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Beef Chow Mein

  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Diet: Low Lactose


If you want to learn how to make the best beef chow mein, you've come to the right place. This classic Chinese stir-fry calls for beef and noodles. Enjoy!


Units Scale

Beef Marinade

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb rump steak, cut into thin strips

Stir Fry

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 5oz mangetout, washed, topped, and tailed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 9oz dried egg noodles, cooked
  • 1/2 lb beansprouts
  • 8 spring onions, peeled and chopped

Chow Mein Sauce

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce or all-purpose soy sauce
  • 3 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • Pinch of white pepper

Sauce Thickener

  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp water


  1. Marinate the Beef: Mix 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp rice wine, and 1 tsp sesame oil in a bowl. Add the beef strips, ensuring they are well coated. Marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Prepare the Chow Mein Sauce: In a separate bowl, combine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, white sugar, and a pinch of white pepper. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Sauce Thickener: Mix 3 tsp cornflour with 6 tbsp water in a small bowl until smooth. This will be used to thicken the sauce later.
  4. Cook the Beef: Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large wok until hot. Brown the marinated beef quickly, then set aside.
  5. Stir Fry Garlic and Ginger: Add the garlic and ginger to the wok. Fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Add Vegetables: Add the carrots and mangetout to the wok. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
  7. Combine Ingredients: Return the beef to the wok with the cooked noodles and beansprouts. Pour the prepared Chow Mein Sauce over everything.
  8. Thicken the Sauce: Add the Sauce Thickener to the wok. Mix well.
  9. Final Cooking: Stir everything in the wok vigorously, ensuring all ingredients are well coated with the sauce and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.
  10. Serve: Serve the chow mein hot, garnished with chopped spring onions.


  • Wok Heat: Ensure your wok is very hot before you start cooking. This is crucial for getting that authentic stir-fry flavor and prevents the ingredients from stewing in their juices.
  • Cooking in Batches: If your wok isn't large enough to comfortably fit all the ingredients without overcrowding, consider cooking in batches. This helps to ensure that everything cooks evenly and gets nicely browned.
  • Slicing the Beef: Slice the beef against the grain. This breaks up the muscle fibers and makes the beef more tender.
  • Marinating Time: While a minimum of 2 hours for marinating is recommended, longer marinating (like overnight) will enhance the flavors more deeply.
  • Stirring Technique: Use a constant stirring or tossing motion when cooking. This not only cooks the ingredients evenly but also adds a "wok hei" (the characteristic flavor imparted by a hot wok) to the dish.
  • Noodle Preparation: Be careful not to overcook the noodles before adding them to the stir-fry, as they will cook further with the other ingredients. It's often best to leave them slightly underdone in the initial boiling stage.
  • Vegetable Texture: If you prefer your vegetables to be more on the crunchy side, reduce their cooking time in the wok.
  • Adjusting the Sauce: Taste the dish after adding the sauce and adjust if necessary. Sometimes a little extra splash of soy sauce or a pinch of sugar can balance the flavors more to your liking.
  • Garnishing: Fresh garnishes like spring onions or cilantro added just before serving can greatly enhance the freshness and visual appeal of the dish.
  • Serving Immediately: Chow Mein is best served immediately after cooking as the noodles can absorb the sauce and become soggy over time.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese

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