Chow Mein | Veg Chowmein Recipe

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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.

overhead shot of chowmein in a bowl with bamboo chopsticks by the side on a dark brown cotton napkin

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!

Step-by-Step Guide

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.

water boiling in pan

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.

noodles added to boiling water

3. Cook the noodles according to package directions.

cooking noodles for veg chow mein recipe

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.

cooked noodles still in water; fork is showing finished consistency

5. Drain the cooked noodles in a colander.

noodles in a mesh strainer

6.  Rinse the noodles very well under running water to stop the cooking process.

rinsing noodles to make chow mein noodles recipe

7. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil to the noodles. You can also use any neutral-flavored oil.

add oil to noodles to keep from sticking

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.

noodles that have been tossed in oil for veg chowmein recipe

9. While the noodles are cooking, chop and grate the veggies. Also chop the button mushrooms. Set aside.

chopped veggies on a silver plate waiting to stir fry

10. Prepare cornflour (aka cornstarch) slurry with 2 teaspoons cornflour and 2 tablespoons water. Keep aside.

corn starch paste in red measuring cup

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.

sauting chillies and garlic for veg chowmein noodles recipe

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.

add onions to stir fry

13. Add ¾ to 1 cup sliced button mushrooms and ¼ to ⅓ cup finely chopped french beans.

add mushrooms to make vegetable chow mein

14. Stir and sauté on medium heat till the edges of the mushrooms get lightly browned.

cooking mushrooms until they become golden on the edges

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) 
add remaining vegetables to make chowmein noodles recipe

16. Stir and increase the heat to a high. Stir fry everything on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

stir fry vegetables for another few 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.

add soy sauce to vegetable chow mein mix

18. Add ½ teaspoon black pepper or white pepper powder or add as required

black pepper being added to veggie stir fry

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.

add salt to vegetable chow mein mix

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.

add corn starch paste to veggie pan

21. Stir and sauté for a minute on medium-low heat.

sautéing vegetable chow mein mix

22. Add the cooked noodles and increase the heat again.

add noodles to veggies

23. Stir and quickly toss the noodles with the veggie mixture. A lot of handwork is required while tossing and mixing the noodles.

stir vegetables and chow mein noodles together

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.

add vinegar to chow mein to finish recipe

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.

veg chowmein in an orange and white bowl with a pair of wooden chopsticks

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If you include eggs in your diet, you can add a scrambled egg or two to the stir fry near the end of cooking.
  3. If you are not fond of mushrooms, try adding tofu, paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or sprouts.
  4. This chow mein noodles recipe can also be made without alliums. Just skip the onion and garlic.
  5. To get a sweeter tangy sauce, increase the amount of tomato ketchup you add.
  6. To make a more mild version of the sauce, omit the green chiles. This is advisable if you are making veg chowmein for kids.
  7. If you are gluten free, opt for tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

FAQs

Do I have to add the cornflour/cornstarch slurry?

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.

Can I make this without soy sauce?

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.

What are the best noodles to use?

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.

More Recipes With Noodles!

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chow mein in an orange and white bowl with a pair of wooden chopsticks

Chow Mein | Veg Chowmein Recipe

Chow mein is a popular Chinese dish of stir fried noodles with mix vegetables, soy sauce, aromatics and spices. Chow mein noodles is also a popular Indian street food.
4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Cuisine Indo Chinese
Course Main Course
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

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

Other Ingredients

  • 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
  • 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

For Garnish

  • 1 to 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped spring onion greens (scallion greens)

Instructions
 

Cooking noodles

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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)

Nutrition Facts
Chow Mein | Veg Chowmein Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 368 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Sodium 1038mg45%
Potassium 442mg13%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 5547IU111%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 5mg33%
Vitamin K 30µg29%
Calcium 59mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 39µg10%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 49mg12%
Phosphorus 156mg16%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Chowmein Recipe post from the archives (November 2014) has been republished and updated on 26 September 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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57 Comments

  1. I have tried most of your recipes. I have no words to describe. Thank you is an understatement. My family, friends and I are great fans of yours. Cheers….5 stars

    1. Welcome Latha. Thanks a lot for your kind words and positive feedback.

  2. Hi,

    This is Pratik here. Im really eager to try this recipe out. Only problem is I don’t know where to find corn starch. Im in Mumbai and looked in a couple of grocery stores but they don’t seem to know what it is. Can you please help me as to where I could buy it from?

    Thank5 stars

    1. just tell them corn flour. they will give you the packet. actually in india its called as corn flour outside india corn starch. many brands are available which sell corn flour in india.

      1. Hey, thank you so much for the prompt reply. I’ll go ahead and do the same. Although to clear out this confusion I did look up the difference between the 2 and found out that they are not the same things. That’s why I thought I would ask.

        Thanks

        1. welcome pratik. the confusion is due to the fact that in west, the yellow colored maize flour is called as corn flour. in india we call it as makki ka atta. the white colored flour is called as corn starch in west and here we call it as corn flour. same thing, but different names.

        2. Wow, Im really amazed with your knowledge about these things. Is there any other blog or some place where you keep writing about such things? I’ll make sure to follow you. Cause honestly this is not written anywhere so there is no way for people to know.5 stars

        3. thanks a lot pratik. this is the only blog where i share whatever i know about food, cooking and recipes. many things i have learnt during my professional training in cooking as a student of home science.

