Vegetable Chow Mein

Crunchy stir-fried noodles with colorful vegetables, all sautéed in a perfect savory umami-like sauce. Quick and easy, this Indian street-food style Vegetable Chow Mein is a favorite in our home. The trick is to make sure that the noodles are neither dry nor mushy and as a result will give the perfect al-dente texture. The amount of sauce that you add should be enough to coat the noodle strands so there is no extra watery sauce at the bottom of the pan. Vegetable Chow Mein makes a great after-school snack or even a full meal. You could add chicken or tofu or egg to make it more filling and protein-packed.

Growing up, we had a very standard Sunday ritual. Our breakfast was mostly this Vegetable Chow Mein that Ma would make followed by meat or chicken for lunch that my Dad would make. The homemade version of the noodle was always more mildly spiced as compared to the street style version. And as a result we friends would hog on occasionally after the school. I could never pick a favorite in between the two versions.

Assorted Vegetable Chow Mein in a wok

Indo-Chinese Cuisine:

When I moved to US several years back, one of the street foods that I missed the most was this Vegetable Chow Mein. While this dish is often referred to as Chinese Noodle however it’s not even remotely close to the authentic Chinese noodles. This Indian street-food style Veg Chow Mein is more of an Indo-Chinese version, which was passed on to our cuisine. With the settlement of Chinese people in Kolkata in the early part of 20th century, China Town came into existence and as a result the Indo-Chinese food culture began. And every Indian that I know loves it.

Uncooked dried noodles stacked up

What variety of noodles to use for Chow Mein?

The best noodle would be the dried ones. Look for thin stranded, wheat egg noodles.

KEY POINT: Most importantly, do not boil the noodles for more than 3 to 4 minutes. Boil it to al-dente like pasta.

The Vegetables:

Choose crunchy vegetables that won’t go soggy or release too much water on cooking.

Apart from garlic, ginger and onion, few common vegetable choices are:

  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Green Onion

KEY NOTE: If you are adding chicken, tofu or eggs, stir-fry the tofu/chicken separately or scramble the egg separately and toss it in the end with the Chow Mein.

Key flavoring Ingredients for the Vegetable Chow Mein:

 It’s a simple uncomplicated sauce that includes:

  • Dark Soya Sauce
  • Ketchup (adds a mild sweetness)
  • Green Chili Sauce (if you prefer spicy)
  • White Vinegar
  • Black Pepper
  • Lots of Garlic and Ginger

Ajinomoto (optional): It’s a famous Chinese flavor enhancer. It looks like flaky salt and gives a perfect umami mouth-feel.  

One very important point to remember is to allow the boiled noodle to cool down a bit before you stir fry it. This will make sure that the end result will not turn into a soggy mess.

If you enjoy noodles and like a flavor punch for your palate, you definitely need to try this Indian street-food style Vegetable Chow Mein. I like to spread a little bit of pickled onion on top for punchy tangy taste.

Flat lay view of the Vegetable Chow Mein

Here are couple ways you could pair this noodle dish:

Gobi Manchurian (Crispy Cauliflower florets in sticky sweet sauce)

Meatballs in Hot Garlic Sauce

Vegetable Chow Mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

Crunchy stir-fried noodles with colorful vegetables, all sautéed in a perfect savory umami-like sauce. Quick and easy, this Indian street-food style Vegetable Chow Mein is a favorite in our home.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 big carrot, julienned
  • 12 green beans, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely sliced cabbage
  • 4 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon ajinomoto salt, optional
  • 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon green chili sauce, optional
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil the noodles as per the package instruction and rinse with cold water to cool it down. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and using your hands, gently mix it around. Then, layer the noodles on a tray or a big plate.
  2. Place a wok at medium heat and pour the oil, followed by garlic and ginger. As the oil heats up, the garlic and ginger will start to sizzle and flavor the oil.
  3. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the carrot, beans and sauté for 4 minutes (the veggies should be softened but not turn mushy).
  4. Pour soya sauce, ketchup, chili sauce (if using), white vinegar and ajinomoto salt (if using). Stir around. Add the cabbage and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Finally, add the cooled boiled noodles little bit at a time so that it’s easy to toss around and mix with the sauce. Switch off the heat, add half of the sliced green onion and toss. Check for salt and add more, if needed, as per your taste.
  6. Garnish the Chow Mein with freshly cracked black pepper and remaining green onions.

Notes

The cooked noodles can be stored at room temperature and it will not turn soggy if kept inside the fridge or outside.

 

Vegetable Chow Mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

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Comments are closed.

  • David @ Spiced
    July 3, 2019 at 4:41 AM

    I absolutely love street food! I feel like you can really get the vibe of a country when eating street food. I never would’ve thought of vegetable chow mein as street food, but I clearly need to rethink that one. I love the fusion flavors you’ve got going on here…this sounds delicious!!

    • Kankana Saxena
      July 7, 2019 at 9:24 PM

      That is so true! Every time I visit a new country, I make sure to explore the street food first. I hope you will give this noodle a try 🙂

  • Kelly | Foodtasia
    July 3, 2019 at 7:13 AM

    Kankana, I’m so craving this right now! It looks delicious! Love all of your tips. I’ll have to look for the Ajinomoto. Such beautiful photos!

    • Kankana Saxena
      July 7, 2019 at 9:25 PM

      Thanks Kelly! Ajinomoto is something I have seen only in Indian store. But even without that the noodle gets amazing flavor with all the sauces that goes in 🙂

  • priya
    July 6, 2019 at 12:55 AM

    Chowmein is one of my favorite street food. I love the way you describes this recipe kankana. beautiful pictures too. I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Have a great weekend ahead!

    • Kankana Saxena
      July 7, 2019 at 9:26 PM

      Thanks so much Priya 🙂 I just love noodles and once I got the trick right, I started making it more often!

  • Neil
    July 7, 2019 at 1:23 AM

    Oh wow! I love noodles and especially Chow Mein noodly type dishes. I love the thought of all the crunchy vegetables here with the soft flavoured noodles. Yes this is definitely a dish I’m adding to my “must make” list!

    • Kankana Saxena
      July 7, 2019 at 9:27 PM

      Thanks Neil 🙂 Although I love chicken but when it comes to stir fried noodles, I always tends to lean towards vegetarian version loaded with crunchy vegetables!

  • shibani
    July 7, 2019 at 9:16 PM

    The pictures are amazing Kankana… I am sure those chow mein must be tasting delicious.

    • Kankana Saxena
      July 7, 2019 at 9:28 PM

      Thanks Shibani 🙂 Oh yes the noodles turns out delicious, it’s quite the fav!