Norma's Chow Mein

Chow Mein was one of the first “different” recipes Mum taught me to make in the late 60s’ (I was 8 or 9)

Chinese take away on a Friday night was the closest it got to innovative for our working class family.

Of course the choices were Dims Sims for entrée, Sweet & Sour Pork, Beef in Black Bean Sauce and Special Fried Rice. Mum and Dad argued who was driving up to collect it and it was always half cold by the time it landed on the plate for us kids to eat.

I had already learned how to brown off mince steak when I was taught to make Savoury Mince, so this Chow Mein was similar but with a Chinese twist. I liked exploring, adding different things to taste, so as with most of my cooking education, Mum taught me the basics of the recipe (she was a stickler for that “write everything down Jacklyn and keep track”) and then I experimented from there.

For this recipe, I mainly do the basic recipe but change it to suit, ie add extra curry powder, (when it’s just for the adults), extra soy sauce, or try with different green veggies (depending what is in the fridge and what kids will like!).

Hint: For a quicker meal, substitute the mince, for a cooked chicken (add just before serving to heat through).

Note: Freezes well, keeps in fridge for up to 3 days

Time: 15 mins prep and 45 mins cooking


1 kg lean mince (I use half pork mince and half beef mince)
2 sticks celery, chopped
3/4 cabbage lightly shredded
1 cup cold water
1 packet chicken noodle soup
2 cups hot water
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup soy sauce


Brown the mince and onion, then add the curry powder (mixed in the cup of cold water).

Add the vegetables.

Mix the Chicken Noodle Soup in the 2 cups of hot water and pour over.

Bring to the boil then simmer on very low heat for 45-60 mins, depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables.

Variations you may like to try:

Add 1 cup of rice in for the simmering, but remember to add an extra cup of water

Add 2 cloves of garlic with the onions

Try it with turkey mince or chicken mince

Add bean sprouts, coriander, chopped parsley, fresh chilli to serve

Try serving in lettuce cups

Have you tried Chow Mein with your family? Got a suggestion for a yummy variation?


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