A lo mein is one of those immensely satisfying yet super simple recipes out there. And when you add a medley of colorful seasonal vegetables, you can be assured it is healthy too.
I always try out different combinations of sauces and condiments while making Chinese, this time was no different. The best way to create your own stir fry sauce is to mix them up in a little bowl, taste and keep adding stuff till it tastes good. You need something salty, spicy, sour and a little bit sweet.
Well, the usual suspects that go into the sauce are soy sauce, some kind of vinegar (like rice wine vinegar) and chili sauce. You can choose between hoisin, oyster, fish or siriracha sauces. Would you believe if I said I used red wine (not the vinegar, but the drinking kind) this time? A little bit of soy sauce, a touch of my hot chili sauce, some teriyaki sauce and a touch of sugar whisked together with the wine made for a lovely sauce.
Don’t you love freshly chopped vegetables? They are so pretty! The red peppers and zucchini are from our weekly Farmer’s Market. The stalks of spring onion are ones I tried regenerating myself. Long story there. I will keep you posted if I do end up successfully re-planting them.
And bonus, the red wine used in the sauce pairs perfectly with the slightly spicy lo mein. So obviously, don’t go about using those super expensive chardonays, any reasonably priced good wine from your grocery store will do.
I used egg noodles because they are the best in absorbing Oriental flavors. You can use your favorite kind, maybe even thin pasta like spaghetti or linguini, if you don’t have anything else on hand. And of course, there is no need to restrict the stir fry to vegetables. Use thinly sliced pork, beef, chicken, tofu or even scrambled eggs.
Just throw in what you have in your fridge and pantry, remember to use a hot wok/pan and watch it all come together beautifully in a matter of few minutes.
VEGETABLE LO MEIN (Serves two)
You will need:
For the noodles,
- Egg noodles – 3-4 oz (100-120 gm)
- Water – to cook the noodles
- Sesame oil – 1 tsp
For the sauce,
- Red wine – 2 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
- Hot chili sauce or chili oil – 1/2-1 tsp (as per your heat level)
- Teriyaki sauce – 1/2 tbsp (or add a little vinegar and sugar till you are satisfied with the taste)
For the stir fry,
- Oil – 1 tbsp,
- Garlic – 2 tbsp, minced
- Spring onions – a couple of stalks, sliced vertically
- Red bell pepper – 1, thinly sliced
- Carrot – 1, thinly sliced
- Zucchini – 1 small or half of a large one, thinly sliced
- Stir fry sauce – as listed above
- Toasted peanuts or sesame seeds – for garnish (optional)
- Cook the noodles in water as per package instructions. Drain in a colander and toss with a teaspoon of oil (sesame oil preferably).
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together. Taste and adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.
- Heat oil in a large wok or pan. Add garlic and the white parts of spring onion and saute for a few seconds. Immediately add the chopped vegetables and saute on high for a minute or two. The vegetables will be slightly charred and just softened. If you do this on anything lower than high heat, the vegetables will let out water and just turn mushy.
- Add the sauce and cook till sauce is combined with all the vegetables and sufficiently thickened. It should take just a few seconds.
- Immediately add the cooked noodles and toss to coat uniformly with the sauce.Take care that the noodles are not clumped together before adding to the stir fry.
- Garnish with the green parts of spring onion or peanuts or sesame seeds and serve hot.
- Have all the ingredients ready before you begin because the assembly literally takes a couple of minutes from start to finish and always use a hot wok/pan.
- Use your favorite combination of vegetables. You can use mushrooms, eggplant, beans, snap peas and more.
- Add ginger along with the garlic if you like their combined flavor.
- Use a protein of choice like thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork or tofu. Cook them in a little oil first, then the vegetables and combine everything together with the sauce. You can even mix in lightly scrambled eggs.
- The slight alcohol content in the sauce will be evaporated in a few seconds in the hot pan lending just a subtle red wine flavor to the lo mein.
Enjoy this super easy and delicious recipe any time – a busy weeknight or a lazy weekend. And ditch the take-out!
Do you like Chinese? Do you have any secret sauces? Do share.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn