Chow Mein, Lo Mein and more Chow Mein

Lo Mein/Chow MeinSo many Choices

Do you know the difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein?  What about the difference between Chow Mein and Chow Mein? Ah, you didn’t know there are two different kinds of Chow Mein?  If you do that’s great, but most people don’t.  I didn’t.  Well at least at the time I was ordering it from a menu and got something I thought was entirely different and not what I was expecting at all.  That experience was years ago but it was the day that I learned the difference between Eastern and Western Chow Mein.

Eastern Chow Mein is what I got when I was expecting something different.  Apparently Western Chow Mein is what I was expecting and if that’s what I wanted from a place that serves the “Eastern” version of Chow Mein, rather, I should have ordered Lo Mein and it would’ve been the same thing.  Are you confused yet?

Western Chow Mein and Lo Mein recipes are virtually the same thing; lots of oily soft noodles with minimal vegetables.  Eastern Chow Mein is practically the opposite with a few variances, but basically lots of vegetables and minimal crispy noodles.  Western Chow Mein is my favorite, though I’ve come to love the Eastern version and often crave that recipe from time to time.  Lo Mein, or rather, Western Chow Mein is what I’ll be focusing on in this recipe.

TopRamen_ChickenNoodles, Noodles, Lo Mein Noodles

Never use Spaghetti noodles unless you want to fit in with all of the other yahoo’s out there that really don’t know what they’re doing.  You may not know either, but with this Lo Mein/Chow Mein recipe, you’ll be able to wing it like the pros and no one will be able to tell the difference.  You can, however, pull this off with Angel Hair Pasta, but I’m still not recommending an Italian noodle for a Chinese dish.  If you can pick up a soft noodle, something doughy or already cooked near the Tofu and egg roll wrappers in your grocery store, then that’s as good as it’s going to get, unless you make your own.  Though today, I’m going to show you how to do this with an all time very inexpensive favorite of mine, Ramen!  Nissin Top Ramen is what I’m using, with the chicken flavored seasoning packet.  You can literally use any flavor you prefer, but most Restaurants use a chicken or vegetable stock in their kitchen.  So trust me with this one because you’re going to need the broth even after you cook your noodles.

Cook The Noodles Al Dente.  This just means that you need to slightly under cook the noodles.  The reason for this is because they need to be cooked a second time when they are tossed with the vegetables, and this will keep them from getting over cooked and sticky.  Another important tip you need to know is the oil.  I have found that Peanut oil gives a more professional taste to the flavor of the noodles.  Don’t ask me why, because Chinese Restaurants will use Canola and even Soy Bean oil for their noodles, but I just don’t think they bring out that delicious fast food street vendor style of Lo Mein we’ve all grown to love.  For all I know, peanut oil is what the street vendors use.  I can’t be certain but it sure tastes right!

Ingredients:

1 pkg Noodles
4 ounces of Broth from the Noodle bouillon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Hoisin or Oyster Sauce
1/3 cup Peanut Oil
1 chopped Garlic Clove
1 1/2 Mixed Vegetables

Vegetables should include Cabbage, Onion and Carrot at a minimum, but can also contain Mushroom, Celery and Bean Sprouts.  Feel free to add any precooked meats like, Shrimp, Chicken or Beef.  Rob the 4 ounces of Broth from the Noodle bouillon and mix the sugar and your choice of Hoisin or Oyster to make the Secret Sauce.  Both are good but add a completely different taste so just choose your favorite.  Cook the noodles Al Dente and strain, then cook the vegetables in the peanut oil and garlic for 30 seconds, add the noodles and toss, then poor the “Secret Sauce” into the noodles and stir until the coloring is even through out the noodles.  The whole cooking process, tossing the vegetables and then combining with the noodles, shouldn’t take you more than 1 full minute to complete.  Serve the Lo Mein Family Style, on one plate, then dish out separately.

Poor Man’s Gourmet Kitchen on Youtube

Youtube Ch. PicThis is the official Youtube page for Poor Man’s Gourmet Kitchen; PoorMansGourmet for short.  Every recipe that I have an associated instructional hands on video for can be found right here on this indexed video channel for your convenience.  http://www.youtube.com/user/poormansgourmet

Crawfish Boil Recipe from Scratch

The Easiest Crawfish Boil Recipe

What an experience!  Anyone that hasn’t ever had their own Crawfish boil is really missing out.  I imagine it could possibly be a nightmare for some if they really don’t know what they’re doing, but that’s why there’s tutorials like these to help the “Not so Common” common folk out!  But first, you’ve got to find  a good Crawfish Boil Recipe!

My Crawfish Boil

I’ve been eating Crawfish for a while now, and I think I’ve finally had enough boils and etouffee in my life to finally have a real good perspective on how great crawfish should taste.  So I figured it was time to see if my seasoned pallet, training and the talent I’ve worked hard to develop over the years has really paid off.  I was ready to try my own Crawfish Boil Recipe, from scratch.  So I bought this   31 pound of bag of live Crawfish for $46 and this bag of Slap Ya Mama.

Crawfish Boil Seasoning

I didn’t put together any of the actual ingredients in this boil, but you can by a bag of this stuff just about anywhere in the South, or online if you’re trying to find it elsewhere.  I previously had never been a part of a Crawfish Boil before this day, and I can honestly say I was relying on instinct and instruction from locals alone before I filmed my first time with my own Crawfish Boil.  So what you are witnessing here today is my first time ever dealing with live crawfish in my kitchen.  Though I was a little nervous, over all, I think I handled this Crawfish Boil Recipe like a Pro!

Update:  I have since done so many Crawfish Boils it’s unbelievable.  I’ve even discovered so more secrets to perfecting their flavor.  One of the thins I do now is melt in a whole cube of butter.  I also dumb down the spice a bit, without the expense of losing flavor, by adding in Tomato bouillon.  These too things bring a richer, sweeter flavor to the boil and makes the broth heavenly to suck from the heads, if you know what I mean.  Now all you need to do is throw in some Potatoes, Andouille Sausage slices and some half portioned corn on the cob and your well on your way to perfect Crawfish Boil Dinner!