Prawn Chow Mein is a quick and easy stir fried noodle recipe. With succulent juicy prawns, a ton of vegetables, chewy chow mein noodles and a slick sauce we create a delicious dish. King prawn chow mein can be made from the comfort of your home, is a dish the whole family will love and tastes better than ordering in!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about this prawn chow mein recipe in the points below:
- Back to basics: this is an easy recipe that everyone of all ages will be able to bring together. We take simple steps and the method is very straight forward.
- Simple ingredients: everything that you need to make the recipe can be sought from your local grocery store. The Asian foods section is where you will find the Chinese cooking wine and oyster sauce. Asian supermarkets will also stock all of these products if you want to take a drive to your local.
- Homemade: this is a fun and flavor packed noodle recipe that delivers a big tick to the 'hungry need food now' box. When you make it yourself you know exactly what ingredients have gone into the recipe and how it was made. Ordering take away, not so much!
- Vegetables: one of the best things about making stir frys is that you can pack a lot of vegetables into them! Including the garlic we have 5 veggies in this prawn chow mein recipe which gives us lots of variety in terms of vegetables to use as well as choosing in season or on special vegetables.
- Taste and texture: from the juicy succulent prawns to the crispy vegetables, slick sauce and chewy noodles, there is a lot going on in the pan! Each of the goings on are tasty and delicious.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Peanut oil: this is great to use in Asian recipes! It is aromatic and flavorsome.
- Salt and pepper: we use salt and a little bit of black pepper for seasoning in the recipe.
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves that we finely slice into thin pieces are what we want to use.
- Chinese cooking wine: also known as shaoxing wine, this will be in the Asian foods section of the supermarket and it will be labelled as such.
- Cornstarch: we use the cornstarch to help thicken the stir fry sauce a little bit.
- Brown sugar: we use a small amount of brown sugar in the sauce to bring a balance between sweet and savory flavors.
- Soy sauce: this is regular sushi style soy sauce (not dark soy sauce).
- Oyster sauce: this is a thick, salty sauce which helps to give the noodles a slick coating of savouriness.
- Green onions: also known as scallions. These brings pops of green to the stir fry noodles and add great texture.
- Capsicum: also known as bell peppers. These crispy vegetables hold up well when being stir fried and retain their juiciness.
- Carrot: we peel these and then use a knife to slice them into long thin strips.
- Onion: peeled and finely chopped. It practically melts like butter in your mouth when stir fried.
- Cabbage: another excellent and robust vegetable that performs well in stir fries. All we need to so is use a knife to finely shred it.
- Noodles: chow mein noodles of course 😂! Many mainstream supermarkets now sell these so you won't have to take a long drive to get them. Fresh noodles if you can find them work well for this recipe.
- Prawns: or shrimp (shrimp chow mein) as some of my American friends call them. We want fresh prawns that we are going to prepare ourselves ie not peeled frozen prawns which can be a little bit watery or rubbery.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the stir-fried noodles. We start by preparing the prawns.
- Peel prawns and devein them leaving tails intact (Photo 1)
- Gather the sauce ingredients (Photo 2)
- Stir to combine (Photo 3)
- Add oil, garlic, prawns, salt and pepper to pan (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Prawn Chow Mein
To make the prawn chow mein, start by preparing the prawns. To do so use clean hands and a cutting board and twist the heads off the prawns.
Then peel the shell, leaving the tail intact. Next use a small knife and cut along the back of the prawn and remove the digestive tract. Once done repeat this process for all of the prawns.
Next gather the ingredients to make the sauce. Add the Chinese cooking wine and cornstarch to a small glass and whisk these until there are no lumps. Then add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir till consistently mixed together.
Next place a large saute pan on the stove top, turn the heat to high and add the peanut oil, garlic, peeled prawns, salt and pepper. Cook these for 3-4 minutes using tongs to flip and rotate the prawns as they cooked.
When they are bright orange with no translucent flesh use the tongs or a slotted turner to lift them up and out of the pan placing them onto a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the onion to the pan (Photo 5)
- Then add the cabbage (Photo 6)
- Add the carrot (Photo 7)
- Add the capsicum (Photo 8)
🍤 King Prawn Chow Mein
Next without rinsing or cleaning the pan add the onion, cabbage and capsicum.
Stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until they have a wet sweaty look about them.
At the same time read and follow the package directions to cook the noodles and drain them over the sink using a colander once done. Next add the cooked noodles to the stir fried vegetables as you see me having done in the photo below 😉👍.
- Add the cooked noodles (Photo 9)
Once you have added the noodles to the pan grab the soy sauce mixture we made earlier and then pour that over the dish.
- Pour the sauce over the dish (Photo 10)
Then add the cooked prawns to the top of the noodles as you see in the photo below.
- Add the cooked prawns (Photo 11)
Once everything is in the pan together, use tongs to toss and combine also allowing the dish to heat through.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
When it comes to serving the dish it really is a meal in one. A satisfying hearty noodle dish that will fill you up and tick a lot of boxes at the same time.
It however, you want an appetizer, the Spring Rolls fit the theme well.
For a white wine pairing try a chilled pinot gris or light and bright rose. For a red wine option try a smooth pinot noir.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover noodles in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. They need to be reheated before being consumed.
How to Freeze
It is not recommended to freeze leftovers of the dish. You can however, as a means to be organised purchase the raw prawns and freeze them to then remove from the freezer and thaw when it comes time that you want to make the recipe.
How to Reheat
You can use the microwave to reheat the noodles. Simply by adding them to a bowl and pulling a layer of cling wrap over the top. They will take 2-3 minutes on high to heat through.
