Pork chow mein

If you love noodles – like we do – you’ll love chow mein. The secret to success is to have some of the noodles nice and crispy and others soft, and this is easiest to do in a wok. You could call this dish a one-wok wonder.

Pork chow mein

Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins.




  • 500g (1lb 2oz) pork tenderloin
  • 1tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g (7oz) dried medium egg noodles
  • 4tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour
  • 4tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine, from supermarkets) or dry sherry
  • 1 red pepper, quartered, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thin strips, about 6cm (2½in) long
  • 25g (1oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 50g (1¾oz) frozen peas
  • 225g tin water chestnuts, drained, halved


  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully trim the excess fat and sinew from the pork. Cut the pork in half lengthways and then into thin slices. Put it in a bowl and toss it with the five-spice powder, ½tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then set aside.

  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the egg noodles and separate the strands with a wooden spoon. Bring the water back to the boil and cook the noodles for 3-4 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain and rinse them in a sieve under running water until cold, then toss with 1tbsp of the vegetable oil and set aside.

  3. Mix the sugar and cornflour in a bowl and gradually stir in the soy sauce, mirin (or sherry) and 100ml (3½fl oz) water, then set aside. Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a wok or a large nonstick frying pan. Add the pork and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes or until nicely browned.

  4. Transfer it to a plate and put the pan back on the heat. Add another 1tbsp of the oil and stir-fry the pepper and carrot for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, spring onions, peas and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes until softened but not soggy.

  5. Tip everything onto a plate. Pour the remaining oil into the pan and add the noodles. Stir-fry the noodles for 2-3 minutes, or until some are beginning to turn crisp and golden-brown.

  6. Tip the meat and vegetables back into the pan and stir-fry everything together, tossing all the ingredients for 1-2 minutes, or until they’re evenly mixed and piping hot. Stir the soy and mirin mixture again and pour it into the pan. Continue tossing everything together for 1-2 minutes, or until hot and glossy. Eat immediately.