Veggie Lo Mein
There was a Chinese restaurant in the small Southern town where I grew up. The menu was displayed on one of those black boards that had the press-in off-white plastic letters. The usual suspects were on the menu: sweet and sour chicken, friend rice, teriyaki beef. Lo mein and chow mein also were listed. Next to the menu board was a handwritten sign taped to the wall. You could tell by the handwriting – the pressure of the strokes and the use of all capital letters, that the author was angry.
It said “DO NOT ASK THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHOW MEIN AND LO MEIN. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE, DON’T ORDER EITHER ONE.” Honestly, though, I doubt the grammar and spelling in the original sound was as sound as in my re-telling of it.
Even as a wee child, long before my days of reading Catch 22, I understood the impossibility of this statement. So I routinely ordered Mongolian beef.
I had heard that authentic lo mein noodles were hard to find, so when I ran across them at the market I quickly picked up a package. I think this meal was the first time I’d had lo mein and eating Chinese with pasta is a nice change from the usual rice. The sauce was simple and delicious – the noodles soaked it right up. This is a delicious, healthy, weeknight dinner that will definitely be repeated.
Lo Mein (sauce from Three Many Cooks)
- 2 cups snow peas, washed and trimmed
- 1 red bell pepper, washed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cups mung bean sprouts
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 8 ounces lo mein noodles
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook lo mein noodles as directed.
- Meanwhile, heat a 12″ skillet over high heat. Coat with cooking spray and when hot, add bell pepper. Stir fry 3-4 minutes until they begin to blacken. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and snowpeas. Cook until snowpeas are bright green.
- Combine broth, soy sauce, oil, and brown sugar in a small bowl. When vegetables are done cooking, add sauce to skillet and coat vegetables.
- In a large bowl combine scallions, bean sprouts, cooked lo mein noodles, and stir fried vegetables and sauce.
- Add additional soy sauce if desired.