Or you can add the chow mein back to a pan on the stove, drizzle a little sesame oil over the top and give them a quick stir fry until they are heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- For alternatives to the King prawns, you can use banana prawns or tiger prawns.
- For an alternative protein you can use chicken thighs to make it a chicken chow mein recipe.
- You don't have to use the same noodles as me. If you can't find chow mein noodles or simply want to use another type some good options are ramen noodles, yakisoba noodles, fresh egg noodles or hokkien noodles.
- As for the vegetables some other options that you might like to try are broccoli, baby corn, bamboo shoots, bok choy, bean sprouts, snow peas or wombok.
- If you want your noodles to have a darker colour, you can use dark soy sauce in place of the regular soy sauce.
- If you want to garnish the dish sesame seeds or finely sliced spring onions (scallions) will work well.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- If you add all of the sauce ingredients at the same time the sauce will be lumpy because the cornstarch won't be able to whisk in with a thin liquid. So it is worthwhile to whisk it with the Chinese cooking wine before adding the oyster and soy sauces.
- If you don't have a saute pan, you can use a large wok or large frying pan to cook the recipe.
- The cooking process is very quick. So have everything prepped and ready to go so once you get started things will come together very quickly from there.
- You will notice from the process shots that I leave the garlic in the pan when I remove the prawns. This is because I think it takes a little bit longer to cook than the prawns. It is also easy to do as they are thinly sliced garlic pieces. If you however, dice your garlic it will be fine to remove it once the prawns are cooked as it will be mostly sticking to them as it is 😁👍.
- If noodles are your favorite thing (I hear you!) then you might also like the Shrimp Yakisoba, Beef Yakisoba, Seafood Yaki Udon, Chicken Yaki Udon, Beef Udon Noodles or the Pork Udon.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What is chow mein sauce made of?
Chow mein sauce is made of oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and cornstarch. The use of cornstarch is to thicken the sauce.
Is chow mein like stir-fry?
Yes, chow mein is stir fried noodles.
Can I use hoisin sauce instead of oyster sauce?
Yes, hoisin sauce can be used as a substitute (equivalent amount) to oyster sauce.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Spice up the table with a wide variety of alternating proteins, cooking methods and recipe times bringing different dishes together to get you through the week. Here are some recipes to give you that diversity:
- Thai Minced Pork
- Chicken Pesto Linguine
- Chorizo Pasta Bake
- Air Fryer Tortilla Pizza
- Mince Pasta Bake
- Chicken Ribs
- Chicken and Chorizo Paella
- Prawn Fettuccine
- Garlic Chicken Parmesan Pasta
Prawn Chow Mein
Chow Mein Noodle Sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch Note 1
- 2 tbs Chinese cooking wine Note 2
- 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon peanut oil
- 500 grams/1 pound king prawns Note 3
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced, Note 4
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large red capsicum deseeded and sliced into long thin strips
- 2 large carrots peeled and finely sliced into long thin pieces
- 3 cups cabbage roughly shredded
- 8 green onions roots and tips trimmed and sliced into long segments
- 500 grams/ 1 pounds chow mein noodles Note 4
- Prawns: use a cutting board and start to prepare the prawns by twisting their heads off. Then peel the shell leaving the end segment and tail intact. Once done use a small knife and cut along the back of the prawns and remove the digestive tract. Then repeat this process for all of the prawns.
- Sauce: make the sauce by adding the Chinese cooking wine to a small jug with the cornstarch. Whisk these together until there are no lumps. Then add the oyster sauce and soy sauce and whisk again till consistently combined.
- Cook prawns: place a large saute pan on the stove top, turn the heat to high and add the peanut oil. Then add the garlic, prawns, salt and pepper. Cook the prawns for 2-3 minutes using pair of tongs to flip and rotate them as they cook. Once the prawns have cooked use a slotted spoon to lift them up and out of the pan and place them onto a paper towel lined plate. The sliced garlic can stay in the pan.
- Vegetables: without rinsing or cleaning the pan add the onion, cabbage, carrot and capisum. Stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until they have a wet sweaty look.
- Noodles: read and follow the package directions to cook the noodles, then use a colander over the sink to drain them and discard the water.
- Combine: next add the cooked noodles to the pan with the vegetables and pour over the sauce. Then add the cooked prawns to the dish and toss and combine. Let the dish heat through.
- To serve: use tongs to portion the prawn chow mein into serving bowls and provide chopsticks for serving.
- Note 1 - Cornstarch: the cornstarch helps to thicken the sauce. To 'activate' it, we want to add it to the Chinese cooking wine and whisk these 2 together to remove any lumps. Once done, we can then add the oyster sauce and soy sauce.
- Note 2 - Chinese cooking wine: also known as shaoxing wine. This will be in the Asian foods section and labelled as such.
- Note 3 - Prawns: King prawns, banana prawns or tiger prawns will work. You can remove the tails when preparing the prawns if you wish too.
- Note 4 - Garlic: we use fresh garlic cloves and finely slice these. They add an excellent texture to the recipe. Or you can use finely diced garlic cloves or minced garlic (not more than 1 tablespoon).
- Note 5 - Noodles: many local grocery stores now sell chow mein noodles in the fridge section. If you can't find them or want to use a different type of noodle, you can use ramen noodles, udon, egg noodles or hokkien noodles.
- Serving size: this is a large recipe which will feed 4. I can see however, if you are super hungry, you could serve larger serving sizes and have it across 3 servings.