Author Notes: Still on my quest to make good Chinese-American carry out (take out) at home, I started thinking about my childhood when there was only one Chinese restaurant around. It was called Pearl's Garden and every few weeks we'd either dine in or Dad would travel the 6 miles or so up Woodward Avenue for carry out. I always ordered Shrimp Sub Gum Chow Mein. It was a mushy mash of celery, bean sprouts and a handful of those super small salad shrimp served over crispy chow mein noodles. I loved it even though there was never enough shrimp and the dish was rather bland. Last night I decided to try my hand at it. I obviously put in more shrimp and prepared it by "velveting" it which is a process of coating the shrimp with egg white, cornstarch and a few other items before cooking it. Velveting helps to prevent over cooking. I cooked the vegetables quickly to keep them crisp and added the velveted shrimp at the very end.
Now around here this dish is chow mein if served with crispy noodles, lo mein if served with soft noodles and chop suey if served with rice....I like chow mein !!! - inpatskitchen
Serves 4 to 6
Velveting the shrimp
- 1 1/2 pound rock shrimp or small gulf shrimp (40 - 50 or 36 -40), peeled and deveined
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- About 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Place all ingredients except the 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly until the cornstarch is totally mixed in. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the 2 to 3 cups oil in a large frying pan or large shallow bottomed wok until very hot and then quickly fry the shrimp in batches if necessary for no more than two minutes. They should look a little fuzzy and white. remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper toweling. Reserve for the chow mein. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil from the pan.
The chow mein
- 1/2 cup whole roasted or raw almonds
- 2 cups boiling water
- 4 cups 1/2 inch sliced celery
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound mung bean sprouts
- 1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium is fine)
- 1 to 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 4 tablespoon water for the slurry
- The previously made shrimp
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- Crispy chow mein noodles for serving
- Additional soy sauce for passing
- Blanch the almonds by pouring the 2 cups of boiling water over them. Let sit for a few minutes and then drain. The skins should peel off rather easily. Set aside.
- Heat the pan or wok with the reserved oil and then add the celery, onion and garlic. Stir fry for about three minutes. You want to keep the veggies crispy.
- Add the water chestnuts, bean spouts and 1 cup of the chicken broth to the pan. Stir in the soy sauce and then slowly add the slurry. Add up to one more cup of chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the almonds and shrimp and the dry sherry. Serve with the chow mein noodles (over, under or stirred in)