Desi people (those of the South Asian subcontinent) love Chinese food, and they especially love putting their own spicy spin on it. Every Desi Mama has her own take on the ever-popular Chow Mein, and this is my spin on it.
This month’s Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge was to share a recipe for something that reminds us of our mothers. It didn’t have to be her exact recipe, but something that holds memories of her. For me, there was no second thought as to what I wanted to share.
My mom’s Chow Mein is the best, in my opinion. No matter how hard I try, I can never make them taste like hers. There is a saying in Urdu, “Haath, haath ki baat hai.” It can be roughly translated (not word for word, but what it means) as each hand creates its own taste, and nothing can be truer when it comes to our mothers cooking.
My mom’s noodles are chock full of black pepper, so much so that it wasn’t uncommon to find some between our teeth afterwards. She cooks her vegetables until they become soft, and our empty plates always have traces of oil left behind. Mom’s Chow Mein is stick-to-your-ribs-delicious, and my recipe, although different from hers, is homage to her.
May our mothers be blessed with happiness and health, and may they be rewarded with the highest ranks in Paradise <3
Desi Mama Chow Mein
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 2 bell peppers, any color, julienned
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 5 spring onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
In a medium vessel, combine chicken, soy sauce, water, and black pepper. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Do not discard cooking liquid.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut or shred into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large vessel over medium high heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and carrots, and cook uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring often.
Add bell peppers, cabbage, peas, and spring onions. Cook uncovered for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables have slightly softened.
Add cooked chicken, cooking liquid from the chicken, noodles, soy sauce, vinegar, white pepper, and black pepper. Toss to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.
Check out what all of the other bloggers are sharing this month!