In Indonesia there is a city called Makassar or Ujung Pandang, and they have an Indonesian chow mein (Makassar style) that is uniquely there’s. I’m not sure how it was developed, but if you haven’t tried it, it is amazing and distinct. The closest chow mein I have tasted to it, is the Hong Kong style chow mein. They both contain crispy pan-fried noodles, and some of the same usual toppings such as yu choy and chicken. The main difference is the thicker than water gravy in Indonesian chow mein.
I have a ton of memories of eating Indonesian chow mein. The thing about these chow mein restaurants is that all the meals are cooked on a cart at the front of the restaurant. I’m not sure there was even a back kitchen, because all the cooking happened in plain view. As you walked in you could smell the hot wok stir frying the noodles, and see the steam coming off the pan. I would always ask for extra gravy, because who doesn’t. Some of the best memories I have eating out is at this chow mein restaurant with my family.
So when my Mom came up with her Indonesian chow mein recipe, I was all about that recipe. Over the years, she has gone through multiple iterations to get it to this final version, and it was worth the time. The gravy is not too salty, not too watery, and all goodness.
Tips for cooking Indonesian chow mein (Makassar style)
- Cook the noodles in batches – I can’t tell you how many times I have ruined stir frying noodles because I crowded the wok. Give your noodles some space when you are frying them.
- After you par-boil the noodles – Make sure they are good to go and dry before you stir fry. If not, you are going to be steaming your noodles, not frying them.
- Chicken powder not broth – This part I’m pretty sure about. My Mom has used both chicken broth and chicken powder and water. The chicken powder with water is way better. Chicken broth is ok, it just lacks that extra oomph in my opinion.
What to eat with Indonesian chow mein
- Indonesian Chicken satay – Chicken skewers with peanut sauce, c’mon that is good by itself. This quick and fun recipe for satay is a good combination.
- Rice – My rule is if you are eating something with gravy, you always eat it over rice.
Indonesian Chowmein (Makassar style)
- Wok or Non-stick pan
- 1 package Chow mein noodles
- 1 Boneless chicken breast
- 1 bundle Yu choy
- 1 Shallot
- 1 Garlic clove minced
- 3 cups Chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp Light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp MSG
- Get Ingredients
Prepare the Noodles
- Par-boil fresh noodle for 2 minutes in a wok ( bring to boil, slosh around the noodles then take out)
- Strain the liquid , let noodles dry up a little.
- Pan fry the noodles with 2 Tbs oil in a big flat pan. Cook in batches if necessary.
- Fry until noodles are crisp and brown. Flip the noodles and fry the other side.
- Spread the cooked noodles on a serving platter
Prepare the Gravy
- Mix your 3 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of oyster sauce, 3 tbsp of light soy sauce, 2 tbsp of shaoxing wine, and 1 tsp of MSG.
Prepare the toppings
- Cut and mince your Garlic
- Slice your shallots into thin slices.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes.
- Cut your vegetables.
- Add 2 Tbs oil, saute shallots and garlic until fragrant
- Add chicken pieces to the hot wok and stir fry until cooked, about 7 minutes.
- Pour the gravy mixture into the rest of ingredients in the wok or non-stick pan. Turn the heat to high and keep stirring until gravy thickens. The consistency you want is almost thinner than turkey gravy but thicker than au jus sauce on a prime rib dip.
- Cover wok or non-stick pan for 2 minutes.
- Get your noodles ready, and pour the topping over the cooked crisp noodles.
- Serve family style and give more gravy as you see fit.