As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the cuisine of the Caribbean is heavily influenced by the many cultures and people which make up the melting pot the Caribbean is. This chicken lo mein is something I remember purchasing from food trucks in San Fernando (next to the train engine) after school. Back then the menu of the day was fried rice, lo mein (or chow mein) and five spice chicken (fried with that crispy skin). I could still taste the uniqueness the Caribbean added to these wonderful Chinese dishes. Funny thing is, there were no Chinese cooks in any of these food trucks!
8 oz egg noodle
2 cups bean sprouts (or cabbage)
1-2 cups of pak choi
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 chili pepper (I used bird peppers)
1 1/2 cup sweet pepper (bell – different colors)
1 cup broccoli
1 cup celery
2 small chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 table spoon vegetable oil (see note below)
For the sauce….
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soya sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Notes: Try to cut all the vegetables the same size for uniform cooking. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoon veg oil, but after cooking the chicken you may need to add an extra tablespoon of oil to the pot. Depending on how seasoned your wok is or if you’re using a non stick pan or not. I used a Guyanese style chow mein noodle (egg), which I found in the local West Indian store. I cooked the noodle according to the directions on the package, but I did cut the recommended cooking time by half as I knew I was going to cook it a bit further in the main lo mein pot and I didn’t want it to go soggy.
Start by preparing all the vegetables (wash – chop) and also slice the chicken into very thin slices, wash, dry and get ready to cook.
Heat your wok or large non-stick pot on med/high heat and add the vegetable oil. Now add the slices of chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. Remember to keep stirring so it cooks evenly. Now turn down the heat and remove the pieces of chicken and set aside. At this time you should also cook your egg noodles, drain and allow to cool.
If your wok is dry, do add a bit more oil and get ready to continue cooking. Turn the heat back up to med/high and add the onion, garlic (grated) and grated ginger to the pot. Allow that to cook for a minute or two to release all it’s wonderful flavors.
Now add the carrots (remember to slice/chop everything thin so it cooks fast), bell peppers, hot pepper, celery, broccoli and salt. Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Then in a small bowl combine the oyster, soya and hoisin sauces.. then add to the wok and stir. Now add back the pieces of cooked chicken.
Stir in the chopped pak choi and allow to cook for another minute before adding the cooked egg noodles. Give this a good stir to coat everything with the different sauces we added moments ago.
As you can tell, this dish cooks very fast so it’s important to have everything prepped and handy. Now top with the chopped scallions and bean sprouts and cook for a minute. Remember to keep stirring.
I know I didn’t mention this in the ingredient list (but it’s in the main pic above), but feel free to top the dish with about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil for a bright finish and to add another layer of flavor. I’m not a huge fan of sesame oil, so I only added a small amount.. but you can obviously add more if you wish. Remember to also check for salt and adjust accordingly.
This is a quick and absolutely wonderful dish you must try. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the Chinese influence on Caribbean cuisine, as I must admit that I have a weakness for Chinese food… especially the way we make it in the Caribbean. Once you’ve had Caribbean style Chinese food, you’ll know what I mean.