Hel-lo-lo-mein! This 15-minute wonder is absolutely my new go-to for a quick summer Asian noodle stir fry. Lo Mein FTW!
Please tell me you guys eat, love, and are generally familiar with Lo Mein.
Maybe you are a Panda Buffet regular and you not only know Lo Mein, but the people at Panda know YOU when you walk in the door and they waste no time piling high your little plastic tray with scoop after scoop of those stir fried noodles while you watch a little protectively from the other side of the glass, because couldn’t they have given you a bigger scoop like they did last time? come on puhleeeease.
or maybe you mostly know Lo Mein from your growing up days because good news, kids! mom and dad are ordering Chinese takeout tonight (yasssss) and little pre-teen you is most definitely going to eat your weight in salty Asian noodles and then revisit it in the fridge, cold, right before bed, amiright?
Or maybe you’ve never had Lo Mein and you’re giving the rest of us all the look right now. I hear you, sitting high up there, saying that you would never eat cold takeout noodles right before bed. There is judgement in your heart. You think you’re not into this whole stir fried noodles and vegetables thing. In which case:
It’s time for you to get Lo Mein in your life, friends. This is your big day. We’ve all been waiting for you. Welcome to your Lo Mein intervention!
Honestly, WHO EVEN KNEW how easy it could be to make Lo Mein at home? And as a follow up to those of you who did already know, WHY DIDN’T YOU EVEN TELL ME?
HOW TO MAKE OUR EASY LO MEIN (40 SEC):
Until two weeks ago, I always just assumed that this was some kind of lengthy process involving mysteriously delicious ingredients that I wouldn’t have in my standard Midwestern kitchen, and plus, did you know that you can get a platter of Lo Mein large enough to feed the neighborhood for just $6.50 at the Panda Buffet? So why would we even do this at home? I’m serious – let’s go.
Except hold the phone for just a sec.
- Making Lo Mein is not a lengthy process – it’s going to come together in ONE PAN in something like 15 minutes, start to finish. JOY of JOYS. I seriously had no idea when I set out to learn about all things Lo Mein that it would be such a gem of a quick + easy recipe, and not in the way where you’re skimping on anything. Just by nature, it is that simple.
- Lo Mein doesn’t require fancy or unusual ingredients. Like, at all. A quality soy sauce and sesame oil combo is basically it. That’s your Lo Mein magic right there. For real – just one bottle of good soy sauce and you’re in Lo Mein business. I mean, almost everyone, no matter what their cooking level is, has a bottle of soy sauce in their fridge, right? or at the very least, a few PACKETS of soy sauce from leftover takeout? You know I see you out there.
- And finally, Lo Mein is awesome as takeout, but it’s more awesome as a mostly-healthy takeout at home dish that can simultaneously clean out the fridge by using up any and all veggies and proteins that a person could ever want in their silky stir-fried noodles. The happiness I feel for this concept… like wows. You do not even know. Recipe scrappiness fulfills a piece of my soul.
Things to Know About Lo Mein
You can use almost any vegetables and/or protein.
Ideas: Red pepper, carrots, spinach, bok choy, mushrooms, snap peas, onions, cabbage, broccoli. // Chicken, shrimp, eggs, beef, pork, tofu.
You need a good soy sauce, and I HIGHLY recommend the 2-types-of-soy-sauce trick. It’s not really a trick as much as it is a tiny thing that makes a big difference. It’s probably more likely that you have light or low sodium soy sauce in your fridge, but tip alert: dark soy sauce is so rich in umami flavor and it takes this Lo Mein “sauce” situation to a whole new level.
Because the quality of soy sauce is important here (I mean, it’s one of literally THREE ingredients that will make the sauce for your stir fried noodles), I did not use soy sauce packets from leftover takeout.
This two soy-sauce combo is the best way for Lo Mein, and Pearl River Bridge is the cream of the crop. It is a naturally brewed premier Chinese brand of soy sauce, and thanks to the internet, you can have it at your house in a snap like a two-day-delivery pro.
Shake that up in a jar with a quick hit of sesame oil and a pinch of sugar. annnnd DONE.
Then there’s the noodles.
You could use Lo Mein specific noodles if you can find it fresh or frozen at your grocery store. I could not find it at any of my regular places, so in its place I have used either dry ramen if you can find it (as long as you’re hitting up Amazon for the soy sauce, grab a box of this ramen, too) and/or just regular spaghetti.
…Is that blasphemy to Lo Mein? to use spaghetti?
I don’t know, I’m thinking we both care more about practicality than total and complete authenticity.
Go on and do what you need to do.
And in a quick flash of the pan, with the sauce and the noodles and the veggies all partying it up in there, we’ve reached the tippy top of the Lo Mein journey. The part where you wind those silky noodles up on a fork with a few pieces of caramelized pan-fried veggies and treat yourself right.
Easy Homemade Lo Mein, comin in hot!
- 2 tablespoons Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Pearl River Bridge light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4-6 ounces uncooked ramen noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 green onions, chopped (separate green parts from white parts – you’ll use both separately)
- 2-3 cups julienne cut or chopped vegetables like carrots, red peppers, cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, or broccoli
- 1-2 tablespoons mirin
- Sauce: Shake all the sauce ingredients together in a jar.
- Noodles: Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Lo Mein: Heat the sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Add the green onions (white parts) and vegetables to the hot pan. Stir fry until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mirin to loosen the browned bits up off the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked noodles and about half of the sauce – toss around in the hot pan to combine. Add more sauce if needed (I usually gauge the amount of sauce I want by the color of the noodles – you want a medium brown color, not too light, not too dark). Serve topped with remaining green onions!
If you want to add a protein, stir fry it first, before the vegetables, then remove from heat while you cook the vegetables. Add back into the pan at the end with the noodles.