Shacha chicken chow mein brings fried noodles to another level. The noodles are soaked in a savory sauce that has a taste of the sea. The chicken is so moist and tender. Learn the secret sauce and foolproof method for creating a healthy, colorful, and delicious one-dish meal!
After a year of waiting, I finally moved to Austin!
The trip was not a smooth one, though. My flight encountered a hailstorm 47 minutes after departure. The plane was damaged and returned to Beijing immediately. I was still enjoying my book and wondering when we would depart again, so I could catch the next connecting flight in Dallas. Not until the moment it was announced that the flight was cancelled, did I start to realize it was a serious problem. And then I saw the big dent on the nose cone of the plane. Wow, looking back, I’m really glad the pilot made the call to go back!
After a sleepless night at a hotel near the airport, I woke up at 4 AM to wait in line at the check-in kiosk, hoping to be assigned to a flight the same day. In the middle of the peak summer travel season, most flights to the US are full. I was really worried that I’d have to wait a few days to get another flight. Fortunately, I managed to get on a flight that departed at noon, just one day later than I’d originally planned. Thank God that the rest of the trip went smoothly. After 18 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in Austin.
I was really unlucky this time. The day before my intended departure, I caught a cold. It wasn’t a big deal and I should have been able to recover within a day or two, but after nearly 48 hours of waiting and traveling with almost no sleep, dragging around four huge suitcases containing everything I own, I was totally deflated upon arrival. I slept through two days, and was only awake two or three hours every day.
Thomas has been so sweet. He cooked my favorite tomato noodle soup and cream of mushroom soup every day. Those are my ultimate comfort foods that I really need in this kind of situation, one where I can sleep 20 hours without waking up.
It’s my third day in Austin, and I can finally start to walk around without a headache. So, I decided to cook this chicken chow mein because it is almost as comforting as a hot noodle soup.
The secret ingredient here is shacha sauce (沙茶酱, sha cha jiang). It is a thick paste made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chili pepper, brill fish, and dried shrimp. It is commonly used in southern Chinese cuisine as dipping sauce, in stir fried dishes, and on BBQ. The sauce has a deep umami of the sea, with hints of sweet and spicy. Just like oyster sauce and doubanjiang, Shacha sauce is another basic ingredient that I recommend you keep on hand in your pantry. It stays good for a long time and can be used in all sorts of dishes. A small amount of shacha sauce goes a long way and makes a dish taste authentically Chinese.
Do not let the long ingredient list for this recipe scare you away. The recipe uses just a few basic ingredients to create a great savory flavor. I listed some of the ingredients separately, so it will be easier to follow during cooking. I made this dish a bit healthier by adding more vegetables and fewer noodles. The vegetables will be full of flavor too, so you’ll be able to finish a big plate of it within a minute!
If you like fried noodles, don’t forget to check out Char Siu Pork Lo Mein, 15-Minute Fried Noodles, and Beef Chow Fun.
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Shacha Chicken Chow Mein
- 1 400 grams chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thigh
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons potato starch
- 2 tablespoons Shacha Sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms or 2 cups fresh mushrooms (*see footnote 1)
- 1/2 head broccoli separated into bite sized pieces
- 2 small carrot sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 250 grams 1/2 pound fresh noodles or 150 grams (1/3 pound) dried noodles
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
- (Optional) Add dried shiitake mushrooms into a bowl and add warm water to cover. Let rehydrate for 20 minutes, until the mushrooms turns soft. Rinse and slice.
- Cut chicken against grain into bite sized chunks. (*see footnote 2)
- Add light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and potato starch to chicken. Mix well and set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the noodle sauce and set aside.
- Prepare and cut vegetables.
- If using dried noodles, boil the noodles according to the instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Use the same pot of water to blanch the broccoli and carrots for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until warm. Add chicken and quickly spread it with a spatula, so the pieces don’t overlap. Grill until the bottom side turns golden. Flip and cook the other side until the surface is cooked but the chicken is still pink inside. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Add green onion and ginger. Stir a few times until fragrant.
- Add mushroom. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the noodle sauce and stir a few times.
- Add broccoli, noodles, and chicken. Mix a few times with a pair of chopsticks (or tongs). Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is fully absorbed. (*footnote 3)
- Uncover and stir the noodles again.
- Serve warm.
2. The recipe uses the stir-fry-and-steam method to create very tender chicken. You could cut large pieces of chicken and not worry about it not cooking through at first. I prefer to slice the chicken breast into 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces, then cut the large pieces in half.
3. This is the most important step. By covering the skillet and letting it steam, the noodles and vegetables will soak up the sauce and the chicken will be cooked through while retaining its juiciness and tenderness.
The nutritional facts are calculated based on 1 of the 2 servings generated by this recipe.
Questions and Reviews
What an awful trip, I saw this on the news and I’m glad you made it safely. This is a lovely dish and I do not order take out but have been craving chow mein. I now have a recipe I can make myself.
