I am in awe of people who can make a meal plan, repeating many…
Here’s a really fun dinner I made recently, the sheet pan chow mein from Hetty McKinnon’s, new cookbook, which is a love letter to all the vibrant Chinese food she grew up eating plus many of her other Asian favorites. You — we, if I may be so presumptuous — love McKinnon’s vegetarian cooking because she’s so creative, as we saw in this chickpea and kale shakshuka, and yet it’s all so practically-minded, clearly having been vetted in the chaos of real life family dinners.
In Mandarin, “ch’ao mien” means “stir-fried noodles.” It’s always made in a wok, and it’s arguably still the best and quickest from one, says McKinnon. But the sheet pan makes it easier in a different way, in that we can add ingredients and walk away, letting the oven give the noodles their signature crisp, while we… break up a fight over Legos, or pour a glass of wine. (The latter, please.) What sets chow mein apart from lo mein is this crisp, the mixture of crispy fried strand and soft noodles that are smothered in a robust and aromatic sauce. McKinnon encourages us to make chow mein with whatever leftover vegetables and/or seasonal produce she’s got, which gives us a lot of freedom. I can’t wait to see how you mix it up.
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Sheet Pan Chow Mein
Below are the vegetables I used, but feel free to use what you have for all or some. Chinese broccoli or other greens would be great here, or shredded cabbage. Thinly sliced mushrooms, too. Dried (or fresh) thin egg noodles will crisp up best for chow mein, but if you’re okay with it being less crisp, use whatever noodles you have on hand, including rice noodles, if wheat is an issue.
- 1 bell pepper (any color), finely sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced diagonally
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets, or bundle of broccolini, cut into 1- to 2-inch segments
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil or a neutral oil
- A 250-gram or 8.8-ounce package dried thin egg noodles
- 1 small can baby corn, drained
- 6 ounces asparagus, sugar snaps, or snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch segments
- 1 medium shallot or 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, to finish
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian stir-fry sauce, such as vegetarian oyster or hoisin sauce (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 small clove, grated or minced
Heat oven to 425°F. On a large baking sheet, toss the pepper, carrot, and broccoli with a splash of olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Meanwhile, make the noodles: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the egg noodles, and cook according to the packet instructions, or al dente, about four to five minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain well again and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
Combine the soy seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
Remove the baking sheet and push the vegetables to the side. Add the noodles, corn and asparagus. Drizzle the noodles with sesame oil, season with more salt and toss well to coat. Return the tray to the oven and bake for another 15 to 18 minutes, until the noodles are crispy on the top and bottom. We are looking for a combination of crispy and non-crispy noodles.
Remove the tray from the oven, drizzle over the soy seasoning and toss well. Scatter over the shallot and sesame seeds and serve.