Make these springy Shrimp Lo Mein noodles at home in just 17 minutes! All the flavors of your favorite Chinese takeout spot, but healthier!
Shrimp Lo Mein – 虾捞面
When you order Chinese food for delivery, what’s the one thing that’s ALWAYS in the bag?
For Ben, it’s dry-fried green beans with garlic sauce. No matter what else is wedged into that paper delivery bag, the green beans will surely be there.
For me it’s lo mein.
I absolutely adore the springy texture of the noodles – along with the savory and perfectly smoky flavor infused into the dish from assertive Chinese base-sauces and a well seasoned wok.
So last weekend, after a Chinese feast of shrimp and vegetable lo mein, bok choy in oyster sauce, and a few yummy egg rolls – I started wondering how easy it would be to make shrimp lo mein that tastes like a Chinese restaurant’s version.
Well, I’ll give you the TL;DR version right here:
With a few Asian sauces and a handful of simple and fresh ingredients, you can easily make a Chinese restaurant quality lo mein in your own kitchen in less time than it would take a delivery order to reach your front door!
It’s absolutely delicious. Get it on your dinner menu, STAT!
What is lo mein?
Lo mein – 捞面 – is a stir fried Chinese noodle recipe, typically featuring egg noodles with a combination of veggies and meat or seafood.
And although this dish is of Cantonese origin, it is also a super popular Chinese-American take out menu staple.
You’ll find a ton of variations in the vegetables and proteins you can utilize in your own homemade lo mein recipes. There’s beef lo mein, chicken lo mein and plain ol’ vegetable lo mein.
No matter what ingredients you decide to use though, in my mind there’s really nothing better than long, egg noodles coated in a slick of savory Asian stir-fry sauce, tossed with veggies and shrimp!
So, in a second, we’ll fire up the wok and cook up a beauty of a Chinese noodle recipe.
But for now, let’s take a closer look at the sauce that will be providing the lion’s share of the flavor to this shrimp lo mein recipe.
Lo Mein Sauce
By now, you probably know that I absolutely love preparing my own mixtures of premade Asian sauces for quick use in the kitchen.
In fact it’s quite likely that, at any one time, I’ve probably got two or three jars of different flavored stir fry sauce in the fridge just waiting for me. That way, when I’m whipping up a simple stir fry, I can grab a fully composed sauce and add it to the pan with a quick shake of the jar and a twist of the lid.
And much like those premade stir fry sauces, this lo mein sauce is a mixture of a few different premade Asian sauces. This simple mixture will provide the full gamut of flavor to this easy shrimp lo mein recipe!
Simply mix three tablespoons of soy sauce with a tablespoon each of oyster sauce, shaoxing wine, sesame oil and a minced clove of garlic.
And that’s it! Super easy, right!?
Soy sauce brings the savory, earthy and umami notes. Then there’s a slightly sweet and marine flavor from the oyster sauce, a dry sweetness from the shaoxing wine – and the trademark smoky nuttiness from the sesame oil.
Now, if you can’t find shaoxing wine, dry sherry is a good substitute.
The cool thing about this mixture of flavors is that you can measure and mix it at the beginning of your session in the kitchen. Set it aside while you’re working on the other elements of your Chinese noodle recipe – and then dump the sauce in to your shrimp lo mein at the very end just before serving.
It tastes like absolute magic. Definitely better than take out!
How to make shrimp lo mein
Good news friends… Making this homemade lo mein recipe is as easy as gathering a few ingredients together and giving it all a quick tumble in a hot pan on the stovetop!
To start, mix the ingredients for your lo mein sauce and set aside.
Next, prepare your lo mein noodles according to the instructions on the package. I really like using fresh refrigerated lo mein noodles (more on those in a second), but dry works as well. Toss the cooked noodles with about a tablespoon of neutral oil. This will keep them from sticking together.
Then in a deep pan or wok over medium heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and 8 ounces (about ½ pound) of thawed, peeled and deveined shrimp. Cook those for about 3-4 minutes – and then set them on a plate.
Full disclosure: at this point the shrimp will be just shy of done. However, we’ll add them to the noodles, sauce and veggies at the end of the recipe where they’ll continue to cook through. By using this par-cooking method, they won’t overcook!
Now, raise the temperature of your stovetop to medium-high or high. The reason for this is that we want to stir fry our veggies quickly at high heat so they’ll cook but will still retain a bit of a crunch.
When the oil is hot, add your julienned veggies and snow peas to the wok and stir fry for about four minutes.
Now, this is where it all comes together in a flash!
Add your shrimp, lo mein noodles and sauce to the veggies and toss well for about a minute or so, until everything is mixed and your shrimp is cooked through.
Add a dash of ground white pepper, plate it up and serve!
What ingredients can you use in shrimp lo mein?
As for veggies, you can use pretty much whatever you like – and what you have handy in the crisper on any given day.