Indeed it was very bad trip! I’m glad I made it and now I think I’ll stay very calm no matter what I come across again.
Glad you like the chow mein. It’s such a comforting dish and I definitely prefer to cook it at home.
I am so glad you made it safely! Even though you are in Austin, I feel like you are just around the corner. Good luck with your wedding, just a week away! 🙂 XXO Oh – and I can’t WAIT to try this stir fry!
Me too, so glad I finally made it! Things are still a bit in chaotic but it’s a lot of fun too 🙂
Flying over that ocean is never fun– 18 hours doesn’t sound so bad to me though! Being sick always makes a flight a whole lot harder. Glad you’ve rested and are almost back to normal now!
Ah, I remember the crazy hour of the flight you mentioned before! Yep, 18 hours is not too bad since I’ve got used to it. But over coming jet jag is always an issue and I’m not very good at it. Anyhow, everything’s back to normal now and I’m hoping to catch up with things soon!
Oh my goodness Maggie…I am so glad your pilot made some good calls on returning you to safety. How stressful! Thank goodness Thomas was there to the rescue to nurse you back to health and I hope you are feeling better soon. I love this quick and easy stir fry and you are going to needs loads of these recipes to get you through the next couple of weeks. Take Care of yourself!
Thanks Bobbi! I’ve been eating comfort food for a week and noodles are on our table almost everyday. I’m feeling fully recovered this week and ready for some more cooking! Catch up with you soon 🙂
So glad you finally made it to your new home! And I’m sorry that your flight had that problem. But all is well now. I hope everything is smooth sailing from here on out.
Thanks for your kind words Susan! Things are going great so far and I think I’ll stay super excited for a while. Very ready to cook all kinds of goodies at my new place from now 🙂
Oh jeez!! So glad you are better now.. and hopefully super excited about your wedding 😉 I know what you mean.. a 4 hr long flight is enough for me.. 18 hrs and I am almost as good as dead 😛 So glad you had someone so nice to take care of u!! As for the shacha chowmein… Babe its completely so so delicious!! I wanna eat a bowlful of it rightaway.
Thanks Swayam! Yeah the 18 hrs flight is difficult, and adjusting the 14 hrs time different was killing me! But thinking about all the new things I can start here, it’s all worth the effort 😉
Wow, by the looks of that plane I’m glad the pilot made that decision too! Quite the hailstorm indeed. Nonetheless, welcome to the USA Maggie! Glad to have you. 🙂
This Shacha sauce is new to me, so you know I’ll go check it out. Thanks for sharing this recipe and cheers!
Thanks Kevin! I’ll travel to San Diego this November and spend a few day there. If you’ll be in town, maybe we could grab coffee! I’m really happy about being here and looking forward to meeting more blogger friends 🙂
The Shacha sauce is a bit close to satay sauce, only it’s totally from China. It goes well with a lot of things, so it’s worth having. Hope you’ll like it!
Whoa! Look at the nose of that plane! I know you had a terrible trip on top of being sick, but perhaps it all worked out for the best! In any event, so glad you made it ok! You and your hubby-to-be must be SO excited! I hope you’re enjoying Austin and getting some exploring in 🙂 If you’re ever in the Bay Area, let me know!
This chow mein certainly is a bowl of comfort! I know I’d feel better after eating this! I’ve never had shacha sauce, but it looks like something I need to try!
So sorry you had such a horrible trip 🙁 But really I mean thank god that pilot made the call though!!! I love this dish! Love chow mein and yours looks fantastical!
Well, first of all, Maggie, CONGRATULATIONS!! How exciting that you are now starting your new life in Austin! It’s a shame that things didn’t start off so wonderfully, but it sounds like once you arrived things started to look up immediately!
The chow mein sounds incredible, as does everything you post. I bet that sauce is absolutely delicious … just so rich and tasty!
All the best with settling in! 🙂
Ahhh! I’m so sorry that your flight encountered so many problems! So glad you made it safe and sound to the US though! The plane really took a beating!
Beautiful dish, as always!
Oh my gosh, Maggie, I had no idea the plane had been so badly damaged. Thank goodness you’re safe and sound. Quite a rough arrival to your new home though! So sweet of Thomas to make you soup! You two are going to have a lot of fun cooking together 🙂
This dish looks absolutely delicious and I just know the flavours will be outstanding.
So glad you’re here and can’t wait to meet you! Just a few more days and you’ll be a Mrs., lol.
Welcome to Texas Maggie! I moved here in August, though my trip was easier… I will look for the Sachs sauce. I have the rest! All my best from McAllen, TX.!
Thanks so much for your kind words Tamara! I came across quite a bit problem before arriving here, but it has been going well since then!
The Shacha sauce is great to have in your pantry. You can do a lot of stir fried dishes with it (a bit similar to fish sauce, but has a savory umami in a different way). It boosts flavors to a lot of dishes.
Hope you enjoy the dish and let me know how the cooking turns out!
Can I substitute shrimp for the Chicken?
You definitely can!