavours; divine.

How to Make Chicken Chow Mein

As you can see, this recipe uses leftover roast chicken; chicken breast simply doesn’t do the job. Pieces of succulent brown meat combined with strips of roasted breast provides by far the best flavour.

If you must cook with fresh chicken increase the marinating time and try using chicken thigh. The brown meat of a chicken is superior in flavour and texture to breast and it’s important that the taste of the meat breaks free of the soy sauce.

The result of the recipe below is a sort-of gourmet version of the takeaway classic. Not left swimming in a watery soy sauce concoction, the noodles remain perfectly cooked with a slightly firm texture. And as a result of keeping things simple every flavour is individually recognisable and enjoyable.

For another takeaway classic, check out my recipes for Egg Fried Rice and Vegetable Spring Rolls…

Chicken Chow Mein

Serves 3-4


  • 200g egg noodles
  • 100g leftover chicken, in strips
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 300g beansprouts
  • 3 spring onions, roughly sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar


  1. Create a marinade by mixing together 2 tbsp of soy sauce with half of the lime juice. Add the chicken and coat thoroughly.
  2. Cook the egg noodles according to the packet instructions (unless using fresh). Rinse through with cold water once prepared and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok until smoking hot. throw in the ginger, garlic, bean sprouts and spring onions. Stir fry for 2 minutes and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in the wok, again until smoking, before adding the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes before tossing in the prepared noodles.
  5. Add the remaining soy sauce, lime, salt and brown sugar, followed by the prepared vegetables.
  6. Stir fry until piping hot throughout and thoroughly mixed. Serve immediately with a further drizzle of sesame oil and a little finely sliced spring onion.

Homemade Chicken Chow Mein Recipe Takeaway Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Cost: Roasting your own chicken and using the meat is the cheapest way of preparing what is otherwise quite an expensive product. Use it carefully – and boil the bones for stock – and what you have is enough meat for the week for around £5 (free range).

100g of chicken may not sound much, but over the course of 4 meals it stretched surprisingly far and we never felt as though the chow mein was lacking anything at all. Not bad for £2.40 all in.

36 replies on “Chicken Chow Mein”

‘Geography v popular recipes’ forms an interesting topic for discussion: ‘chow mein’ as a named dish seems to be predominantly popular in the United States and Great Britain. Tho’ I daresay served in other parts of the Chinese world diaspora, the term is hardly used in Australia these days altho’ most of us eat a variety of S Asian/SE Asian food, fusion or otherwise, most of the week. Interesting to research 🙂 !

[…] Indeed, it would seem that Singapore fried rice is something of a misnomer; it has nothing to do with the city state. Still, things could be worse and far be it from me to go about changing the name of a delicious takeaway meal. It’ll sit beautifully beside your chicken chow mein. […]

This recipe looked so great I just had to try it! When I did it tasted awesome but my sauce just wasn’t as dark as yours even though I used a dark soy sauce. I was wondering if you could tell me what brand of dark soy sauce you used?

I’ve marinated my chicken and I have to say it looks nothing like yours AND to make matters worse I forgot to buy ginger and this is my partner’s favorite takeaway dish so if I mess this up it’s back to take away haha

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