I love chinese food. I really love good, authentic chinese food, but there’s also a special place in my heart for crappy takeout. And sometimes, you just crave greasy lo mein. If you make it at home, it’s a lot less unhealthy, and you can add in whatever fresh veggies your foodie heart desires.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying, with a woeful lack of success, to replicate the flavor of take-out lo mein at home. At last I have succeeded. Let me know what you think!
Mushroom and Scallion Lo Mein (adapted from “Shiitake and Scallion Lo Mein,” found in the October 2009 issue of Food and Wine Magazine)
1 bundle round udon noodles (about 2 servings)
4 oz baby portabello mushrooms, with stems removed, and sliced
1 head of baby bok choy, or other cabbage if you wish, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into strips. (you may substitute a leafy green if you prefer, such as chard, but note: if you use chard, you must add it earlier in the cooking process, since it requires more cooking time than the bok choy).
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced or shaved into thin strips
1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz tofu, sliced into strips
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/8 c (eyeball it) soy sauce
1/8 c (eyeball this too) apple cider vinegar. (the recipe calls for mirin, but i didn’t have any, and the vinegar worked just fine).
1 tbsp water
2 scallions, greens sliced into 1-inch lengths, and whites sliced thin.
1. cook the noodles according to the package instructions. make sure you don’t overcook them. drain and rinse under cool water.
2. white the noodles are cooking, heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan or wok if you’ve got one, over medium high heat. add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook 2 minutes, until the onions soften.
3. add the carrots and tofu and saute about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots soften and the tofu gets a golden brown.
4. add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, bok choy, and 1 tbsp water. the heat should be high enough that the water sizzles when you add it. saute 2-3 minutes, until the bok choy wilts and the mushrooms look done.
3. in the meantime, in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.
4. add the cooked noodles to the vegetables, and pour the soy sauce mixture over top. toss to coat with sauce and saute 1-2 more minutes.
5. if you like, push all the ingredients to the side of the pan, and crack and egg into the empty space. let it set, then stir to scramble. mix with the other ingredients.