I really like using red peppers, cabbage, carrots and snow peas in my lo mein recipe.
However, it’s your world. Cook with the things you love 🙂
Other vegetables that work super well in this shrimp lo mein recipe would be broccoli, French beans, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, mushrooms and scallions.
What is the difference between lo mein and chow mein?
Long story short…
Both chow mein and lo mein noodles are wheat-flour based egg noodles. They are both used in Chinese stir fries. And, aside from mild differences in shape, the composition is practically identical.
But that’s where the similarities end.
- Chow mein noodles are fried until crispy.
- Lo mein noodles are boiled until soft (similar to spaghetti).
So, even though the ingredients and nutritional values are almost identical, the big difference comes down to texture.
Next time you’re contemplating the whole lo mein vs chow mein thing, just remember that it’s basically an issue of soft vs crispy.
Where to buy lo mein noodles
Now, you can totally buy a box of dry lo mein noodles that you boil much like spaghetti for this easy lo mein recipe.
And that’s fine. I guarantee it’ll taste great when the savory shrimp lo mein goes from wok to plate.
However, if you’re so inclined, I urge you to try fresh (refrigerated) Chinese egg noodles.
While they might be a bit more difficult to track down, I think you’ll love the springy chew that fresh noodles bring to this easy Chinese shrimp recipe. Furthermore, I have found that fresh noodles absorb the flavors of the sauce better than their boxed brethren.
But – like I said – use what you have handy.
If you’re feeling like fresh is the way, you will have no trouble tracking them down in the refrigerated section of your local Asian grocery store.
As for the stir-fry sauce elements – you can pick the liquid ingredients up at the Asian grocery at the same time – or do a little comparison shopping and check prices on Amazon:
The great thing about the sauce ingredients is that, once you have them in your pantry, you can use them in a ton of recipes aside from this yummy Chinese noodle recipe.
They do come in handy!
How to make lo mein like Chinese restaurants
Here’s the secret…
There’s no real secret!
To make your own savory, smoky shrimp lo mein recipe at home – that tastes like the lo mein from your favorite takeout spot – you just have to follow a couple of fast and easy rules.
- Don’t overcook your shrimp! Give them a quick tumble in your wok before cooking everything else. Once they’re barely cooked through, remove the shrimp from the heat and transfer to a plate. You will add them back to the pan at the end when you add your stir fry sauce.
- Make sure your pan or wok is hot! Stir frying your veggies at high heat means that they will become pliant, while still retaining a decent crunch. You want them cooked, but not mushy. A hot pan or wok will help you nail the perfect doneness.
- Try using fresh lo mein noodles. They are more springy in texture than dry noodles – and do a better job of soaking in the flavors of your lo mein sauce. Find them in the refrigerated section at most Asian grocery stores.
- Top with a bit of ground white pepper. This final step is an easy one to overlook – but a dash of ground white pepper lends a mildly spicy (almost floral) note that is the trademark finishing touch in many Chinese recipes.
And that’s it!
With a few simple ingredients (and a hot pan!) you can make a shrimp lo mein recipe at home that rivals your favorite delivery spot!
What about you? Do you have any favorite foods you used to order for delivery, but now make at home instead? I’d love to hear about your kitchen successes in the comments.
Other delicious and easy Chinese recipes:
- Hunan Chicken
- Szechuan Chicken
- Moo Goo Gai Pan – 蘑菇雞片
- Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
- Chicken Chop Suey
- 25 Asian Side Dishes
- 27 Japanese Recipes You Can Make at Home
- 29 Tofu Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Meat
Did you like this Shrimp Lo Mein Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Shrimp Lo Mein – 虾捞面
An easy to make Chinese shrimp lo mein recipe. Packed with flavor, but healthier than your favorite takeout spot!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 7 mins
- Total Time: 17 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Noodles
- Method: Stir Fried
- Cuisine: Chinese
For the lo mein stir fry:
- 8 oz. large shrimp (1/2 pound), peeled and deveined
- 1 pound fresh pre-cooked lo mein noodles, fresh chow mein noodles, fresh egg noodles, or fresh ramen noodles
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (like vegetable or canola), divided
- 3 cups vegetables – like red bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, napa cabbage, or bok choy – julienne cut or finely chopped
- 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
- White ground pepper (optional)
For the lo mein sauce:
- Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Boil the noodles according package instructions, drain and toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. This will prevent the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.
- In a large deep pan or wok over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes and transfer them to a plate. Set aside.
- Raise the temperature to medium-high (or high if your stove top doesn’t get really hot) and add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the julienned vegetables and snow peas and stir fry for 4 minutes.
- Add the cooked shrimp, noodles and the sauce and toss well for 1 minute.
- Turn heat off, transfer lo mein to a plate and serve with white ground pepper.
These shrimp lo mein noodles taste best fresh out of the wok – but leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Keywords: noodles, Chinese, better than delivery, stir fry sauce, wok