This House Special Chow Mein is a stir-fry of Chow Mein noodles with vegetables, meats, sometimes seafood, and all brought together with a flavorful sauce. It is a popular dish found in many Chinese restaurants and takeaways. The ‘house special’ depends on the chef and the particular restaurant.
For more Asian meals see our recipes here.
I love that this dish is so versatile, and uses a medley of vegetables, with their variety of flavors and textures. I have included a few tricks to make this even quicker and easier for a meal in a hurry!
Reasons to love this HOUSE SPECIAL CHOW MEIN
- Big Flavors! House special chow mein uses a well-balanced umami, salty, and sweet sauce that brings the whole dish together.
- Crunch and texture: The variety of vegetables brings textures, and crunch, as well as nutrients and fiber. Just what a weeknight meal should be.
- Proteins: House special chow mein commonly includes a protein component such as chicken, beef, shrimp, or a combination of these. You can also toss in some shrimp, squid, or scallops if you are feeling fancy.
- Versatility: Add any stir-fried vegetables and proteins, tailor the dish to your taste, and create your own ‘House Special’!
- Comforting and Filling: This is one of my comfort foods. The warm, stir-fried noodles combined with flavorful ingredients create a satisfying and filling meal that is just perfect! Love the smokey stir fry flavors wafting through my house at dinner time!
Ingredient List for House Special Chow Mein
Oil: Pick a neutral-smelling variety like peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
Garlic: Garlic adds a wonderful aroma to your stir-fry. I have diced the garlic so it flavors the oil well.
Proteins: I have used chicken breasts and prawns. You can also use pork mince, beef, or tofu.
Vegetables: Cabbage, carrots, bok choy, and red bell pepper (red capsicum). Feel free to add other vegetables like snow peas, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, etc. See tips for stir-frying vegetables.
Noodles: Pre-cooked noodles will save you time and effort, as these can be thrown straight into your wok, and fried till slightly crispy. No boiling or soaking in hot water is required. Chow Mein tends to have a slightly crispy texture, which is great for this dish. You can also use any wheat-based noodles.
Sauce: The sauce used in house special chow mein is typically savory and rich, often made from a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other seasonings. I added this sauce on top and let the ingredients absorb the sauce. It is made by simply stirring soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornflour, and water with seasoning as required.
For more Asian noodles try these Noodles In Chilli Oil
Step-By-Step Process to Create House Special Chow Mein
Slice chicken in thinly, and marinate the slices in soy sauce, and cornflour. This process is called velveting and keeps the chicken soft and prevents it from drying out during stirfry.
Prep the vegetables and keep them aside.
Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, pepper powder, cornstarch, and water.
Mix well. This is the chow mein sauce.
Add oil to a hot wok, and stir-fry the chicken, till just cooked. Put aside on a plate.
Stir-fry the prawns till they turn light pink, and keep with the chicken.
Wipe the wok clean, and fry the minced garlic.
Add the vegetables (harder ones first) and stir fry till slightly crispy. Do not crowd the vegetables, as they will start sweating and turn mushy. We are looking for slightly, almost charred, crispy, smokey vegetables.
Now throw in the softer, leafy vegetables, and keep stir-frying. Once done, keep them aside on the same plate as the chicken and prawn. (They will all go in together once the noodles are fried)
Now add the noodles to your wok and fry till slightly crispy. Since these are not soft, wet noodles, they will crisp up quickly. We are not looking for a deep-fried kind of crispy texture here. Just wok tossed crispy.
Add the cooked chicken, prawns, and vegetables back into the wok with the noodles. Mix well.
By now, the cornflour in your Chow Mein sauce will have settled at the bottom. Using a fork or a spoon, give it a stir, till it flows well again.
Add the sauce to the noodles, and keep stir-frying on high heat till well tossed, and the sauce turns from cloudy to clear and glossy.
Some Useful Tips
How to cook Chow Mein even faster.
