The perfect quick meal, ideal for preparing in a flash after a busy day, beef chow mein is a beautiful Chinese dish that's stood the test of time.
Deliciously crispy noodles and melt-in-your-mouth tender flank steak are Chinese food at its best.
Why you'll love this beef chow mein recipe
- Chinese restaurant quality dish cooked in the comfort of your own kitchen
- One dead easy recipe to follow
- Extremely versatile – you can switch the ingredients to fit your taste or pantry
There are a few items you'll need to make this beef chow mein recipe:
- Large chopping knife – put those tiny paring knives aside! You need a large quality knife when it comes to chopping up vegetables in preparation for this beef chow mein recipe
- Wok – forget about using a poor quality frying pan. A good quality wok is by far the best way to cook beef chow mein
- Chopsticks – eat beef chow mein with noodles in an authentic way with chopsticks
How to make this beef chow mein recipe
Mix the cornstarch with the rice wine and sesame oil to form a marinade.
Cut the steak into strips and stir in the marinade. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, white pepper, and light and dark soy sauce in a bowl.
Your chow mein sauce is now ready.
Cook the noodles according to the manufacturer's instructions. Prepare fresh vegetables of your choice. I used spring onions, carrots, mangetout and bamboo shoots.
Brown the beef in a wok. Set aside.
Fry the garlic and ginger for no more than one minute.
Tip in the spring onions, mangetout, and carrots. Fry for a few minutes.
Add the noodles, bamboo shoots, and beef. Toss everything.
Drizzle over the sauce and toss until everything is covered in the sauce. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Make sure your wok is very hot before you start cooking. This is really important for getting that authentic stir-fry flavor.
What to serve with beef chow mein
Healthy steamed vegetables are the best side to serve with chow mein. Otherwise, a mixed vegetable stirfry also works.
Go for a crisp, unoaked Chardonnay or a dry Riesling.
Variations to this recipe
Spicy Chow Mein
Add chili flakes, chili oil, or sliced fresh chili peppers to the stir fry for a spicy kick.
Seafood Chow Mein
Shrimp or mixed seafood can replace beef for a different flavor profile.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle over the top before serving for extra crunch and flavor.
- Chopped Nuts: Peanuts or cashews can add a nice texture contrast.
Stir-Fry Sauce Variations
- Hoisin Sauce: Add a bit of hoisin sauce for a sweeter and more aromatic flavor.
- Black Bean Sauce: For a deeper, more savory flavor, mix in some black bean sauce.
- Chicken or Pork: Instead of beef, you can use chicken breast or pork cut into thin strips. Adjust cooking times as these meats cook faster than beef.
- Tofu or Tempeh: For a vegetarian or vegan version, firm tofu or tempeh can be a great substitute. Press the tofu to remove excess water and marinate as you would with the beef.
- Rice Noodles: For a gluten-free option, substitute egg noodles with rice noodles.
- Udon or Soba Noodles: These can provide a different texture and flavor.
Soy Sauce Alternatives
- Tamari: This is a great gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
- Coconut Aminos: For those avoiding soy, coconut aminos are a sweeter, less salty alternative.
Vegetable Oil Alternatives
Canola or Peanut Oil: These are good for high-heat cooking and have a neutral flavor.
Bell Peppers, Broccoli, or Cabbage: You can add or substitute these vegetables based on preference or availability. You can also use green onions, bean sprouts or bok choy.
What is chow mein?
A good beef chow mein combines classic flavors from Chinese cuisine, such as garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, and fresh vegetables. In essence, beef chow mein is a type of stir-fry.
In fact, "chow mein" in Chinese translates into "stir-fried" and "noodles," respectively. This beef chow mein is similar to a Chinese mixed vegetable stir-fry, only with noodles.
Today, you can practically find chow mein on the menu of just about every Chinese restaurant. Like any good stir-fry, the vegetables should maintain some freshness and have a crunchy bite.
A good beef chow mein showcases the best of classic Chinese cuisine – bold flavors and fresh ingredients. Honestly, I could eat this dish every day!
What are the best noodles for chow mein?
Use authentic chow mein noodles for this recipe. Use ramen noodles or lo mein noodles if you can't get them.
How do you store beef chow mein?
Cool Down: Allow the chow mein to cool to room temperature before storing. Do not leave it out for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
Refrigerate: Place the cooled chow mein in an airtight container. Refrigerate it within the 2-hour window after cooking.
Refrigeration Duration: Stored in the refrigerator, the chow mein will be good for 3 to 4 days.
Can you freeze beef chow mein?
Freeze: If you need to store the chow mein longer, you can freeze it. Again, please ensure it's in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag.
Label and Date: It's helpful to label the container with the date so you can track how long it's been stored.
Freezer Duration: Chow mein can last up to 2 months in the freezer. Beyond this period, it's still safe to eat, but the quality may decline.
How do you reheat beef chow mein?
Refrigerated Chow Mein: When reheating, ensure the chow mein is heated thoroughly until it steals hot. This can be done in a microwave or on the stovetop. You should consider stirring midway through heating to ensure even warmth if using a microwave.
Frozen Chow Mein: Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. If you're in a hurry, use the microwave's defrost setting, but ensure you heat it thoroughly afterward.
Food Safety Tips
- Always check for any signs of spoilage, like a sour smell or mold, before consuming leftover chow mein.
- Avoid refreezing previously frozen chow mein, as this can affect the texture and flavor and be a safety risk.
More amazing Chinese dishes
Are you a fan of Chinese food? If you love this beef chow mein recipe, you'll love these classic Chinese recipes too!
- Tofu in black bean sauce – authentic, healthy and full of flavour
- Crispy chilli beef – this Chinese takeaway favourite is melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and very easy to make at home
- Salt and pepper spring rolls - easy to prepare and makes a great starter
- Yuk sung – wonderfully tasty and healthy finger food, yuk sung is a Chinese salad wrap with a spicy beef filling
- Sweet chilli chicken – a quick tasty dish that's fully of fantastic flavors
- Honey chilli chicken – a great alternative to a normal stir fry, honey chilli chicken is perfect for a midweek meal