Lo Mein in Minutes
Vegetarian or carnivore, everyone loves lo mein. Making it doesn't take a lot of skill, but prepping the ingredients takes time. That's where your sous chefs – ahem, kids – come in. Lo mein needs two cups or so of chopped fresh vegetables, a task a child or teen can do, as the vegetables don't have to have the same shape, just approximately the same size. It's also a task that builds good eating habits because when children have a hand in making a dish, they have more incentive to eat it.
Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 12 ounces lo mein (wheat flour plus eggs) noodles, al dente
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, stock, sesame oil and cornstarch in a small jar and shake vigorously. You can also whisk them together. Set the sauce aside.
- Heat half the vegetable oil to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the mushrooms, peas and onions to the pan and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Mix the sauce again and add it to the pan.
- Cook the lo mein until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Toss with scallions and serve hot.
Lo mein simply means stirred noodles; everything else is extra. You can substitute or add just about any vegetable you prefer in this recipe as long as they cook quickly. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and fibrous veggies like kale and bean sprouts, for example, work well.
For chicken or beef lo mein, saute sliced boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) or sliced flank steak, and set aside before you saute the vegetables. Mix them back in when you add the sauce.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.