5 Tips To Make Street-Style Chowmein At Home
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Chowmein is a popular and versatile dish from China, but it has now become a global sensation and talking about Chinese cuisine without saying a word about it is impossible. The word “chowmein” translates to “stir-fired noodles,"  which is exactly what the preparation of a chowmein dish looks like. In the past few decades, this dish has become a staple in Southeast Asia as well as in other Western countries. What makes chowmein more close to people’s hearts is its simplicity and adaptability, which open up a huge number of variations.

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The charm of chowmein extends beyond its flavours; it also represents a rich culinary heritage and a shared love for communal dining. In many cultures, street vendors skillfully prepare chowmein in large woks over high heat, their deft movements and sizzling sounds drawing hungry patrons. This street food tradition not only showcases the chefs' expertise but also fosters a sense of community. For those who wish to recreate the magic of street-style chowmein at home, there are several tips and techniques that can help achieve an authentic taste and texture.

Cooking Noodles Properly

To cook the noodles properly, bring a large pot of water to a nice boil and then add a generous amount of salt and a dash of oil to prevent sticking. Add the noodles then and stir occasionally to prevent them from clumping. Cook until they are just al-dente, which takes around 3-5 minutes, though it depends on the type of noodles you are cooking. Once done, drain them and rinse them under cold water to stop further cooking. Lastly, toss it with some oil to keep them separate and ready for stir-frying.


Choose The Right Ingredients

To make street-style chowmein at home, choosing the right ingredients is essential. Opt for fresh, crunchy vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, and spring onions. For protein, include thinly sliced chicken, shrimp, or beef, or tofu for a vegetarian option. Add garlic and ginger for aromatic depth. Remember a splash of sesame oil for that authentic street-style touch? These ingredients combine to deliver the signature taste and texture of classic street chowmein.

Add Correct Spices

Apart from black pepper and salt, there aren’t many spices that go into a chowmein dish traditionally. However, when dishes enter the Indian subcontinent, they go through a different flavour profile as a whole, as they need to cater to the tastes of those who are used to the taste of spices and flavours. Hence, Indian street-style chowmein contains a number of Indian spices, like red chilli powder, chaat masala or even cumin powder. There is no limitation to the number of spices, as one can easily add, alter or adjust the number of spices they want to include in their chowmein.

Add Flavourful Sauces

To make street-style chowmein at home, incorporating flavorful sauces is key. Start with soy sauce for a salty depth, then add dark soy sauce for a richer, caramelised flavour. Mix in a dash of oyster sauce for a touch of umami. A spoonful of hoisin sauce adds a hint of sweetness, while chilli sauce brings the heat. Don't forget a bit of sesame oil for its aromatic essence. Toss these sauces with your stir-fried noodles, veggies, and protein to create an authentic, delicious chowmein reminiscent of street food stalls.

Garnish With Herbs

Freshly chopped coriander leaves or cilantro add a burst of freshness, balancing the savoury noodles. You can also add a sprinkle of finely sliced green onions or scallions for a subtle crunch and mild onion flavour. Lastly, a touch of oregano, dried or fresh, can enhance the dish with a cool, refreshing note. These herbs elevate your chowmein, mimicking the vibrant, herb-infused experience of street-style noodles.