Easy chow mein for kids

Young children often like stir-fried vegetables because they are still crunchy - so this is a good dish for trying new ingredients. Chow mein can be served hot as a main meal or cold as a salad.

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For the chow mein sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (low-salt version if possible)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp tomato ketchup
  • half a lemon, juice only


  1. Adult’s job: Place the dried noodles in a heatproof bowl and add boiling water from the kettle. They will take approximately five minutes to cook and this is fun for children to watch but be careful of the hot water. When the noodles are cooked, drain them in a sieve and rinse the noodles under cold water.

  2. Kid’s job: Peel and grate the carrot. This can be done by kids but be cautious using graters and peelers as they can be very sharp. Kids can chop any other vegetables you want to include. Everything should be sliced thinly if possible.

  3. Kid’s job: In a small bowl mix together the soy, honey, ketchup and lemon juice. Have a taste - it should be tangy but sweet. You can add a little more of the ingredients as needed.

  4. Adult’s job: Heat a large frying pan or wok and add the oil. Add the garlic and stir fry for a few seconds, then add the grated carrots, spring onions and the beans or peas (either raw or from frozen) as well as any other raw veg or cooked meats you want to add.

  5. Adult’s job: Stir fry for two minutes on a high heat before adding the sauce and a splash of water. Taste (kids can do this). You may need extra honey, lemon or soy sauce.

  6. Adult’s job: Add the cooked noodles to the stir-fried ingredients along with the beansprouts if you are using them. Stir the chow mein for a couple of minutes over a high heat to finish the dish. Serve in a bowl - try using chopsticks!

Recipe Tips

Safety first! Graters can be really sharp and can cut small knuckles so make sure you only use larger pieces of vegetable which keep fingers away from the metal blade. Always use graters resting on a chopping board, not held over bowls. You can help by gently holding the vegetable and the child’s hand for the first few grates so they can feel what to do. It is always better to leave the last bit of any vegetable rather than chopping or grating close to the fingers. Rotary graters are safer to use and cost under £10.

Use a knife which doesn’t have a pointy end- you can buy plastic “salad knives” for very little money which are ideal for kids to use, they can also use scallop-edged "sandwich knife" (not a serrated one which cuts fingers easily). Kids may need help chopping hard vegetables.

There are lots of things that can be ripped by hand or chopped with (clean, child-friendly) scissors - herbs, greens, spring onions and salad don’t really need to be chopped with a knife.