Chow mein, 61p. Lots of variations


Chow mein, 61p. Lots of variations


Although our favourite takeaway is an Indian one, we also like a Chinese now and then. When we do, we invariably get the same things each time, including a plain chow mein.

I’ve been meaning for ages to work out how to make it so that it is as similar to the takeaway version as possible. There are lots of different versions around the internet and I’ve tried a couple. This is as close as I’ve got so far. I’m pretty pleased with this version and, as many of the recipes on Thrifty Lesley are, it’s pretty variable too.

Chow Mein

Priced at Sainsbury’s
1 medium onion, 5p
150g beansprouts, 50p/400g, 19p
200g egg noodles, medium, £1.30/375g, 69p
2 tblsps soy sauce 95p/150ml, 19p
a couple of spring onions 100g/45p, 8p
2 tblsps oil, 2p
Salt and pepper

Serves 2 generously
Total cost £1.22, 61p a portion
Per portion – 335 calories, 40g carbs, 16g fat, 11g protein, 2g fibre

Peel the onion and slice in half, then into half again to make quarters and slice these thinly into half moons. Sauté in a wok or deep frying pan in the oil until transparent.

Add the bean sprouts to the pan and cook until transparent. Add the soy sauce and salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles. They only take about 4 minutes. Drain very well.

Add the noodles to the pan and toss everything together. Serve immediately

You get a huge bowl of this, for not many calories.



On my meal plan for this week, I have this recipe, but this time I will be adding a chicken breast, a few mushrooms and a sliced pepper. Other versions that I would do include adding a pack of large prawns and a handful of peas: a bit of beef, or pork, sliced fine and a green pepper: to make a diffusion dish, I would add some sliced and fried halloumi and some carrots, sliced on the diagonal. I’m not that fond of tofu, but if you want a version with a dollop of protein, tofu would work well.

I will also try adding lots of different veg: carrot on the diagonal, fine sliced swede, a handful of peas, chopped white cabbage and maybe top it all off with some salted peanuts.

As with everything I do, see what you have in the cupboard, fridge or freezer and add whatever you think will taste good.

I popped  a small dish of this into the freezer last night to see what it would be like. I’ve just defrosted it, heated it, and tried it. Success, those delicate little bean sprouts survived!


Prawn chow mein


Faggots & Gravy

Take care of your family and your budget

Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one

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  1. Lesley

    Made this for tonight’s dinner. Made with rice noodles instead of egg noodles and sliced mangetout instead of bean sprouts also added a lot of mushrooms and some leftover veg. This was fantastic thanks for the recipe

  2. Lesley

    Oh whoops, you’re quite right!

  3. Ann

    Egg noodles aren’t vegan!

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