It is said that when Marco Polo first tried “spaghet”, it was Lo Mein he actually tried, and in Easy Chicken Lo Mein with Vegetables we have a delicious dish worthy of any world traveler.
There is much controversy about Polo bringing Spaghetti back to Italy from China. Proof exists that as far back as the Etruscans, noodles were cooked and since flour existed in ancient times, it is logical to conclude someone mixed it with eggs and water to make a dough that could be boiled. For what it’s worth, nothing seems to prove any version of spaghetti outside of China actually looked like spaghetti. Noodles in the ancient world were wide, flat, irregular and never uniform in nature.
Central China is where spaghetti is said to originate. This on the Silk Road, and it makes sense for Chinese merchants to prepare a food that may be dried and stored indefinitely with minimal effort, then reconstituted for use in their travels. Neither the Etruscans nor Romans needed such devices in their gastronomic lexicons. We hold that Polo came across spaghetti not in the court of Kublai Khan, but among fellow merchant travelers along the Silk Road, where hospitality was a key part of business. Today, Chinese spaghetti is called “Lo Mein” and enjoyed by millions around the world.
- 1/2 Cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
- 5 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice; plus
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
- 2 cloves garlic; crushed thru press
- 12 ounces uncooked linguine or spaghetti
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts; cut in strips (about 12 ounces)
- 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 yellow onion; peeled, and sliced lengthwise in wedges
- 1 carrot; peeled, and sliced lengthwise in strips (about 1 Cup)
- 1 yellow, red or green bell pepper; seeded, and sliced in strips (about 1 Cup)
- 12 ounces broccoli florets (about 2 Cups)
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch; mixed with
- 2 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
- To prepare sauce: Combine broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and garlic in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir well to dissolve brown sugar. Place near the stove.
- To prepare stir-fry: Bring a kettle of lightly salted water to a boil; cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, marinate strips of chicken in soy sauce and lemon juice.
- When you are ready to cook, drain the chicken thoroughly; discard the soy-lemon marinade. Lightly coat a wok or large skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in wok until very hot, then add chicken and onion wedges.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add carrot, bell pepper and broccoli; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until broccoli is tender but still crisp. Pour in sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in cooked pasta; stir to coat evenly with sauce. Add black pepper to taste.
- Stir cornstarch mixture into the noodles and vegetables; cook about 30 seconds, or until sauce thickens slightly. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates.
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