I'm sure Asian cooking guru Jaden of Steamy Kitchen would cringe if she saw this noodle recipe, but I can't help it. It was my go-to dish my last year in college and it's a keeper. My senior year I shared a big beach house with four other girls in Santa Cruz, California. I seemed to be the only one really interested in cooking. One was a Japanese American basketball player who ate bowls and bowls of rice, one was a perpetual dieter, another favored baked or fried foods that always seemed to incorporate Crisco, and one was a pint-sized Chinese American sophomore from Sacramento who came from a very large family. She didn't cook very frequently, but this easy noodle recipe was something I learned from her.
I recently received a number of Annie Chun's noodles. The dried chow mein noodles reminded me of this long forgotten recipe. Perfect for a college student or anyone else for that matter, it's fast, cheap and easy. It can be eaten very simply or dressed up any number of ways with toppings. It's good served hot or cold. I like it with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and green onions and shreds of chicken. But it's surprisingly satisfying plain too. I have no idea if it is in any way authentic, I only know it makes a comforting meal when you can't think any further than the pantry.
When you make chow mein noodles be sure to rinse them or they can get very sticky. I've used this sauce on flat rice noodles and even on spaghetti in a pinch. While the recipe I learned was equal parts ketchup and oyster sauce, you could add ginger, toasted sesame oil, Chinese chile garlic sauce, Sriracha sauce, whatever you like! It is one of the reasons I always have a bottle of good quality oyster sauce on hand.
12 ounces dry chow mein noodles
3 Tablespoons ketchup
3 Tablespoons oyster sauce
Sliced green onions, cilantro, cucumber, roast pork or shredded chicken
Cook noodles according to instructions and rinse briefly. Combine ketchup and oyster sauce in a large bowl, then add noodles and toss to combine. Top with any garnishes you like.
Note: This recipe is very similar to one in the New York Times by Mark Bittman called Egg Noodles with Soy Broth. It calls for noodles dressed in equal parts soy sauce, ketchup and a dash of rice wine vinegar.