Beef Lo Mein (牛肉撈麵)

Restaurant-level lo mein, but even tastier!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

When you want soft, silky noodles with a smooth gravy, lo mein is what you're looking for! This take-out classic is layers on layers of flavor, and making it at home means you know exactly what is in it.

No food court mysteries here! Just good ingredients and straightforward techniques from Daddy Lau's treasure trove of cooking tips.

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb lo mein
  • 0.50 lb beef (

    New York strip steak

    )
  • 6 oz napa cabbage
  • 2 oz mini sweet pepper
  • 2 oz snow pea
  • 4 stalk green onion
  • 2 oz carrot
  • 2 clove garlic

Beef Marinade

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil

Stir-fry Sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Cooking

  • 8 cup water (

    minimum

    )
  • 3 tbsp oil (

    for stir-frying

    )
  • 0.50 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Types of noodles

Always the question: what's the BEST noodle for this dish? And what's a passable noodle in case of emergencies? And what noodles should I avoid?

For Beef Lo Mein, lo mein noodles should be the first choice. They're thick and eggy, softer than chow mein and not as firm as wonton noodles.

If you have a selection, and lo mein noodles are not among that selection, choose any thick, eggy noodle that can carry a sauce. Pasta is actually a great choice! It'll taste a little different, because pasta itself tastes different, but the dish will still turn out great.

The best cut of beef

New York strip steak is our favorite choice for this recipe, because it's easy to work with and naturally tender.

Another great cut of beef is flank steak, especially for beginner cooks. It's super important to cut against the grain of the meat for this stir-fry, and the grain in flank steak is super obvious.

However, if you opt for flank steak, or any other cut of beef that isn't as tender as New York strip steak, you may want to help tenderize it with a touch of baking soda in the marinade.

(My dad says that with enough technique and cooking skill, you could theoretically use any cut of beef...)

The thick, crunchy stems and thinner leaves of the napa cabbage will take different amounts of time to cook through, so separate the stems and leaves of each piece. Take each piece of napa cabbage (6 oz) and cut the stem off with two angled cuts, like an upside-down V.

Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. My dad says that the texture is better when they're torn by hand, compared to cut with a knife.

Stack the stems up and chop them against the grain into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

Prepare the snow peas (2 oz) by carefully snapping off the stem at the end and pulling off the string all around each snow pea.

Cut the sweet peppers (2 oz) in half vertically, then remove the seeds and core. Slice them vertically into 1/2-inch wide pieces.

Cut up the green onions (4 stalk) into 2-inch long pieces, but keep the whites and the greens separate. The whites will go into the stir-fry to get cooked directly, while the greens will be mixed in at the end to be warmed up by residual heat.

Peel, smash, and roughly mince the garlic (2 clove).

To safely cut the carrot, my dad recommends starting with slicing off one side, so that there's a flat side to sit firmly on the cutting board, and it won't roll around. Then, cut the carrot (2 oz) into thin slices, and then into very thin strips.

(It's easiest to cut through partially frozen beef; firm enough to hold together, and just thawed enough to cut through.)

Trim away any tough and stringy gristle from the beef (0.50 lb). If it's too wide to slice directly, like ours, first cut it into smaller chunks. Then, cut perpendicular to the grain of the meat, into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Depending on the thickness of your beef, if your knife is angled straight up-and-down, then you may get beef slivers rather than slices. Instead, angle your knife so that the top leans over your hand and the bottom pushes away from your thumb, then you'll get wider slices.

Put the sliced beef into a bowl and add cold water to soften the meat and quickly rinse out excess myoglobin. Drain the water out.

As the beef drains, mix together light soy sauce (1 tbsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), cornstarch (2 tbsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), and water (2 tbsp) in a medium-sized bowl.

With New York strip steak, the meat is naturally tender, and we don't need to add any baking soda. If you're using flank stank or another cut of beef, you may want to add a touch of baking soda to help tenderize the meat.

Gently squeeze out more excess water from the beef, then add it to the marinade. Mix the meat and the marinade until the meat has absorbed all of the marinade, or at least until there's less of a puddle.

