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Chow Mein Recipe--Key to Gluten-free Cantonese Style Meals
Updated February 1, 2019.
This delicious chow mein recipe is a gluten-free version of America's favorite Chinese noodle dish . . . all the bright color, tender-crisp bite and the oh-so-good flavor you are craving!
It's easy to make Chinese take-out food at home!
Chow + Mein = Stir-fried Noodles
We are talking about "real" chow mein, where the terms, "chow" and "mein", are true to their definitions, not the deep fried noodle kind found only in America.
Chow = pan fry, sauté or stir-fry
Mein = noodle
By definition, chow mein is a vegetable stir-fried noodle dish primarily containing bean sprouts and a flavorful sauce. Often, chow mein includes celery and water chestnuts as well. Some versions are known to add a combination of other vegetables, such as onion, carrots, Bok Choy, Napa cabbage, ginger and garlic.
Subgum (or Sub Gum or Sub-gum) = Mixed
In the ancient Chinese language, "subgum" is a new word, originating early in the 20th century, used in mid-century cookbooks instead of "chow mein" when referring to chow mein recipes where an animal based protein has been added.
The term, "subgum", or its variations, "sub gum" or "sub-gum", means, "mixed".
The most commonly accepted protein additions are chicken, pork, shrimp or beef, but frugal cooks have been known to throw in whatever fresh or leftover proteins they have on hand, such as egg, tofu or fish.
To Your Good Health
With a nod to traditional chow mein recipes, we increased the nutrition of this Chinese noodle dish by adding a variety of other vegetables.
For a complete meal packed with health-building nutrition, serve this chow mein recipe with one of the following combinations on the side:
- 1 pound gluten-free spaghetti
- 1 cup cool chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon potato starch
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cups celery, cut on the diagonal (about 4 stalks)
- 1 medium onion peeled and sliced
- 1 cup carrot, cut on the diagonal (about 2 medium carrots)
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pound fresh bean sprouts or 2 1/2 cups canned bean sprouts, drained
- 1/2 large head Napa cabbage or Bok Choy, slice thin
- 1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup scallions (green onions), chopped
1. Cook and drain the gluten-free spaghetti according to manufacturer's directions; keep warm and set aside.
2. In a liquid measuring cup, combine chicken broth, gluten-free soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, black pepper and potato starch, and then set aside.
3. Heat a wok or Dutch oven over medium high heat and add oil.
4. Add celery, onion, carrot and mushrooms, and chow (stir-fry or sauté) for 1 minute.
5. Add bean sprouts and Napa cabbage, and chow for 1 minute.
6. Add water chestnuts and garlic, and chow for 30 seconds.
7. Add soy sauce mixture and spaghetti, and then gently toss all together until all ingredients are coated with sauce and are heated through.
8. Remove to serving platter.
9. Garnish with scallions.