Recipe: Chow Mein

Viv’s unique take on the classic Chinese stir-fried noodle dish.

Chow Mein main1

CHOW Mein is a Chinese-style dish of fried noodles with shredded meat (or seafood) and vegetables. My version is a little different as there’s not a fried noodle in sight. I’ve been making this for well over 40 years and, truth be known, I probably got it from my mum. It’s packed full of mince and vegetables, and it’s a delicious, easy meal that everyone will enjoy.

Serves: 4-6
2 tbsp oil
1-2 onions – chopped
2 cloves garlic – crushed (or 2 tsp paste/minced variety)
2 stalks celery – chopped
1 large carrot – diced
Handful of fresh green beans – cut into small pieces
1-2 tbsp curry powder (to taste)
750g minced chicken, pork or beef
1 can corn kernels – drained
1 can pineapple pieces – optional
3-4 tbsp rice
1 packet chicken noodle soup
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1-2 tsp soy sauce (to taste)
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper (to taste)
½ small cabbage – sliced
Water or stock (if needed)
Finely sliced spring onions – optional

Preparation: 15 mins (approx.)
Cooking: 20 mins (approx.)

  • Heat the oil in a camp oven or a large, heavy-based pan.
  • Add onion, garlic, celery, carrot and beans and sauté over a medium heat for a few minutes. Add the curry powder and sauté for a further two minutes until you can smell the aroma of the curry. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat a little more oil if need be, then add the mince and brown, making sure you break it up so there are no lumps.
  • You can add a little more curry powder to the mince at this stage, and stir for a few minutes.
  • Return the sautéed vegetables to the pan, along with the corn, pineapple (pieces and juice), rice, noodle soup, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and chicken stock. Mix well.
  • Taste and then season to your liking.
  • Bring to the boil and then add the cabbage to the top of the mixture. Cover and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Monitor the liquid and add some more chicken stock or water if needed.
  • As the Chow Mein cooks, the rice will swell and take up the liquid. You need enough liquid in the pot to cook the rice, but not too much or you’ll have a soup.


  • Add whatever vegetables you prefer.
  • If you like it hotter, add some finely chopped fresh red chilli or a teaspoon or more of crushed chilli paste. You can also add more curry powder.
  • Serve it sprinkled with fried noodles.

It’s also great in a sandwich or on dry biscuits the next day.


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