Chinese Takeout Vegan Chow Mein (+ recipe for Chow Mein Tofu Marinade)

Chinese Takeout Vegan Chow MeinArt via Ffffound |


A weeknight quickie for y’all – this comes together superfast once the tofu has finished marinading. This awesome marinated tofu and vegetable chow mein satisfies my cravings for greasy boxes of chinese food, without the belly full of oil and MSG that often results from phoning in an order!

Soba noodles – thin noodles made from buckwheat – are traditionally used in Japanese cuisine, but they work deliciously here. If you prefer, use one cup of uncooked white rice in place of the soba noodles; to get the timing right, cook the rice and set it aside before you start cooking the vegetables. Other kinds of noodles will work great too – vermicelli, hokkien, udon… experiment a little to find your favourite.


Chinese Takeout Vegan Chow Mein



1 batch of Chow Mein Tofu (recipe follows)
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small brown onion, sliced thickly
1/2 tsp chinese five spice
1/2 head broccoli, chopped into small florets
2 carrots, chopped into sticks
1 cup green peas
6 small button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 bunch baby bok choy, chopped
90g soba noodles

Slammin’ stir fry sauce:

1-2 packed tsp fresh ginger, crushed (a 1″-ish piece)
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp chinese five spice
2 tbsp vege stir fry sauce*
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp arrowroot + 1 tbsp water, whisked together

Chow Mein Tofu:

1 package firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water


What to do:

Preparing the tofu:

Cut tofu widthwise into 8 equal pieces. Cut each individual piece into thirds lengthwise, to make long rectangles pieces. You should end up with 24 pieces of ‘fu.

In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Pour into a 11 x 7″ baking dish. Add tofu, turning each piece to coat well. Cover, refrigerate and leave to marinade at least two hours, flipping after an hour.

Heat a dollop of peanut oil in a large frying pan. Fry tofu pieces in batches, 3-4 minutes each side, adding a little more oil as needed. Drain on paper towels, in a single layer; cover the tofu and set aside until needed.

Making the Chow Mein:

For the sauce:
Add all ingredients, aside from arrowroot mixture, to a small saucepan and whisk together. Add arrowroot mixture and stir to combine. Set aside until needed. Heat very gently, stirring frequently, before adding to stir fry.

Bringing it all together:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook according to packet instructions. Set aside when done – aim to have the noodles finished around the same time as the last of the vegetables are being added to the wok.

Heat peanut oil in wok over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and chinese five spice, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes, until onion softens.

Add broccoli and carrots. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add capsicum. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and peas. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add bok choy and prepared Chow Mein Tofu. Remove wok from heat, cover and set aside for 30 seconds until bok choy leaves begin to wilt. Return to heat, add sauce and soba noodles. Use tongs to combine everything nice and easily without mushing the noodles. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.


* At the moment I use Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir fry sauce, a shiitake flavoured sauce that has no added MSG or preservatives ♥



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