Shrimp Chow Mein
Delicious Sauteed Shrimp tossed in with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Noodles coated in Sauce for one seriously delicious Shrimp Chow Mein Dish.
Chow Mein Noodles
There is no real rule here. There are tons of noodle varieties. The common ones used for Chow Mein is Chow Mein Noodles.
Below is a picture of Chow Mein Noodles that are quite popular at T&T Supermarket. This brand is made without eggs.
One of the types that I quite like, not only because it is really cheap but the texture it offers is pleasant too, is Rooster Brand Noodles. These sell for about $1.00 CAD a pack.
Whether you purchase Dry or Fresh Noodles. Steam or Boil the Noodles before stir-frying with them.
Cool them down in cold water. But don’t leave them sitting in water, as they will absorb the water and become too soft. Allow them to air dry.
Chow Mein Vegetables
You can pretty much throw anything in with Chow Mein. Using up vegetables that need to go. Bean Sprouts, Nappa Cabbage, and Green Onions, or Chinese Chives are almost always used.
Other vegetables that may be included are
- Onions or Shallots
- Chinese Cabbage sliced thin (If using this then boil it until just tender before stir-frying with it.
- even a coleslaw mix
Chow Mein Sauce
The Standard Chow Mein Sauce is a Mix of Soy Sauce & Oyster or Hoisin Sauce. Usually with a bit of Sesame Oil. Some include Chinese cooking wine and/or a small amount of Broth. Others add in Sriracha Sauce or Chili Oil.
The very basic of them is Soy Chow Mein. Which only uses Soy Sauce (Light, Dark, or both).
Mushroom Chow Mein, which only uses Mushroom Soy Sauce and of course Sauteed Mushrooms included with the Vegetables.
You can also have more sauce or less sauce for a wet or dry chow mein. I prefer the dry chow mein.
Oyster Sauce vs Hoisin Sauce
Oyster Sauce is less sweet and saltier than Hoisin Sauce. But is a good substitute with a few changes. If using Oyster sauce, omit adding the Sea Salt, and optionally increase the Sugar. Other than those changes Oyster Sauce or Hoisin Sauce can be used interchangeably. It’s really a matter of preference.
Chow Mein Variations
Chow Mein can be made with completely different sauces. After all Chow Mein is just a noodle dish.
The Pad Thai for example is a Chow Mein. In fact, Pad Thai derives from the Chow Mein dish, except in Thailand they commonly use Fish Sauce, Sugar, and Tamarind paste as the sauce, everything else being the same pretty much with a few distinctions. One of the main ones being that they use Rice Noodles instead of Chow Mein Noodles. It’s still a noodle dish.
There is also Chow Mein that is topped with Chop Suey. This is most common with Fried Chow Mein. This is where the noodles are fried in some oil until crisp.
In the end, it’s all still a Noodle based Dish that is fairly easy to put together and quite enjoyable.
Sugar, White Pepper, and MSG are common seasonings for the sauce. Additionally, you can season with the Chinese combination of powdered Onion, Garlic, Ginger, White Pepper, and/or a small amount of Chinese 5 Spice powder.
The flavor that you get when ordering it out is the result of Salt, Sugar, and Msg. Just the same for Chop Suey.
One of my favorite additions is to add Magic Sarap or Hondashi. It just elevates the sauce into something that is spectacular.
Shrimp cook up really fast, in about about 2-3 minutes. We cook with the Shrimp first to flavor the oil in the preparation for Stir-frying the vegetables.
After the Shrimp are just cooked, set them aside. They will continue to cook with the carry-over heat.
Add the Shrimp to the Chow Mein towards the end along with your Bean Sprouts and Green Onions. Which also cook relatively fast.
How to tell if shrimp is cooked
You are looking for a “C” Shape. This can be a loose or tight “C” shape. If they are curled up into an “O” shape. Chances are they are overcooked. Which results in rubbery shrimp.
Ensure that the shrimp is in a single layer and all are in contact with the Pan. The outside of the shrimp will change to a Pink Color, while the meat will change from grey to Opaque/White and start to curl up.
Place into a bowl of Cold water and allow to thaw, which only takes a few minutes. Meanwhile prepare your vegetables, Noodles, and Sauce.
After the Shrimp are thawed, peel them and start rocking that Wok.
Added Flavor for Shrimp Chow Mein
Quick Shrimp Infused Oil
Since we are using both Shrimp and Oil in this dish. An added extra step, yes. But adds more shrimp flavor to the overall dish. This is a quick way of doing it.
Over medium heat with 1/4 C Oil add the Shrimp Shells to cook for about 10 minutes, mixing often. Remove and discard the Shrimp. They will take quite a bit of oil with them.
This is a quick way to get shrimp-infused oil and can elevate that shrimp flavor throughout the Chow Mein.
Chinese XO Sauce
These can be picked up at your local T&T Market. It adds extra Umami and Seafood flavor to the dish. Just add a bit to the sauce.
These can also be picked up at your local T&T Market and help in upping the Shrimp taste. Dehydrated Shrimp are also used in Pad Thai. Just add some when stir-frying the vegetables.
Shrimp Chow Mein
- Large Wok
- 4 block Rooster Brand Noodles
- 1 lb Shrimp
- 2 Tbl Neutral Oil
- 1 C Bean Sprouts – Optional
- 1 C Nappa Cabbage – Sliced Thin / Optional
- 1 Carrot – Shredded or Sliced Thin / Optional
- 2 stalks Green Onions – Sliced
Chow Mein Sauce
- 2 Tbl Oyster or Hoisin Sauce – See Notes
- 1 pouch Maggi Season All (Magic Sarap) – or 1 tsp Hondashi
- 1 Tbl Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Sugar & Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt & Msg
- Thaw Frozen Shrimp in a Bowl filled with cold water. Prepare all the vegetables that will go into the Chow Mein. Set the Green Onions/Chinese Chives & Bean Sprouts into a separate bowl. These will be added last to fry briefly.Combine all the ingredients together for the Chow Mein Sauce and set aside.
- Fill the Wok with water to boil and cook the chow mein noodles until chewy or just done. Strain and place back into the Wok to fill with cold water to stop the cooking process. Strain again and allow them to air dry.
- Heat the Wok up over medium heat and allow to heat for about 3-5 minutes with Oil. Add Shrimp in a single layer and leave for 1 minute. (You can include Chopped Garlic & Minced Ginger if desired). Toss the shrimp around and remove them once they have changed to a pink color and are "C" Shaped. Total Cook time is about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Remove and set aside the Shrimp.
- Add the Vegetables except for the Green Onions & Bean Sprouts and Stir Fry for a few minutes. Until they are softened but still crisp. A few minutes.
- Add the Chow Mein Noodles & Sauce. Mix really well and cook for another minute. Add in the Bean Sprouts and Green Onion along with the Shrimp and Stir Fry an additional 1 minute. Serve rightaway.