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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mi Xao Don Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein)

Independence Day 1

Let me go back to my previous discussion about Chinese Black Bean, Hoisin, and Oyster Sauces and Indonesian Kecap Manis. I had a lot of sauce leftover from making Steamed Oysters with Black Bean and Scallion Sauce so I made Mi Xao Don Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein) that I had brought to my cousins' July 4th barbecue. This was a little bland for some people, so I doubled up on the amount of black bean sauce. Don't worry carnivores, I've got a beefy version too.

Mi Xao Don Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein)

For about 2 to 4 servings, you'll need:
2 bundles of fresh chow mein noodles (If you're using dried, you'll have to boil and drain them, and squeeze them as dry as you can first.)
1 chayote squash, julienned
6 bok choy, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 carrot, julienned
3 scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces

For the black bean sauce, you'll need:
2 tblsp black bean sauce
1 cup water
1 tblsp corn starch
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tblsp soy sauce

Thinly slice one scallion and set aside. Dissolve 1 tblsp corn starch into 1 cup cold water and set aside.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, lightly saute the scallion until softened. Add 2 tblsp of black bean sauce and 1 tblsp of soy sauce. Then add the cup of water with the cornstarch. Stir until evenly mixed and the sauce is thickened enough to your liking. This should only take a few minutes. Set aside.

Chow mein noodles sometimes come in individual bundles, you'll need about two of them.

Mi Xao Don Chay 1

Lightly separate the noodles.

Mi Xao Don Chay 2

Drizzle an even layer of oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and when the oil is hot, quickly layer the noodles evenly on the pan.

Mi Xao Don Chay 3

The noodles should stick together and be easy to flip when they turn golden. I have an old stove which heats unevenly so my pan-fried noodles are a bit uneven too. This is real-life cooking folks!

Mi Xao Don Chay 4

When the noodles are completely golden on both sides, set aside to drain.

Mi Xao Don Chay 5

You can, of course, choose to use whatever vegetables you wish for this dish. I had a chayote squash sitting in my fridge that needed to be used up. The peel is edible but I always peel it anyway. Wash again because it's a bit slimy. Halve and remove the seed. Then julienne.

Mi Xao Don Chay 6

Prepare the carrots, bok choy, and green onions. I like to cut them in the order of which vegetables go last and leave them all in one colander.

Mi Xao Don Chay 7

Saute the chayote, carrots, and green onions first until slightly softened.

Mi Xao Don Chay 8

Toss in the bok choy bottoms and black bean sauce.

Mi Xao Don Chay 9

Add the bok choy green tops and mix thoroughly.

Mi Xao Don Chay 10

Spoon over crispy fried chow mein.

Mi Xao Don Chay 11


Who made my recipe for mi xao don chay?
Mango Power Girl said, "I added some chili paste to the sauce and some tofu to make it a bit spicy and the main course. The lighting sucks but I wanted to capture my first Vietnamese dish :)"
MaryRuth of Where's the Bubbler said, "It is super-easy and tastes great. I especially liked the crunchy noodles with the tender veggies. I didn't use the chayote, but I think this is the type of recipe where you could sub in your favorite veggies."

My other mi (Vietnamese egg noodle) dishes:
Mi Hoanh Thanh (Vietnamese Wonton Noodle Soup)
Mi Xao Don Thit Bo (Vietnamese Crispy Chow Mein with Beef)

1 year ago today, best afternoon tea deal in town, six pieces of cake and coffee or tea, at Vanille de Patisserie - San Marino.


  1. wow, so this is how crispy noodle is done...i thought we have to deep fry it! well done! looks better than the ones in restaurants ;)

  2. You are an expert! Agree with Rita - better than restaurants! :D

  3. I really enjoy your step by step photos! The noodles look terrific AND all the colour!

  4. i like the green veggie thing. i miss eating at my moms since im too lazy to cook.

  5. beatifully done!! looks sooo yumm!!! i never made one, thanks for sharing the recipe :-)

  6. Hey, did the skin on your hand get all weird and dry when you peeled the chayote? I was messing around with chayote a few weeks back and it irritated the skin on my hands. Apparently, that happens to a lot of people who handle chayote.

  7. Wow! I've tried making crispy noodles 4 times before giving up. They never stuck together well. :(

    But maybe I'll try again using your directions! So you're saying that you did not boil your fresh egg noodles before frying, right? And you used a large layer of oil on the bottom of the pan? Okay... off to try it!

  8. MCR,
    Thanks. Maybe the restaurants deep-fry it, but pan-frying worked well for me.

    hehe. Thanks.

    You ain't seen nothin' yet. The beefy version has even more color.

    The chayote or the bok choy? I like both!

    You're welcome.

    Not dry, but definitely weird. It was sort of like the sensation on my palms after I use Nair. Not that you would necessarily know. I've heard of some people being allergic to mango peels, so perhaps this is similar?

    Yup, did not boil the noodles, they cooked when fried. Also, I think the extra flour on fresh noodles helps keep them together.

  9. Ah sister, this looks goooooood! This type of food is easier to find in the south and i always had a lot when I was in Saigon. Great stuff!

  10. Hi WC-OK i have bought
    1) Mi Tuoi Trung Ga
    2) Mi Hap Trung Ga

    is this what I am supposed to use?

  11. Anh,
    It's the Chinese influence in the south that makes this easier to find. Especially as it's really a Chinese dish. :P

    Hi MaryRuth,
    I'd use the first one. "Mi tuoi trung ga" means fresh egg noodles. "Mi hap" is steamed egg noodles, which might work for frying, but is really intended more for soups.

  12. I really do have to thank you for this! I am going to buy a proper wok soon (when I finally drag myself to the shop) and the boyfriend was all excited about having crispy noodles at home. I had to disappoint him then as I thought they required a lot of deep frying but now I see otherwise! Thank you!

  13. Your blog rocks, I found it through foodgawker as I was looking for some Asian ideas for dinner tonight.

    I love the step by step breakdown for this Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein, and I made it tonight! Of course I used the ingredients I had and added some tofu & chilies, but it was very yummy & satisfying. I also learnt something new because I never cooked Vietnamese food before...
    Here is the proof :) Thanks!

  14. Must be Crispy Chow Mein in the air! Check today's post to see my example.

  15. Su-Lin,
    The noodles might be deep-fried in the restaurants, this is just the way I made it up and it seems to work fine.

    Your noodles look great and I'm glad this dish got you to try cooking Vietnamese food. :)

    Haha! Must be! It's contagious. In a good way, of course. ;)

  16. I love the way the chayote tastes, but it makes my skin peel when I prepare it!

  17. Liz,
    I made a chayote and shrimp stir-fry with about 3 chayotes and it made my hand peel like crazy!

  18. Thank you for your recipes, In some restaurants they cooked with baby corns and broccoli, carrots, bok choy. I will try to make it. I always have to go to restaurant whenever I want to eat that dish.

  19. Margaret,
    The vegetables are the easiest to customize to whatever you like or have on hand. My favorite part is the crispy noodles.


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