I’m going to show you how to make Chow Mein Noodles Panda Express. And I’m going to use spaghetti noodles! But I’ve got a little trick that will show you how to make chow mein noodles with spaghetti! You’ll be so impressed by this panda express chow mein recipe that you may no longer be going to the mall for your panda express fix!
Watch how to make Panda Express Chow Mein
Turning spaghetti into Asian noodles for Panda Express Chow Mein
For our Panda Express noodles, it’s best to use Asian noodles because of their bouncy texture and unique flavor. But if you’re in a pinch like I was, you can turn spaghetti into Asian noodles! Unlike my delicious Korean Japchae recipe, you won’t need any special kind of noodle!
I’m going to start by bringing some water to a boil. Once that water is rolling, I add in some salt and our secret ingredient: baking soda. This will make the water more alkaline, which will give the spaghetti that distinct Asian noodle flavor and bouncy chew. This is actually a little trick that some Japanese housewives do when they need ramen noodles in a pinch!
Let it boil to al dente. My package says it takes 7 minutes, so when they’re done, I drain them. I rinse them under cold water and let them sit in it for about a minute to completely cool down. Now, I drain them and toss them with some sesame oil and wrap it up.
Brown Sauce: The secret to making chow mein like Panda Express
I’m going to prepare the base sauce of this dish, brown sauce. I know that sounds vague and slightly disgusting, but this is what Panda Express calls their all-purpose sauce. Nobody knows exactly what goes into it, but I’m going to make something pretty darn close.
First, I mince up the whites of a green onion, a few cloves of garlic — I’m saving half of this to cook later — and some ginger. To that, I’m adding soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, sesame oil, chicken stock — I’m using a powdered stock that’s been reconstituted in warm water — and oyster sauce. Mix this together and voila: brown sauce!
Getting the vegetables ready for chow mein Panda Express
Now I’m going to need the vegetable component of this dish. I know Panda Express uses cabbage, celery, and onions, but I’m going to mix this up and use whatever I have in the fridge. I already some of the minced garlic from earlier. I’ll also need some carrot sliced into thin matchsticks. Next, I slice half an onion into thin strips. Finally, I’m using a red bell pepper. Finally, I take the green parts of my green onion from earlier and slice it.
Time to Wok & Roll!
Now comes the fun part! I’m going to cook my noodles in a wok. As I mentioned in my delicious spicy eggplant recipe, Chinese-style, it adds great char and smokiness called wok hei. but you can make this in a large skillet if you don’t have one. However, I HIGHLY recommend picking up a wok because it’s such a versatile cooking instrument!
If you’re interested in a wok, this is the exact one that I use. It’s served me well and has produced absolutely delicious stir-fries! Hammered by hand, and made in Japan! Click the picture on the left to learn more about it.
Add some oil, then add in the garlic. Let it cook for a few seconds until it becomes fragrant, then throw in my vegetables. Depending on the poIr of my burner, this may take 1 minute or a few minutes. In my case, everything cooked up very fast, so then I added my noodles.
You might need to add in a few tablespoons of water with your noodles if they dried out a bit. Cook everything for a few minutes until the noodles have been heated up. Finally, I’m going to add the brown sauce. Try to pour it around the noodles, rather than just dumping it into the center.
Stir everything together, making sure those noodles get coated. Cook it for about another minute or so. At this point, turn down the heat and taste the noodles and adjust the seasonings if you need to. I like to add in a little bit of toasted sesame seeds at this point. Turn off the heat, plate the noodles, and sprinkle on some green onions.
Ingredients to make chow mein like Panda Express
You will most-likely have everything you need to make this, barring the sauce ingredients. But once you have those, you can throw these Panda Express chow mein noodles together anytime!
- Spaghetti noodles
- Baking soda
- Vegetables – Feel free to use whatever you’d like
- Chicken stock
- Soy Sauce (See it on Amazon)
- Cooking Sake (See it on Amazon)
- Oyster Sauce (See it on Amazon)
- Sesame Oil (See it on Amazon)
Now you can make chow mein like Panda Express!
With the exception of a few of the sauces, you should have almost everything you need to make tasty chow mein like Panda Express! So get choppin’ and start cookin’!
Ready for more delicious Chinese food? Here are more recipes for delicious Chinese dishes!
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Panda Express Noodles Recipe
- Spaghetti noodles 200g
- Baking soda 1 tbsp
- 1/2 Onion sliced
- 8 oz Cabbage sliced
- 1/2 Celery stalk sliced
- Garlic 1 tsp, minced
- Chicken stock 2.5 tbsp
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Cooking wine
- 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- Green onion 1 tsp, minced
- inger .5 tsp, minced
- Garlic 2 tsp, minced
- In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water and baking soda to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until desired firmness. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow the noodles to soak for about a minute. Drain and toss with a bit of cooking oil to prevent sticking. Add 1/4 cup of water to the noodles and set aside. The baking soda changes the pH balance to simulate that of kansui, a special type of water used to make ramen noodles. This will give the spaghetti noodles that familiar taste of chinese/ramen noodles, along with a slightly bouncy chew.
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the (Sauce) ingredients and set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, add cooking oil, along with garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add in the vegetables.
- Cook the vegetables over high heat until they soften slightly, about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add in the noodles and stir to combine. Cook for about a minute or until the noodles have heated through, about 1 minute.
- Pour the sauce into the noodles in a circle. Do not pour them into one spot. Stir well to combine and cook for another minute.
- When the noodles have darkened slightly, plate and serve immediately.
This Post Has One Comment
This recipe is SO good! I’ve been making chow mein for about two years now, and your recipe is definitely our household favorite.
I haven’t found an oyster sauce with clean ingredients so I have always made the recipe without it. Instead, I’ve done some experimenting, including going back to the original recipe that I tried before yours, and I’ve finally found my preferred option — Coconut Aminos (instead of oyster sauce) add great flavor depth. A homemade hoisin sauce was also good, but that was a completely different flavor profile. We had Panda Express a few weeks ago, and their version is flavorless and greasy compared to yours!
We’ve also tried various noodle options, including the dry packages of Yakisoba noodles, and your spaghetti version is definitely our favorite!