Prepare the sauce for the stir-fry by mixing together light soy sauce (1.5 tbsp), oyster sauce (2 tbsp), dark soy sauce (2 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), sugar (1 tbsp), cornstarch (0.50 tsp), and water (2 tbsp).

Mix thoroughly to dissolve any lumps.

In a large pot, bring water (8 cup) to a boil. Use as much water as you safely can; ideally, the noodles will cook quickly in the largest amount of hot water so they don't have to hang around and get soggy.

If you were to use less water, the noodles would more easily bring down the temperature of everything in the pot, so the water wouldn't be as hot, and it would take longer to cook. The longer the noodles take to cook, the more water they absorb, and the soggier they get. Our goal is soft noodles with integrity, not soggy, mushy noodles that fall apart.

When the water is at a vigorous boil, gently set the lo mein noodles (1 lb) inside. Stir the noodles so they don't stick to the pot. When the water comes back up to a boil (around 90 seconds), turn the heat to low. Keep the noodles cooking until they feel soft to the touch, which should take about two minutes.

You can also test the doneness by pinching apart a noodle and checking for a telltale uncooked white dot in the center, just like how you might check pasta. The lo mein noodles should be fully cooked with no white dots in the center.

When the noodles are cooked through, turn off the heat and pour the noodles out into a strainer to drain the water.

There's no need to shock them in cold water because we'll be stir-frying right away. If you're taking a break before you start stir-frying, though, then you'll want to cool those noodles down with some cold water so they don't overcook during your break.

Heat your wok on high. While the wok heats up, add oil (1 tbsp) to the marinated beef and give it a quick mix. The oil loosens up the beef slices so they don't clump together, and it helps to seal in the marinade.

After 1-2 minutes, or when the wok is beginning to smoke, add oil (2 tbsp) and swirl it around to coat the wok. Adding the oil when the wok is dry and smoking is the key to preventing sticking and burning.

Let the oil heat up for 30-40 seconds, then add the beef. Spread it evenly around the wok, but let it cook undisturbed for 20 seconds first before beginning to flip the pieces.

Stir-fry the beef until it's about 80% cooked through, or for another 20-30 seconds. Then, take the beef out and set it aside. It'll come back to join the noodles later.

Stir-fry veggies

Add more oil (1 tbsp) to the wok, and add the minced garlic. Stir-fry the garlic for 15 seconds.

Add the napa cabbage stems, and cook for 15-20 seconds.

Add the napa cabbage leaves and the green onion whites. Cook for another 20-30 seconds.

Add the carrot strips. Stir-fry everything together, making sure to mix up all the ingredients together. Cook until the vegetables have softened or about a minute.

Add noodles & stir-fry everything

It's finally time to add the noodles! Add them to the wok. Use tongs to separate the noodles so they'll be able to integrate and mingle with the rest of the vegetables. Mix it well for 30 seconds.

Give the stir-fry sauce a quick stir to recombine anything that might have settles, then pour it into the wok. Follow with the pre-cooked beef, and mix everything together. Let the noodles soak up the sauce.

Stir-fry with the beef for 30-40 seconds, then add the sweet peppers, snow peas, and green onion greens. Stir-fry for another 40-50 seconds and give it a taste. We added more light soy sauce (0.50 tbsp), but as always, adjust to your preference.

Add sesame oil (1 tsp) and stir it in for another 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Scoop everything out onto a large serving dish, and enjoy!

Summary

Beef Lo Mein (牛肉撈麵)
Restaurant-level lo mein, but even tastier!
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb lo mein
  • 0.50 lb beef (

    New York strip steak

    )
  • 6 oz napa cabbage
  • 2 oz mini sweet pepper
  • 2 oz snow pea
  • 4 stalk green onion
  • 2 oz carrot
  • 2 clove garlic

Beef Marinade

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil

Stir-fry Sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Cooking

  • 8 cup water (

    minimum

    )
  • 3 tbsp oil (

    for stir-frying

    )
  • 0.50 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Step 1 - Prepare vegetables

↑ Jump to details

Take each piece of napa cabbage (6 oz) and cut the stem off with two angled cuts, like an upside-down V.

Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Stack the stems up and chop them against the grain into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

Prepare the snow peas (2 oz) by carefully snapping off the stem at the end and pulling off the string all around each snow pea.

Cut the sweet peppers (2 oz) in half vertically, then remove the seeds and core. Slice them vertically into 1/2-inch wide pieces.

Cut up the green onions (4 stalk) into 2-inch long pieces, but keep the whites and the greens separate.

Peel, smash, and roughly mince the garlic (2 clove).

Cut the carrot (2 oz) into thin slices, and then into very thin strips.

Step 2 - Prepare beef

↑ Jump to details

Trim away any tough and stringy gristle from the beef (0.50 lb). Cut it into smaller chunks. Then, cut perpendicular to the grain of the meat, into 1/8-inch thick slices.

To get wider slices, angle your knife, leaning it down and away from your hand as you cut.

Put the sliced beef into a bowl and add cold water to soften the meat and quickly rinse out excess myoglobin. Drain the water out.

As the beef drains, mix together light soy sauce (1 tbsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), cornstarch (2 tbsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), and water (2 tbsp) in a medium-sized bowl.

Gently squeeze out more excess water from the beef, then add it to the marinade. Mix the meat and the marinade until the meat has absorbed the marinade.

Step 3 - Create sauce

↑ Jump to details

Prepare the sauce for the stir-fry by mixing together light soy sauce (1.5 tbsp), oyster sauce (2 tbsp), dark soy sauce (2 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), sugar (1 tbsp), cornstarch (0.50 tsp), and water (2 tbsp).

Step 4 - Parboil noodles

↑ Jump to details

In a large pot, bring water (8 cup) to a boil.

When the water is at a vigorous boil, gently set the lo mein noodles (1 lb) inside. Stir the noodles so they don't stick to the pot. When the water comes back up to a boil (around 90 seconds), turn the heat to low. Keep the noodles cooking until they feel soft to the touch, which should take about two minutes.

When the noodles are cooked through, turn off the heat and pour the noodles out into a strainer to drain the water.

Step 5 - Stir-fry beef

↑ Jump to details

Heat your wok on high. While the wok heats up, add oil (1 tbsp) to the marinated beef and give it a quick mix.

After 1-2 minutes, or when the wok is beginning to smoke, add oil (2 tbsp) and swirl it around to coat the wok.

Let the oil heat up for 30-40 seconds, then add the beef. Spread it evenly around the wok, but let it cook undisturbed for 20 seconds first before beginning to flip the pieces.

Stir-fry the beef until it's about 80% cooked through, or for another 20-30 seconds. Then, take the beef out and set it aside.

Stir-fry veggies

Add more oil (1 tbsp) to the wok, and add the minced garlic. Stir-fry the garlic for 15 seconds.

Add the napa cabbage stems, and cook for 15-20 seconds.

Add the napa cabbage leaves and the green onion whites. Cook for another 20-30 seconds.

Add the carrot strips. Stir-fry everything together, making sure to mix up all the ingredients together. Cook until the vegetables have softened or about a minute.

Add & stir-fry everything

Add the noodles to the wok. Use tongs to separate the noodles so they'll be able to integrate with the rest of the vegetables. Mix it well for 30 seconds.

Give the stir-fry sauce a quick stir, then pour it into the wok. Follow with the pre-cooked beef, and mix everything together. Let the noodles soak up the sauce.

Stir-fry with the beef for 30-40 seconds, then add the sweet peppers, snow peas, and green onion greens. Stir-fry for another 40-50 seconds and give it a taste. If it needs more seasoning, add more light soy sauce (0.50 tbsp), but as always, adjust to your preference.

Add sesame oil (1 tsp) and stir it in for another 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Step 6 - Plate & serve

↑ Jump to details

Scoop everything out onto a large serving dish, and enjoy!

Step 7 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 8 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.