A Blast from the Past–Turkey and Bok Choy Chow Mein with Peanut Sauce

by Sarah on December 9, 2010

I was trying to re-create this dish that I used to make for my kids all the time when they were younger.  We probably ate this at least bi-weekly for a long time and then I guess I kind of forgot about it.  I don’t know why, because we all liked it a lot.  Of course, it came from a recipe in the Bee from about a million years ago that I had tweaked and modified so that it really didn’t resemble the original recipe.  And of course I can’t find any record of either anywhere in my many notebooks of cooking stuff.  Ah, c’est la vie.

The basic gist of it was that it involved a peanut sauce.  Here’s what I made today’s sauce from:  (plus cornstarch)

And here’s what makes up the chow mein.  Pretty simple ingredients, really.  I always made it ground turkey, I don’t know why.  Cheapness, maybe?  You could use anything though.  First get the water on for your noodles, they’ll have to boil for a few minutes before adding them in with the rest of the stuff.

I think one of the tricks of stir-frying anything is making sure your vegetables and sauces and stuff are ready to go before you actually start the cooking process, because the rest of it goes so fast.  I cut the carrots in matchsticks–I know it’s a pain, but they cook much better this way, trust me.  The whites of the bok choy and the onion just get sliced.  Reserve the greens of the bok choy separately.

Put your wok or large skillet on HIGH heat.  Blast that sucker.  Pour in a few Tbsp of vegetable or peanut oil and toss in a few big hunks of ginger.  You’ll fish them out later so don’t bother with mincing them all up.  Toss in all the vegetables except the green bok choy tops.  Add a clove or two of crushed garlic.  As you can see, my lazy butt tossed in a scoop of the jarred stuff I had in the fridge.  Toss it all around till it’s about half-cooked, then dump it into a bowl.

Add in the ground turkey and cook till it’s no longer pink.

Add back the vegetables, then pour in the sauce and let it come to a boil.  It will begin to thicken.

Add in the sliced green tops of the bok choy.

Then add the cooked chow mein noodles.

Season it with more Sambal Olek, sesame oil or soy sauce.  Or all three.

It wasn’t quite the same thing as I used to make–which was quite a bit more peanutty, but this was quite good.  And simple for a weeknight all-in-one-pot dinner.

Turkey and Bok Choy Chow Mein with Peanut Sauce


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb fresh chow mein noodles
  • 1 head bok choy, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 big slices of ginger
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
  • For Sauce:
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-4 Tbsp peanut butter (the cheap smooth kind works best)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Sambal Olek sauce (chili-garlic sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (or regular rice vinegar + 1 Tbsp sugar)
  • 1-2 Tbsp corn starch


  • Whisk sauce ingredients together in a bowl, set aside. Boil water and cook the chow mein noodles according to package directions.
  • In a very hot wok, add 3 Tbsp oil and ginger. Add the white parts of the bok choy, the carrot and the onion and garlic. Stir fry until about halfway cooked. Set aside on a platter or bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil and add the turkey, cook until no longer pink. Add back the vegetables and pour in the sauce, bring to a boil and let thicken.
  • Add the green part of the bok choy and the cooked noodles. Toss so that all is coated. Taste for seasoning and add soy or chili sauce to taste.


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