Lo Mein noodles are more than just a side dish—they are comfort food, Asian style. Long coils of noodles are served during Chinese New Year and are eaten by slurping. It is bad luck to break dried noodles before cooking or cut them after cooking as they represent a long life. But don’t relegate this delicious dish to the holidays, vegetable Lo Mein should be a staple in your recipe rotation.
This version is vegetarian but hearty enough to entice confirmed carnivores. It makes a great addition to any Chinese meal since it plays well with all the other dishes you may want to serve.
Difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein
Mein is the Chinese word for noodles. Lo Mein means “tossed noodles” while Chow Mein means “fried noodles”. And while both recipes use Chinese egg noodles as the main component. In traditional Chow Mein recipes, those noodles are fried and quickly combined with a light sauce to retain their crunch. Lo Mein calls for the noodles to be boiled and tossed with more sauce that is absorbed into each noodle. The recipes for both dishes often call for similar ingredients but should differ in the cooking technique and amount of sauce.
Chinese Black vinegar or Chinkiang (Zhengjiang) Vinegar
This dark and slightly fruity vinegar adds umami to the dish. Unami is the fifth taste (salty, sweet, sour (bitter), and which is the earthy-rich taste that is hard to describe. This vinegar is a staple in Chinese cooking and is made from fermented rice, wheat, barley, and sourgum. It is mild, slightly woody, and smoky in taste and will give your dish a dark tangy richness. It is well worth adding to your pantry and will keep a long time in your cupboard. A poor substitute if you can’t acquire this useful vinegar is balsamic vinegar which will be sweeter and be sharper in taste.Print
A classic Chinese noodle dish chock full of vegetables. This vegetarian dish will please even the pickiest carnivore.
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Mirin or dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the lo mein:
- 16 ounces round Chinese egg noodles, fresh or dried (or thin spaghetti noodles)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned into matchstick sized pieces
- 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced into thin slices
- 3 ounces Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 ounces bean sprouts, (about 2/3 cup)
- 5 green onions, white and green parts cut into matchstick lengths
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients, stir well and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and cook as directed to al dente so the noodles are still firm.
- Drain and rinse with cold water. Shake to remove any water. Return noodles to pot and drizzle with sesame oil and stir gently until the noodles are coated, set aside.
- Heat wok over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the wok.
- Add the ginger and stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and stir-fry for another 20 seconds being careful that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the mushrooms, carrots, onion and Napa cabbage and cook until they are softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the reserved cooked noodles, green onions and bean sprouts and stir to combine the vegetables with the noodles.
- Stir the prepared sauce to recombine and add the sauce mixture to the wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and coated all the noodles and vegetables.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm.
Fresh Chinese egg noodles are the classic noodle used in Lo Mein, you can purchase then in the refrigerated section of your local Asian Market. You an substitute dried round thin Chinese egg noodles or even thin spaghetti noodles instead. Make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to add before you begin stir frying. Your wok is hot enough when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.
Keywords: Lo Mein, longevity noodles, long life noodles