Chow mein is a popular Chinese dish of stir fried noodles with mix vegetables, soy sauce, aromatics and spices. My street style veg chowmein recipe is a delightful Indo-Chinese fusion. This vegan dish is a savory masterpiece of smooth, velvety noodles and oodles of crunchy veggies. You’re sure to fall in love with this Asian noodles dish; it is utterly slurp-able to the last bite.
Table of Contents
About Chow Mein Recipe
Making veg chow mein is as easy as stir-frying noodles and veggies together. In fact, if the vegetables are already chopped for you, the whole dish comes together in just minutes! For this reason, I highly recommend you get out your food processor; it’ll make the whole process a snap.
This particular recipe is inspired by the taste of chow mein served from Indian street carts. The tangle of noodles and vegetables are tossed in a tangy-sweet sauce that is nearly addictive. It is a favorite in our house.
Making chowmein recipe at home is actually quite easy, as this recipe will soon show. It is also entirely customizable based on your needs. If you are gluten-free, simply swap in gluten-free noodles of your choice and opt for tamari or coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
You can also swap in your own favorite assortment of vegetables, making this a lovely recipe for cleaning out your crisper drawer at the end of the week.
If you are looking for an easy way to get your kids to eat more veggies, this chow mein recipe is a great place to start. For a healthier option I recommend using whole wheat noodles or buckwheat noodles.
You can also check out other veg noodles recipes on the blog like:
Serve this veg chowmein with or without any sauce or accompaniments. You’re sure to love them either way!
How to Make Chow Mein
Veggie Prep and Cooking Noodles
1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt to the water.
2. Add 150 to 200 grams noodles. No need to break them. Here I have used hakka noodles. But you can use whole wheat noodles, soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) or chowmein noodles or ramen noodles.
3. Cook the noodles according to package directions.
4. Allow the noodles to cook until tender and softened. You don’t need to cook the noodles al dente as later we only toss the noodles with the stir-fried veggies and do not cook them further. But if you prefer, you can cook them until al dente.
Different types of noodles require different cooking times, so prepare noodles according to the package instructions.
5. Drain the cooked noodles in a colander.
6. Rinse the noodles very well under running water to stop the cooking process.
7. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil to the noodles. You can also use any neutral-flavored oil.
8. Toss them well so that the oil gets coated evenly on the noodles to prevent them from sticking together. Cover and keep the noodles aside.
9. While the noodles are cooking, chop and grate the veggies. Also chop the button mushrooms. Set aside.
10. Prepare cornflour (aka cornstarch) slurry with 2 teaspoons cornflour and 2 tablespoons water. Keep aside.
Making Chow Mein
11. Heat 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan or wok on medium heat. You can use any neutral-flavored oil.
Add the following ingredients:
- 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped green chilies
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Sauté the green chilies, ginger and garlic for about 20 to 30 seconds. Green chilies add quite some heat to the dish. Skip if you do not prefer them or if making for kids.
12. Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions. Stir and sauté for a minute. Instead of onions, you can use spring onion whites (like in the recipe video) or shallots.
13. Add ¾ to 1 cup sliced button mushrooms and ¼ to ⅓ cup finely chopped french beans.
14. Stir and sauté on medium heat till the edges of the mushrooms get lightly browned.
15. Add the following ingredients:
- ¾ cup grated or shredded carrots
- ¾ cup shredded cabbage, green or purple cabbage
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped celery, optional
- ¼ cup thinly sliced capsicum (bell pepper)
16. Stir and increase the heat to a high. Stir fry everything on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
17. Add 3 teaspoons soy sauce. At this step you can also add tomato sauce or red chili sauce/green chili sauce. Since I already added green chilies, I did not add chili sauce.
18. Add ½ teaspoon black pepper or white pepper powder or add as required
19. Season with salt as required. At this step you can also choose to add tofu cubes or sprouts. Add them and stir fry for a minute.
20. Stir everything and then add the cornflour slurry. Be sure to stir the cornflour paste before adding it to the vegetables and keep the heat to a low.
21. Stir and sauté for a minute on medium-low heat.
22. Add the cooked noodles and increase the heat again.
23. Stir and quickly toss the noodles with the veggie mixture. A lot of handwork is required while tossing and mixing the noodles.
24. Lastly, add ½ teaspoon rice vinegar and give a final mix to chowmein. Remove from heat.
You can also use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in place of rice vinegar. If you are not fond of vinegar then feel free to skip adding it.
25. Serve veg chowmein steaming hot. Feel free to garnish with 1 to 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and some spring onion greens.
I recommend to enjoy a bowl of chow mein noodles steaming hot for the best taste and flavor.
Chow Mein Tips and Variations
Making chow mein is as easy as making any other stir-fry. To ensure smooth sailing, be sure to note the following tips:
- Remember to keep all the sauces and seasonings ready when you begin to stir fry the veggies. You won’t have the time to go fishing through your pantry once you start the process!
- I add a cornstarch slurry to the noodles, which results in a smooth, velvety texture for the sauce. You can completely skip adding cornflour paste if corn is not part of your diet.
While this simple veg chowmein noodles is wonderful as written, there are plenty of ways to customize it to your liking. Here are a few ideas:
- Add your choice of noodles and veggies. You can opt for regular wheat or whole wheat noodles, egg noodles or gluten free noodles. Any veggies that you would normally stir fry will taste great here, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
- If you include eggs in your diet, you can add a scrambled egg or two to the stir fry near the end of cooking.
