Mein I: Chow Mein

Chow Mein (chow mane) is surely one of the best known of Chinese dishes – and the one which is so often badly made in the West. This recipe is easy to prepare and truly delicious.

1 teaspoon salt

1 lb. egg noodles or spaghetti

8 oz. French beans, trimmed

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

4 oz. chicken meat (breast or leg), finely shredded

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon sherry H tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chicken stock

1 chicken stock cube, crumbled

Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil over high heat. Add the salt and noodles or spaghetti. When the water returns to the boil, reduce the heat to moderate and cook the noodles for 8 to 10 minutes, or the spaghetti for 17 to 18 minutes, or until they are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the noodles or spaghetti in a colander. Set aside and keep warm.

Half fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring it to the boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil them for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the beans in a colander. Set aside.

In a large frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the beans, soy sauce, sugar and sherry and continue to stir-fry for 1 ½ minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the bean and chicken mixture from the pan and set it aside in a bowl. Keep warm.

Add the butter, chicken stock and stock cube to the oil remaining in the frying-pan. When the butter has melted, add the nn noodles or spaghetti. Cook, stirring and turning constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through.

Add half of the bean and chicken mixture and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a warmed serving dish. Set aside and keep warm.

Return the remaining bean and chicken mixture to the frying-pan and increase the heat to high. Fry, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, adding more oil or soy sauce to the pan if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the bean and chicken mixture over the pasta mixture. Serve immediately.

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