Last Updated on 21st September 2022 by Pauline Loughlin
There’s a lot to love about this traditional dish. It’s really simple, and you can put it together quickly.
What is lo mein? It’s a classic Asian dish made with long noodles. If you try to look for lo mein noodles in the grocery, you won’t find them. That’s the name of the dish rather than the name of the noodles, which is a common misconception.
I ran into the same problem the first time I was looking for lo mein noodles in the grocery, so I thought I would share that bit of information with you.
Instead, you’re looking for egg noodles, chow main, or pansit noodles. Yaki soba noodles work as well, which are usually stored in the refrigerator frozen section.
Any kind of pasta will work if it’s somewhat thin and has what’s known as a little tooth to it. That means it has a little bite to it when cooked, so it’s not overly mushy and it offers a little resistance when bitten into.
You can even use noodles that aren’t traditionally Japanese or Chinese noodles. So, fettuccine or spaghetti will work pretty well, as long as they’ve been cooked al dente and are thoroughly rinsed in cold water. You also want to drain them as well through a colander.
What Is the Difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein?
These two types of dishes get mixed up a lot, and sometimes they’re used in the wrong way or classified improperly. The main difference between lo mein and chow mein, traditionally speaking, is that chow mein is usually fried and crispy and then will be smothered in some kind of a sauce.
Lo mein, on the other hand, is much softer and is usually served with a little gravy.
These two dishes get mixed up because they’ve changed so much since they came over to the western world. Regional differences evolve and make them very different dishes depending on where you’re getting them from.
How to Make Lo Mein
Let me share this recipe with you for how to make lo mein noodles.
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 3 cups of fresh lo mein noodles
- 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 1/4 cup of chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 1/4 pound of baby bok choy
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sliced ginger
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 3 scallions, sliced small
- Start by making the sauce, which you put together by combining oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl together.
- Heat your cooking oil in a large skillet or wok on high heat. Once white smoke starts to rise from the oil, you can add in the garlic until it becomes brown and releases a fragrant smell. That should only take a few seconds.
- Add in your noodles as well as the bok choy and continue cooking and stir frequently. In about a minute, the bok choy should soften and turn a bright green color.
- At that point, you can stir in your sauce from the bowl where you mixed it. Mix it around in the wok or skillet and combine with the rest of your ingredients and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Once the sauce has begun to bubble and turn into a glaze, you can add your scallions on top of the Lo mein and serve.
And there you have it, real quick and easy and great when served with some oven cooked spring rolls.
How to Make Chicken Lo Mein
This is simply lo mein noodles with chicken added. Usually, you’ll use boneless, skinless chicken pieces, and they can be either white or dark meat. You can cook these with the rest of the food, but just make sure that they cook all the way through.
You can add the chicken near the start of the recipe, just after the garlic has cooked.
How to Make Shrimp Lo Mein
You could make this with shrimp as well, which is a very common lo mein dish. Shrimp doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as chicken, so you want to add it at the same time you add your cooked noodles.
Shrimp can cook on high heat in a skillet in about four minutes. Make sure the shrimp is well coated with your lo mein sauce before you serve it.
How to Make Lo Mein Sauce
You can buy little lo mein sauce in the grocery already premade, or you can make it yourself at home. Just mix together chicken stock, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.
I provided the recipe for the sauce for you above in the lo mein recipe, but if you just want to make the sauce, you can do that in a skillet, warming your ingredients together.
Keep in mind that the sesame oil is the base for the sauce, so if you’re missing that ingredient or trying to substitute it with something else, it probably won’t taste right.
How to Cook Lo Mein Noodles
Lo mein noodles should be cooked al dente. That means they will be soft with little resistance, but enough small resistance to give them a little bite.
They shouldn’t be completely mushy. To cook these, you’ll need to warm a pot of water on the stove at high heat. You want enough water to cover the noodles completely.
After the water started boiling, you can add your noodles and cook them for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the noodles have reached al dente. If you’re not sure if they’re quite there yet, you can scoop out a noodle and cut off the end of it and then take a bite to see how done it is.
How Many Calories in Lo Mein
If you’re trying to watch your weight and count calories, you want to know how many calories a cup of lo mein contains. Of course, the calorie count will vary based on what’s in the lo mein, like what you use to make the sauce, or if you’ve added any meat to it.
The typical cup of lo mein noodles, however, should have about 310 calories in it.