- If you are not fond of mushrooms, try adding tofu, paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or sprouts.
- This chow mein noodles recipe can also be made without alliums. Just skip the onion and garlic.
- To get a sweeter tangy sauce, increase the amount of tomato ketchup you add.
- To make a more mild version of the sauce, omit the green chiles. This is advisable if you are making veg chowmein for kids.
- If you are gluten free, opt for tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
Not at all. While I love the smooth, velvety texture the cornstarch gives the sauce, you can easily omit it if corn is not part of your diet. You can also try to achieve the same silky effect by making a slurry of arrowroot or potato flour instead.
Sure! Simply swap in coconut aminos or Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce. Alternatively, you can use a touch of tamarind sauce; just note that this option will give the veg chowmein a bit more of a sour/tangy flavor than the other substitutes.
Any long, slightly chewy noodles should do the trick. You can use anything from spaghetti to ramen noodles. If you are gluten free, simply swap in your favorite long noodle substitute. I opted to use hakka noodles, but traditionally chow mein is made using a wheat and egg based noodle.
Indo Chinese Recipes
Indo Chinese Recipes
Indo Chinese Recipes
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Chow Mein | Veg Chowmein Recipe
For cooking noodles
- 150 to 200 grams hakka noodles – swap with plain or whole wheat noodles, soba noodles or flat noodles or chow mein noodles
- 5 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or any neutral flavored oil
For Cornstarch Slurry – Optional
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2.5 to 3 tablespoons oil – any neutral flavored oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped green chilies (skip if making for small kids) or add ¾ to 1 teaspoon spicy red chili sauce or green chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or ⅓ cup chopped spring onion whites – reserve the spring onion greens for garnish
- ¾ to 1 cup chopped button mushrooms
- ¼ to ⅓ cup finely chopped french beans
- ¾ cup grated carrots or shredded carrots
- ¾ cup shredded cabbage – green or purple cabbage
- ¼ cup thinly sliced capsicum (bell pepper) – can use green or yellow or red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped celery – optional
- ¼ cup sprouts – optional
- ⅓ to ½ cup tofu cubes – optional
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce or add as required
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup or add as required, optional
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or white pepper powder, add as required
- salt as required add in moderation as soy sauce already has a lot of salt
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar or regular vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped spring onion greens (scallion greens)
- Cook noodles according to the package instructions. The noodles don't need to be cooked till al dente. Since towards the end we will be just tossing the noodles with the stir fried veggies. But if you prefer you can cook them until al dente.
- Drain the water from the cooked noodles in a colander. Rinse noodles in running water very well. This method stops the cooking process.
- Add toasted sesame oil to the noodles. Toss them well, so that the oil gets coated evenly on the noodles. This method gets rid of stickiness from the noodles. Cover and keep the noodles aside.
- When the noodles are cooking, you can chop and grate the veggies.
- Prepare corn starch slurry or paste with the cornstarch and water. Keep aside.
Making chow mein
- Heat oil in a pan or wok. On medium heat, first saute the green chilies, ginger and garlic for about 30 seconds. Green chilies add quite some heat in the dish. Skip if you do not prefer them or if making for kids.
- Add chopped onions or spring onions. Saute for a minute.
- Add sliced mushrooms and finely chopped french beans.
- Stir and saute on a medium heat till the edges of the mushroom get lightly browned.
- Add grated carrots, shredded cabbage and sliced bell pepper (capsicum).
- Stir and increase the heat to a high. Stir fry everything on a high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add soy sauce. At this step you can also add tomato sauce or red chili sauce or green chili sauce. Since I have already added green chilies, I have not added the chili sauce.
- Season with ground black pepper or white pepper and salt as required. Mix well. At this step you can opt to add sprouts or tofu. Add them and stir fry for a minute.
- Lower the heat and add the cornstarch paste. Stir the cornstarch paste in the bowl very well before adding to the stir fried vegetables.
- Mix and sauté for a minute on medium-low heat.
- Add the cooked noodles. Increase the heat to high. Mix and toss the noodles with the stir fried veggies.
- Lastly add vinegar and give a final mix to chowmein. Switch off the heat.
- Serve chow mein steaming hot in serving bowls.
- You can also garnish chowmein with about 1 to 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and some chopped spring onion greens.
- Remember to keep all the sauces and seasonings ready when you begin to stir fry the veggies.
- You can add veggies like cabbage, carrots, spring onions, zucchini, capsicum, french beans, bok choy, napa cabbage, broccoli, corn etc.
- You can use noodles variety like whole wheat noodles, ramen noodles, soba noodles, chow mein noodles, hakka noodles etc.
- To make gluten-free chowmein use your favorite brand of gluten-free noodles. Also swap soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos or Bragg’s liquid aminos.
- You can add tofu or sprouts to the noodles.
- You can make it without onion and garlic also. If making for small kids, then skip the green chilies, black pepper and use whole wheat noodles or soba noodles.
- The recipe can be scaled to make a small or big batch as per your requirements.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Chowmein Recipe post from the archives (November 2014) has been republished and updated on 26 September 2021.