Tender steak is stir-fried with vegetables and noodles in a flavorful sauce in this beef chow mein. A homemade version of the takeout classic that’s even better than the restaurant version!
My family adores Asian cuisine, and I’ve learned to make some of their favorites at home, such as egg rolls, kung pao chicken, and this savory beef chow mein.
I have to order beef chow mein whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant.
The combination of savory meat, tender noodles, and colorful vegetables is unbeatable. This recipe recreates the great restaurant flavors in the comfort of your own home.
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HOW DO YOU MAKE BEEF CHOW MEIN?
- This recipe begins with flank steak, which is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, and sugar.
- This mixture tenderizes the meat while also adding flavor. The steak should be marinated for at least 10 minutes.
- Prepare your vegetables while the meat is marinating. In a pan, cook the meat and vegetables until tender and golden brown.
- Cooked chow mein noodles are mixed in with a sauce made of beef broth, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.
- Allow the sauce to thicken with the noodles and vegetables before adding the green onions and serving.
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT CHOW MEIN
- This recipe works best with flank steak, but you can also use skirt steak or thinly sliced sirloin.
- Place your meat in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up; this makes cutting thin slices much easier.
- If you have the time, you can marinate the meat for up to 8 hours.
- I save a lot of time by thinly slicing the cabbage and onions on a mandoline!
- Use low sodium soy sauce and beef broth to control the salt level of the finished dish.
BEEF CHOW MEIN VARIATIONS
This dish is delicious on its own, but you can add other ingredients to customize it to your liking.
- Try sliced chicken, ground beef, pork tenderloin, or even shrimp instead of flank steak.
- Vegetables: Feel free to substitute mushrooms, bok choy, red bell peppers, or zucchini.
- Flavorings: Other flavors such as sriracha, fresh minced ginger, cashews, or sesame seeds can be added.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHOW MEIN AND LO MEIN?
Lo mein and chow mein are dishes that are very similar. Chow mein noodles are typically thinner than lo mein noodles.
Lo mein noodles are also boiled, whereas chow mein noodles are boiled and then stir fried.
WHAT NOODLES DO YOU USE FOR CHOW MEIN?
Chow mein is traditionally made with thin egg noodles, either fresh or dried.
If you look in your local grocery store’s ethnic foods aisle, you’ll often find dried packets of noodles labeled as chow mein noodles.
If you can’t find chow mein noodles, try another long noodle, such as yakisoba or even spaghetti.
WHAT KIND OF NOODLES ARE CHOW MEIN NOODLES?
Chow mein is made with Chinese egg noodles, which are wheat flour noodles with an egg added to them.
This Beef Chow Mein recipe can be made with either fresh or dried noodles. Here’s a rundown of the various options:
- Yakisoba (such as Fortune® brand) is typically found in grocery stores’ refrigerated produce section.
- Fresh chow mein noodles are a good option, but they can be difficult to find in the United States (They are available at some Asian grocery stores.)
- The flavor of dry spaghetti is slightly different, but it works. Choose thin spaghetti if you want to eat it.
- Dry chow mein noodles (such as Well-Pak®) are typically found in grocery store Asian aisles alongside soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil (which are all conveniently needed for this dish).
USING OTHER VEGETABLES
One of the best aspects of Beef Chow Mein is how simple it is to customize. Feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables.
You can use whatever you want as long as the quantities remain consistent (and the vegetables are chopped so they cook in the appropriate amount of time). Here are some suggestions:
- Brussel sprouts
- Celery, thinly sliced
- carrot, julienned
- Green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- Sweet peppers, thinly sliced
- Cabbage in red (instead of green cabbage)
- Chestnuts from the water
- Peas (snow)
If you can’t find the frozen vegetables recommended (not sponsored) in this recipe, I’d add 1-2 cups more cabbage, about 3/4 cup julienned carrot pieces, and 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery. (Add all of these vegetables after the beef has been cooking for about 1 minute.)
CAN YOU FREEZE BEEF CHOW MEIN?
Beef Chow Mein freezes poorly. I recommend eating it as soon as it’s finished cooking. This recipe yields two generous servings or four small servings.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe begins with flank steak, which is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, and sugar. This mixture tenderizes the meat while also adding flavor. The steak should be marinated for at least 10 minutes.
Chow mein translates to fried noodles, while lo mein means tossed or stirred noodles. Because both dishes are variations on noodles, the primary distinction between chow mein and lo mein is in how the noodles are prepared. Instead of being stir-fried, the ingredients for lo mein are lightly mixed and tossed.
Chow mein is made by cooking noodles and then adding them to a wok of other ingredients, cooking everything together in one pan. In a chop suey recipe, however, you will cook the noodles or rice and other ingredients separately before combining them in a bowl and serving the noodles or rice with the sauce on top.
Before stir-frying in the wok, Chow Mein Noodles are par-boiled or soaked in hot water. The noodles are completely cooked during the stir-frying process. Lo Mein noodles are fully cooked before being combined in the wok with meat, vegetables, and sauce. They are mixed and tossed rather than stir-fried.
Inspired by: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/beef-chow-mein/