i can’t tell you how many times this year i’ve craved a good bowl (or takeout box) of veggie lo mein! it happens at least once a month, sometimes when i’m up late doing schoolwork & too busy to cook. other times, i will have plenty of time to cook but i will just be too damn lazy. because these cravings hit quite frequently, i’ve had a small sampling of madison’s lo mein scene & let’s just say i’m not that impressed.
first, i tried some from ventiane palace, a little lao-thai place near my apartment. it was awful–my noodles were absolutely drowned in the not-so-tasty sauce & even though i was starving with no food in my fridge, i couldn’t bring myself to take more than a few bites. the second place i tried it from was hong kong wok, a chinese place at hilldale. it was okay, but there was still too much sauce that was bland at best. the last place i got lo mein from was the dumpling haus. it was probably my favorite because it wasn’t swimming in sauce, but there was very little flavor to the dish. i doused it in sriracha & vowed to make my own lo mein soon.
monday night, i did just that & i was so excited with the results. saucy, but not too saucy & very flavorful with a spicy kick (& that’s before it got the sriracha treatment). as usual, when i figure out how easy it is to make something i love at home, i get mad that i haven’t been making it all along. don’t repeat my mistake! make this the next time you’re craving some takeout. & don’t underestimate the benefits of using fresh local ingredients–almost every vegetable in this dish is currently in season. i can always tell the difference, especially with the garlic & onions–whose flavors are much more potent & noticeable when purchased locally.
– 8 oz. spaghetti
-1 cup (about 1 bunch) bok choy
-1 cup bean sprouts
-1.5 cups chopped or shredded carrots
-1.5 cups sliced button mushrooms
-2 green onions (save scallions for garnish), sliced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tbsp cornstarch
-1 cup chicken broth
-1/4 cup hoisin sauce
-2 tbsp honey
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp fresh grated ginger
-1/4 tsp cayenne (or more if you’re feeling feisty like i was)
-sriracha or other hot sauce to serve (optional)
1) cook & drain pasta according to package instructions (usually 8-10 minutes in boiling water) until al dente.
2) heat oil over a large skillet & add garlic, mushrooms, carrots, green onions (but not scallions, save those for after) & bok choy stems. cook until tender.
3) stir in bean sprouts & bok choy. cook for one minute.
4) add in remaining ingredients (save for scallions & sriracha or hot sauce), stirring everything to combine well.
5) cook a few more minutes until bubbly & slightly thickened.
6) add to cooked pasta. garnish individual servings with scallions & serve with sriracha or other hot sauce if desired.
*this recipe makes about 6 servings & is adapted from here.