There are times I don’t feel like cooking at all, yet want to eat something unique and tasty. At times like these, I’ve found that simple pan-fried noodles are an offbeat, healthy and (very) tasty option. A bed of crunchy noodles topped with stir-fried chicken and vegetables, and flavored with a thick gravy-like sauce is an all-time favorite at our house. And the best part? It can be prepared in under 30 minutes!

I love this style of noodles, and introduced them to my husband Ali the first time we went for groceries after our wedding. To my delight, it became one of his favorite foods as well. This might sound a little extreme, but in my opinion no grocery store is up to the mark unless it has crispy Chinese noodles on its shelves. The good news is that now these noodles are easily available in most stores in major cities. For this recipe, no other commonly available egg noodles work quite the same, as they usually turn out stickier in texture and do not have the same crispness.

The noodles are pan-fried, resulting in a crispy texture. No deep frying or boiling is required. This is the key in making this recipe so unique, unlike American Chopsuey or classic Chowmein. The other key to this recipe is the sauce, which is used for binding the flavor. A thick sauce with a good consistency (like gravy) is added on top of the stir-fried chicken and vegetables. It clings to the crispy noodles, thus enhancing the flavors of the dish.

So without further ado, here is the recipe…

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinate
  • Chicken – 2 breast pieces (julienne cut)
  • Corn flour – 1 tablespoon
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  •  Salt – ½ teaspoon
  •  White pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Sugar – ½ teaspoon
Stir fry
  • Cabbage - ¼ portion of the cabbage (julienne cut)
  • Capsicum - 1 (julienne cut)
  • Carrots - 1 (julienne cut)
  • Spring onions - 2 (julienne cut)
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Sauce
  • Chili garlic sauce – 2 tablespoons
  •  Tomato sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Chicken stock – ½ cup
  • Worcestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Soya sauce - 1 tablespoon
  •  White pepper – ¾ teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  •  Salt – ¾ teaspoon ( adjust according to need and taste)
  •  Corn flour + water – 2 tablespoons each (to thicken the sauce)
Crispy Noodles
  • A packet of crispy Chinese noodles
  • Oil for frying
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes
  • Cooking time : 15 minutes
  • Number of servings (yield) : 2-3

Instructions:

Chicken Marinade
  • Mix all marinade ingredients with chicken and set aside for 15 minutes
  • Stir fry chicken in shallow oil till light golden and crispy
Stir Fry
  • Heat oil in a wok over high heat
  • Add cabbage, capsicum and carrots and stir fry for a few minutes
  • Add sugar and salt. Turn off the heat and add spring onion at the end. (Variations: You can add pineapple, olives, fried almonds, bean sprouts etc)
Sauce
  • In a saucepan, add all the ingredients in chicken stock and give it a good boil, then set aside
  • Add corn flour just before serving
Crispy Noodles 
  •  In a wok, heat oil over a medium flame for shallow frying
  •  Add noodles into wok and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes till light golden brown (lift with a spatula to check). Note: the noodles separate on their own as they fry. Alternative: You can use an air fryer
  • Remove from wok and drain on kitchen paper, then place into a serving dish
  • Add chicken to the stir fry and give it a good toss, then place over the fried crispy noodles
  • Thicken the sauce with corn flour paste and pour it over the stir-fried chicken and vegetables. Serve immediately to enjoy the crunchy noodles!

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.