Vegetable chow mein or veg chow mein is one of the most popular vegetarian street foods in India. It's an Indo-Chinese stir-fried noodle dish that's very easy to make at home and gets ready in less than 30 minutes.
Vegetable Chow Mein is the first dish I ever cooked in my life. Even before learning how to make tea or cook instant noodles, I learned how to make veg chow mein at home.
This fact is enough to give an idea of how easy this recipe is.
It's also a very quick recipe and the only time-consuming step in it is chopping the vegetables. Once that's done your chow mein will be ready in no time.
If you like noodles and looking for a quick and easy recipe then this vegetable chow mein recipe is a must-try.
What is Chow Mein?
Chow Mein is a type of Chinese stir-fried noodle dish that is made both with and without meat. Chow means stir-fried and Mein means noodles.
It's very popular in India and a lot of other countries too, and most of them have a local version of this delicious noodle dish.
The vegetable chow mein recipe that I am sharing here is an Indian-style chow mein recipe. It's one of the most popular vegetarian Indo-Chinese recipes.
What's needed to make vegetable chow mein?
To make vegetable chow mein at home, you will need the ingredients shown in the image below:
Ingredient notes and substitute suggestions
The three main components of Vegetable Chow Mein are:
- Noodles: Generally, chow mein is made with egg noodles. In India, you can easily find eggless chow mein noodles as a lot of Indians don't eat eggs. However, if you don't eat eggs too and can't find egg-free chow mein noodles then feel free to use any flour noodles of medium thickness. You can use Hakka noodles or instant ramen too.
- Vegetables: The most commonly used vegetables in chow mein are cabbage, capsicum, carrots, and spring onion. You can also use bean sprouts, French beans, tofu, bok choy, mushrooms, or any other vegetable that you like in stir-fried noodles.
- Sauce/ condiments: The sauces generally added in Chow Mein are soy sauce, red and green chili sauce, vinegar, and oyster sauce. In India, oyster sauce is not used in chow mein and also since this is a vegan recipe, I have skipped that. I have added some tomato ketchup, the way it’s done by street vendors in India. You won’t be able to taste ketchup in chow mein but because of it, the sauce will get nicely coated on the noodles. Instead of ketchup, you can also use tomato paste.
How to make (step-by-step instructions)?
Step 1: Boil water in a large pot. Add some salt. When the water starts boiling, add noodles. Boil until the noodles are almost cooked. It's best to follow the instructions given on the packet of noodles you are using as different noodles need different cooking time.
Step 2: Strain the noodles and discard the water.
Step 3: Rinse noodles with cold water to stop further cooking. Overcooked noodles turn mushy.
Step 4: Drizzle around 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the noodles and gently toss until the oil evenly coats all the noodle strands. This step will help in avoiding the strands from sticking to each other. Keep the noodles aside.
Step 5: Put all the sauces, vinegar, salt, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Mix and keep aside.
Step 6: Heat oil in a large wok and add chopped garlic. Saute for a few seconds.
Steps 7 and 8: Add thinly sliced onion and saute until the onion turns translucent.
Step 9: Add shredded cabbage, carrot, bell peppers, and green chilies.
Step 10: Stir fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.
Step 11: Add the sauce mix.
Step 12: Stir fry the vegetables in sauce for about a minute on high flame.
Steps 13 and 14: Add boiled noodles to the wok.
Steps 15 and 16: Gently mix until the sauce evenly coats all the noodle strands. Keep the flame high flame as the noodles will also get stir-fried while getting mixed with the sauces and vegetables. It will add a nice smoky flavor to the chow mein.
Steps 17 and 18: Finally, add spring onion greens and mix.
Your delicious homemade veg chow mein is ready to be enjoyed!
Loaded with vegetables, this flavorful chow mein doesn't really need anything else on the side. However, if you want, you can serve any of the following dishes with veg chow mein:
Storing and reheating tips
To store, put the chow mein in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will be fine for 2-3 days.
