One of my all-time favorite Chinese restaurant take-out recipes, shrimp lo mein finally gets the photo update it deserves. I first shared this recipe in 2008, in an ingredient post about oyster sauce, and I updated the post in 2010 with photos that made this dish look anything but appetizing. I hope these new photos will give you an idea of how much you'll love these salty, slurpy noodles, and how easy it is to make great lo mein at home.
The basic sauce, what I call the Cantonese 3-2-1 Trinity, relies on staples from the pantry: three parts reduced-sodium soy sauce, two parts oyster sauce (also called oyster-flavor sauce), and one part sesame oil. You can use this mixture to season all types of stir-fries with vegetables, chicken, beef, pork or tofu. I sometimes add mung bean sprouts at the end of the cooking, but only when I find really fresh ones at the Asian grocery. (On the day I took these photos, the sprouts in the market didn't look white and perky, so I left them out.)
Shrimp lo mein noodles
From the pantry you'll need: peanut oil, garlic, reduced-sodium soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, frozen shrimp.
1 lb fresh Chinese egg noodles (or use dry spaghetti or linguine)
2 tsp peanut or canola oil
4-5 scallions, chopped (set aside 2 Tbsp for garnish)
1 clove garlic, peeled, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced button or shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (I use canned sliced mushrooms)
3/8 cup Cantonese 3-2-1 Trinity sauce (3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil), or more as needed
3/4 lb large shrimp (31-40 per-pound size)
2 cups mung bean sprouts (optional), rinsed under cold water
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a stock pot; cook egg noodles over high heat until they float to the surface, then reduce heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until al dente (or cook pasta according to package directions). Do not cook all the way through; the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain, but do not rinse, and reserve the cooking water.
In a large wok or frying pan, heat the oil. Add the scallions and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and stir for 1 minute.
Add the Cantonese 3-2-1, plus 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, then add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, until they just begin to turn pink and curl. Add the cooked noodles and the bean sprouts, and stir thoroughly and constantly for 2-3 minutes, turning the noodles over and over, until the ingredients are combined and the sauce is absorbed into the noodles. If needed, add more soy sauce and oyster sauce, to taste. Garnish with reserved scallions.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Cold sesame noodles, from The Perfect Pantry
Cold soba salad with peppers and ponzu dressing, from The Perfect Pantry
Asian noodle bowl with ginger peanut dressing, from Minimalist Baker
Asian ramen noodle salad, from Foodiecrush
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