That’s not instant noodles that you see in the photo. That’s lo mein with soy and lemon sauce — inspired by the kalamansi-soy sauce flavored instant noodles. I made this dish with eggless wheat-based noodles and fresh meat and vegetables.
But… really? Inspired by instant noodles? Yes. Among the instant noodles that we buy is the one flavored with kalamansi (native citrus) and soy sauce. It’s the least artificial tasting of the lot, as far as I’m concerned. Shocking that we buy instant noodles? It’s quite a story.
We used to buy instant noodles with those powdered seasonings a lot. A LOT. Then, we gave them up. That was around the same time when we gave up canned goods too. We were going fresh all the way. Then, in 2009, typhoon Ondoy hit the country and although the floods didn’t touch our neighborhood, there was no power and no water for days. All the meat, seafood and vegetables in the fridge went bad, supermarkets couldn’t accept credit cards because there was no power, we didn’t have cash (Ondoy hit everyone unaware) so we couldn’t go to the public markets (if they were open at all). It was a nightmare.
Lesson learned, after typhoon Ondoy, we started keeping canned goods and instant noodles again. Not in bulk but more of an emergency supply — canned meat, half a dozen packets of instant noodles, canned corn… In a typhoon-prone country, you never know when the next one will hit you. And I’m one with Scarlett O’Hara when she said, “I swear I will never go hungry again.”
Okay, so, how to make this not-istant lo mein with soy and lemon sauce…
Start by boiling the noodles.
While the noodles boil, cut the meat, mushrooms and vegetables.
Measure the seasonings and stir in a bowl.
Now, the stir frying begins. The pork takes longest to cook so that goes in first. Then, the rest of the ingredients.
When the meat and vegetables are done, add the noodles.
Toss together and cook until done.
And enjoy your lo mein with soy and lemon sauce.
- 150 g. of dried noodles, eggless or otherwise — your choice
- about 100 g. of pork, sliced thinly then cut into strips, and seasoned very lightly with salt and pepper
- about 150 g. of mushrooms (whatever variety you prefer)
- a small carrot, julienned
- 8 green beans, sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 8 to 10 shallots, peeled
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- a cup of shredded white cabbage
- about 3 tbsps. of peanut oil
- For the sauce:
- 3 to 4 tbsps. of light soy sauce
- 3 tbsps. of oyster sauce
- juice of one lemon
- a generous pinch of sugar
- a generous drizzling of sesame seed oil
- Cook the noodles in boiling water. For best results, undercook them a bit so they can finish cooking in the sauce later. Rinse, drain and set aside.
- Prepare all the ingredients for the meat-vegetable stir fry (see stir frying basics to take the guesswork out of the equation).
- In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pork and stir fry just until the meat changes color. Add the rest of the ingredients in the following order and with a 30-second interval between each addition: shallots, garlic, green beans and cabbage (these two at the same time), the julienned carrot and, finally, the sliced mushrooms. Season with more pepper if you like.
- Add the noodles. Pour in the sauce.
- Stir fry until the noodles are heated through and has absorbed the sauce.
- Serve at once. You may also serve lemon wedges and more light soy sauce on the side.