To reheat, transfer the chow mein to a microwave-safe container. Add 1 tablespoon of water and microwave for a few minutes. Take out the container once in between and stir. Microwave again until evenly heated.
You can also reheat it on the stovetop. For that, transfer the chow mein to a large pan or wok. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover and reheat for around 5 minutes then remove the lid and reheat on a medium flame, stirring in between until nicely heated.
Recipe tips & tricks
- Don’t overcook the noodles, take them out of the boiling water around 1-2 minutes before they are completely cooked. Rinse with cold water, apply oil, and keep aside while you stir fry the vegetables. Applying oil will help prevent the noodle strands from sticking to each other.
- Use a large wok or pan to stir fry the noodles.
- Stir fry the vegetables and noodles on high flame.
- Since chow mein is cooked on high flame, keep all the vegetables, sauces, and noodles ready before you start the stir-frying step. Even mix all the sauces, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl so that you can add them all in one go.
- Soy sauce is already salty so add more salt carefully and only if needed.
- For extra flavor, drizzle a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil once the chow mein is ready.
Frequently asked questions
A lot of companies sell special Chow Mein noodles by that name only or a few also sell them by the name chow. But some of these noodles have eggs in them. If you don't eat eggs check the ingredients before buying.
Otherwise, buy any type of wheat noodle with a medium thickness. Even Hakka noodles or instant ramen can be used to make it. Don't use noodles with very thin strands like vermicelli to make chow mein.
No, rice noodles are not suitable for making chow mein.
Yes, you can freeze chow mein for 2-3 months, it will be fine.
You will find both vegan as well as vegetarian chow mein noodles in the market. Check the ingredients on the packet before buying if you have any dietary preferences.
If you follow my recipe, the chow mein will have moderate heat. If you want to make it spicier, add more chili sauce or drizzle some chili oil on top.
More easy vegan/ vegetarian noodle recipes
If you also love noodles and want to try more easy noodle recipes at home then don't miss trying the following links:
If you try any of my recipes, please rate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it on the recipe card and also leave your feedback in the comments section below. You can also follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and subscribe to my youtube channel.
Vegetable chow mein
- Large wok
- Cooking pot
- 275 grams noodles
- 2.5 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup carrot juliennes
- 1 cup bell pepper juliennes
- ¼ cup spring onion greens
- 1 medium-sized onion thinly sliced
- 5-6 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1-2 green chilies thinly sliced, optional
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons green chili sauce adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 + 1 tablespoons vegetable oil/ any neutral-flavored oil
- Water to cook noodles
- Boil water with some salt in a large pot.
- When the water starts boiling, add noodles and cook as per the instructions given on its packet.
- Once almost cooked, strain the noodles. Discard the water and rinse boiled noodles with cold water. Drizzle around 1 tablespoon of oil, gently toss and keep aside.
- In a bowl mix all the sauces, vinegar, ground black pepper, and salt. Keep the sauce blend aside too.
- Heat oil in a large wok or pan. Add chopped garlic and saute for a few seconds.
- Add sliced onion and stir fry until it becomes translucent.
- Add all the shredded vegetables and green chilies. Stir fry on a high flame for around 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.
- Add the sauce blend, mix, and stir fry for about a minute.
- Next, add boiled noodles and gently mix everything until the sauce evenly coats every noodle strand.
- Garnish with spring onion greens, mix, and enjoy!
- Don’t overcook the noodles, take them out of the boiling water around 1-2 minutes before they are completely cooked. Rinse with cold water, apply oil, and keep aside till you stir fry the vegetables. Applying oil will help to prevent the noodle strands to stick to each other.
- Always use a large utensil to make chow mein.
- Stir fry the vegetables and noodles on a high flame so that they remain crunchy.
- Chow mein is cooked on a high flame so keep everything ready before you start making it. Chop the vegetables, boil the noodles, and mix sauces with vinegar and pepper in a bowl before you start the cooking process. Once you start the stir-frying process everything will get cooked within a few minutes.
- More recipe tips and tricks are shared in the post above. Please follow them to make this recipe.