  3. Hi,

    Thank you for the recipes. Haven’t tried any but I am sure they’ll be delicious. I miss indo-Chinese food. The restaurants here just don’t have that authentic taste except for far and few!
    It would really appreciate it if you could clarify the following for me.
    What is the difference between chowmein and Hakka noodles?
    What is the difference between manchow soup and hot and sour soup?
    I am in NYC. The celery generally available here is more stems and less leaves. What is preferable for your recipes?

    Thanks!

    1. thanks and welcome AA. your queries below:

      1. hakka noodles is from the chinese cuisine. i have read that hakka cuisine originated in china from the hakka people. since the chinese inhabitants in india, were hakka people, these noodles here started being called as hakka noodles. chow mein is also from the chinese cuisine, but i think the original method or recipe has been adapted depending on the countries it is popular. both are stir fried noodles. whereas hakka noodles is always stir fried, chow mein has two variants – stir fried and fried. both taste different.
      2. i suppose in the manchow soup noodles are added and in hot and sour soup, they are not.
      3. celery stem is added. leaves can be skipped. i usually add celery stems.

    1. farah, it makes the chow mein smooth and gives a glaze. if you want then you can skip also.

  4. the receipe looks good and easy to make . I wud love to make it. My son relishes noodles. The step by step picture presentation is very effective.thanks ..5 stars

    1. glad you liked the veg chowmein noodles and thankyou for positive feedback 🙂

    1. just to give a smooth and silky texture to the noodles. you can skip if you want.

  5. I have tried so many recipies of yours. I have learnt a lot. Ur step by step procedure helps a lot. Everyone loves my cooked food. Thanks for such good recipies.

  6. I am regular visitor of ur blog n have tried a lot of ur recipes. Tried out the chow mein noodles last night and it was perfect ! I added some scrambled eggs at the end for my husband and he loved it !

    1. pleased to know this glad your hubby liked the noodles 🙂 thankyou for your kind and positive words.

  7. your site is amazing !!! I cook for my husband which indian and loves the dishes !!! thank you so much.
    I love the picture guide as it always helps me .

    1. pleased to know this helen 🙂 thankyou for your positive words and you are welcome.

  8. Hi

    Is corn starch same.as.cornflour which we use as a thickener in soups etc? Can i use cornflour for this recipe?

    Thanks

    1. in india, what we call as cornflour is basically corn starch – which is used as a thickening and binding agent.

  9. I love the recipes made by you..veg chowmin is my favourite..I added small fried paneer piece’s to it and it was yummy..

  10. Thank you so much for recipe Idid though add 2tsp BBQ spice and left out the salt it was very much enjoyed

  11. Hello friend thanks for the good recipes and the detailed steps of preparing each. pls, am allergic to soy products. what can I use instead of soysauce?. What is the role of cornstarch? Can I use millet instead of corn? Thanks and more grace to you.

    1. skip soy sauce. an alternative is to use a bit of tamarind sauce. just a bit. its not a substitute, but will give you some hints of sourness. skip cornstarch. its just added to give a smoothness in this recipe.

  12. I oft visit your website and today made veg hot n sour soup…..it was simply super good….I too like you both am into spirituality ….simply enjoy this site and cooking with it….all the v best

    Regards
    Sonali Bhide4 stars

  13. Hi Dassana, I just wanted to tell you that this is my go to site for any dish that I have a craving for. It never fails me. I have made about 6-8 of your other recipes. All successful each and every time. I tried this chow mein recipe today and it is delicious! Thank you for your efforts. The photos, the tested recipes are all awesome!5 stars

    1. welcome sneha. glad to know this. thanks for sharing this positive feedback.

  14. Hi Dasanna,

    Thanks, I am learning a lot from you.

    I am new to Asian dishes. Can you tell me the difference of chow mein& noodles with pasta (spagetti)? Can we use those names interchangebly?

    Thanks.

    1. both noodles and spaghetti are different as well as their textures when cooked are different. however, that said you can do substitute noodles with spaghetti or otherwise. generally egg noodles are use for chow mein recipes. but you can also use hakka noodles.

  15. Hi Dasanna,

    thank you for the recipe.it was my first ever chow mein experience and it went well.
    but my husband would like the noodles to be a bit crispy and chewy at the same time. Any idea on how to achieve that?

    1. actually chow mein are made two ways. there is fried version and the other one is this version. for the fried version, you will have to first boil the noodles till al dente. then prepare the veggie sauce and keep aside. for the veggies, just follow the recipe without adding the noodles. after the you add the corn starch paste, cook for a couple of minutes, so that the corn starch gets cooked. you can also skip adding corn starch to the veggies. heat a few tbsp of oil in another pan. place the noodles and then pan fry them till crisp and a bit golden. turn over and fry the other side. then place the pan fried noodles on a plate and top with the veggie sauce. this will give you a crisp and chewy version of veg chow mein.

  16. awesomeeeeee….colourful…..yummyyyy….mommyyyyyy please make this fa meeee…..i love noodlessss….

  17. Chow mein is actually my fav dish and i cook it in various ways but the recipe you have mentioned I have never ever tried this way. I am surely going to make it on sunday as a dinner…Just loved the recipe.5 stars

  18. Hi Dassana,

    I am a regular on your blog, and I enjoy all your recipes.
    I had one question for you here, why do you add corn starch for this recipe ?

    Achala

    1. thanka achala. corn starch is added just to give a smoothness in the noodles. they taste pretty different when added corn starch and when just made without it.

      1. Hey Dassana,

        Is corn starch good for health? 2tbsp won’t kill me 🙂 but still wanted to know.

        1. neha, it is just starch. there is no nutrient in it. more info you will find in google. if you don’t want to use corn starch then to thicken the soup you can use arrow root flour or potato flour.