Blogger Michelle Tam’s Palo Alto Nom Nom Paleo recipe for chow mein is a mixture of two styles: the West Coast, where chow mein noodles are tender and cooked with meat and vegetables, and the East Coast, where they are fried until crispy and served under a pile of cooked ingredients.
Its old-fashioned, gluten-free version features softer noodles — made with sweet potatoes — with some crunchy bits on the pan for texture. The recipe, which will be part of her family’s Lunar New Year spread, is featured in Tam’s new cookbook, “Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!” (Andrew McMeel, $35) which she created with husband and photographer Henry Fong.
chicken chow mein
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
5 to 6 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
2 tablespoons coconut amine (a soy sauce-like sauce), divided
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon eco-friendly fish sauce
teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 pound white sweet potatoes or 6 medium-sized henna, peeled
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Crystal Diamond Brand Kosher Salt
½ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin coins
2 green onions, cut diagonally into inch slices
5 ounces baby spinach
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
In a medium bowl, combine chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos. Add the balsamic vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, and arrowroot powder. Stir until well combined, then set aside.
Turn sweet potatoes into noodles – or noodles – with a spiralizer.
Heat a large frying pan on the stove. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the sweet potato noodles in a single layer. Fry undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes until some of the sweet potato noodles begin to turn brown and crisp. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt and stir carefully. Cook the sudel without disturbing for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the granules to a plate and set aside.
Next, heat the empty skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt.
Cook onions, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add mushrooms, ginger and sprinkle salt again. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and ginger is fragrant. If the pan seems a little dry, add another tablespoon of oil.
Add chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
Stir in green onions and spinach. Season with 1 tablespoon coconut aminos and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Once the spinach has wilted, place the chicken and vegetables on top of the sweet potato noodles. Feet chow mein right away.
– Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, “Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!” (Andrews McMill, $35)