Using pre-cooked Chow Mein noodles will save you time on cooking them.
You can also buy ready pre-cut vegetables mix just for stir-fries. There is less wastage, and saves you time washing and chopping them.
Use cooked meat, if you have that from earlier meals.
Tips to Stir-Frying Vegetables
1. Cook harder vegetables like carrots, white parts of spring onions, and whites of Bok Choy first. Once they look crispy, then add softer vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, and snow peas. Leafy parts of bok choy or spinach or spring onions should go in last. This is the same sequence one would follow while making mason jar salads.
2. Do not cook too many servings in the wok. Home-use gas stoves are too small to generate the kind of heat commercial woks have. To get around this problem, only stir-fry 2 portions at a time to get that smokey char or wok-hei flavor.
3. Always keep the heat high, and do not crowd the vegetable at the center of the wok. They will start sweating and turn mushy. We need them to be stir-fried quickly and at high temperatures.
4. Mise En Place: This is a French term for keeping everything ready and in order. This is especially important during quick stir-frying. I keep the ingredients in the order that they go in the wok. This takes the guesswork out when you are working and makes the workflow very smooth and enjoyable. Don’t forget an extra plate to keep the chicken, prawns, and cooked vegetables aside after cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions About House Special Chow Mein
There is no dairy added to the recipe. However, always check your package labels for allergen warnings.
Edamame beans, Shirataki Noodles ( also known as Konjac Noodles) as well as Hearts Of Palm Noodles are all low-carb options. Shirataki noodles are a traditional Japanese product made from a fiber called glucomannan, which is produced from konjac, an Asian root vegetable. They are the lowest-carb option for noodles.
The prepared dish will be softer in texture due to the nature of Konjac noodles, but they are a good alternative to have once they soak up all the Chow Mein sauce.
To make this recipe Vegan, just swap the meat for tofu. Break it up and scramble on high heat with some oil, and follow the remaining recipe. You will also need to use egg-free noodles.
In The Fridge: 2-3 Days
In The Freezer: Since this is a relatively dry recipe, it will stand well to being frozen. Store in freezer safe container, label the date of storage and keep for 2 months in the freezer.
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House Special Chow Mein Noodles
- 1 Wok
- 1 Bowl for prepping chicken
Main Ingredients For Stir-Fry
- 2 Tablespoon Oil Neutral smelling
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Minced
- Chicken (Velveted – see below)
- 1/2 Pound Raw Prawns Shelled and De-veined
- Mixed Vegetables (see below)
- Stir Fry Sauce (see below)
- 1 Pound Chow Mein Noodles See Note #2
- 1/2 Pound Chicken (200 g) Boneless Skinless Fillets (see note #1)
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
Vegetables (2 – 3 cups in total)
- 1/2 Cup White Cabbage Shredded
- 1/2 Cup Carrots Julienned
- 1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper Red Capsicum
- 1 Bok Choy
- 2 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1/2 Cup Water Or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon White Pepper Optional
Velveting Of Chicken
- Slice the chicken thin (against the grain) and marinate it with cornflour and soy sauce. Keep aside.
Prep The Vegetables
- Slice the cabbage, carrots, and red bell peppers.
- Chop the bok choy and separate the white and green parts. Keep aside.
Make The Stir -Fry Sauce
- In a mixing bowl, mix the water, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and ground pepper. Keep aside.
- Heat the wok or a deep frying pan, and add oil.
- When the oil has just started smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry quickly for a few seconds till it slightly changes color.
- Add velveted chicken, and stir-fry till just cooked. Keep aside.
- Stir-fry the prawns and cook till they look light pink and cooked. Keep aside with the chicken.
- Stir-fry the vegetables on high heat till they look dry and lightly browned.
- Add the cooked chicken, cooked prawns, and noodles to the wok, and mix well.
- Add the stir-fry sauce, and fry for a further minute.
- Adjust seasoning as required, and serve hot!
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