Shiitake Mushroom and Cabbage Lo Mein
Shiitake mushroom and cabbage lo mein is a flavour-packed, kid-approved vegan main that’s sure to satisfy even the most devoted carnivores. Best of all? It’s on the table in less time than takeout!
This week our kids are back to school, and we’re all busy adjusting to our newfound busyness. So, quick and easy is the order of the day! So, the luxury of preparing two meals — one for the vegan diet my husband and I are pursuing and the other for carnivorous kids — is not an option.
Thus, I’ve resorted to one of my family’s favourite cuisines — Chinese. The great thing about Chinese food (whether takeaway or homemade) is that it’s fast, nutritionally balanced, and packed with umami.
If you’re experimenting with Veganuary , another great thing about Chinese food is that it goes vegan without losing any of it’s addictive flavour! So, in a bow to the kids, I opted to make their favourite lo mein dish with vegan stir fry strips in lieu of the chicken they’re used to.
The verdict? Nobody misses the chicken. Shiitake mushroom and cabbage lo mein is a hit with the entire family. Best of all, it’s a tasty meal, packed with protein and nutrition, that’s easy to get on the table quickly.
Shiitake Mushrooms, A Healthy Choice
The humble shiitake mushroom, which is native to East Asia, has been a staple of regional cuisine for millennia. Its prized not only for its rich, “meaty” flavour, but also for its nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Shiitakes are very low in calories, and they’re a great source of dietary fibre. Moreover, just 4 dried shiitake mushrooms contain 33% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B5, and 6% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D. Better yet, these “meaty” mushrooms contain some amino acids that are normally only found in meat. So, they’re a terrific choice for vegetarians.
In Chinese medicine, shiitake mushrooms are used to treat upper respiratory infections and are known to be particularly effective in fighting phlegm. They are also attributed with boosting qi , which is a person’s vital energy.
In recent years, Western medicine has also begun to research the health benefits of these nutritious, flavourful fungi. As a result, we now know that shiitakes:
- Lower cholesterol and may reduce your risk of heart disease,
- May boost your body’s immune system,
- Could help fight cancer, and
- Might help strengthen your bones.
With health benefits like these, shiitake mushrooms ought to make a regular appearance on everyone’s table, and this delicious shiitake mushroom and cabbage lo main is a great place to start!
About this recipe
This is a quick, easy recipe. Nonetheless, I do have a couple tips to ensure your lo mein comes out just like mine! If you’re new to stir frying, I strongly suggest you check out my previous post on how to stir fry in six easy steps.
For best results when stir frying, the most important thing to remember is to prepare all of your ingredients before you even turn on the stove. The French call this mise en place, and it’s a very important step that will help you avoid errors. However, due to the speed of the stir fry process, it’s critical for Chinese cooking.
Once your ingredients are prepped and ready — including the noodles — you’ll want to get your wok very hot. So, add the peanut oil to the wok. Light the burner. Then, wait until a wisp of smoke rises from the hot oil. At this point, you can begin cooking.
When stir frying, let the sizzle be your guide. So long as the ingredients are sizzling, your wok is hot enough, and your food will be flavoured with the “breath of the wok”.
A Note on Ingredients
As for the ingredients, I’ve used a couple of items that may vary depending on where you live:
- Asian Whole Wheat Noodles: This is a dry pasta which can be found in the Asian section of your local supermarket. Most dry pastas are vegan. However, if you’re strict, please read the label. If you can’t get whole wheat, you can always substitute an equal quantity of regular Asian noodles.
- Baby Cabbage: Since it is often difficult to find Napa cabbage in Johannesburg, I have opted for baby cabbages because their flavour is more delicate than the full grown version. However, if you can’t get baby cabbage, you can either use regular cabbage or Napa cabbage as a substitute.
- Vegan Stir Fry Strips: In South Africa, these are available at both Pick N Pay and Woolworth’s. However, if you do not find vegan stir fry strips in your local market, Chinese grocers often stock a similar product that’s a by-product of tofu production. This is a viable substitute.
I hope you’re family enjoys this delicious lo mein every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!