Beef Lo Mein

August 24, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger, prop styling by Suzie Myers, food styling by Ericka Martins
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Whenever I dine at a Chinese restaurant, I am always pleasantly surprised at the subtle differences between all the regional cooking styles. I am definitely no expert when it comes to Chinese cuisine, but I do know a few things. Sichuan-style dishes tend to be known for their hot and numbing spices thanks to the heavy usage of Sichuan peppercorns, whereas Shanghai-style dishes tend to be braised in dark soy sauce, have a heavier taste, and often use a thick red oil sauce.

Regardless of all the differences, I noticed most proteins in stir-fried dishes are silky, soft, and juicy. Even the strips of chicken breasts and beef would be so tender, but how? So many questions and theories would run through my head, like how many chemical preservatives must these restaurants use, is it because the cooking temperature of the wok is so high that it cooks everything perfectly, etc.

My mind would run on with endless thoughts until I finally decided to do some research and came across the velveting technique. That was a life-changer! The velveting technique explains how these Chinese restaurants always serve tender and juicy proteins! Velveting is a common technique used in stir-frying. The protein is marinated in a mixture of cornstarch, egg white, rice wine, and then briefly blanched in oil or water. The marinade acts as a protective coating that is able to seal in moisture to keep the meat from overcooking, resulting in the silky tender texture that everyone strives for. There are multiple takes on velveting protein, like blanching the protein in boiling water versus oil, adding versus not adding egg whites in your marinade, but after testing almost every option and taking convenience into account, I came up with what I thought was the best velveting technique. I was blown away at the simplicity of it all and always use this technique whenever I am stir-frying anything. —Catherine Yoo

What You'll Need
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons shaoxing cooking wine, divided
  • 8 ounces flank steak, sliced into ¼-inch-thick, 2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), sliced
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger (about 1 ounce), peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 garlic cloves (about 1 ounce), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 medium carrot (about 2 ounces), cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup snow peas (about 4 ounces), trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups baby corn (about 8 ounces)
  • 16 ounces par-cooked egg noodles
  • 3 scallions (about 3 ounces), cut into 2-inch strips
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the egg white, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of the cooking wine until well combined. Mix in the beef, onion, ginger, and garlic until well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make the stir-fry sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons cooking wine until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot filled with water and 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil to a boil. Meanwhile, transfer the beef mixture to a colander and let the excess marinade drip off. Once the water is boiling, blanch the beef mixture for 30 seconds, then strain again in the colander.
  4. In a large pan over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil. Cook the beef mixture, tossing occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until the beef is cooked through. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  5. Into the same pan over high heat, pour the remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and cook the carrots, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds, until slightly softened. Add the peas and corn and continue to cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds, until combined and warmed through. Add the egg noodles, stir-fry sauce, reserved beef mixture, and scallions and continue to cook, tossing, for about 5 more minutes, until well coated and heated through.
  6. Divide the lo mein among plates and enjoy.

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