At its heart is the sauce, composed of four very necessary components: Chinese cooking wine, tamari, oyster sauce and honey. After much experimentation, my conclusion is that something will always be missing if one of these is left out.
Chinese Cooking Wine: not to be confused with sweet Japanese mirin, this product is a savory wine made from rice, salt and water. Most often found in asian specialty markets, it is increasingly sold in national grocery chains.
Tamari: is a (generally) gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. Be sure to check the ingredient list, as some brands do contain small amounts of wheat, though comparatively less than soy sauce which is typically 40-60% wheat. Additionally, tamari is milder in flavor. My preferred brand is San-J low sodium tamari.
Oyster Sauce: frequently used in Chinese cooking, this is a must for lo mein. Look for a brand that does not use chemicals, such as Kikkoman.
Honey: the purpose of the honey is to cut the saltiness of the sauce, not to overly sweeten it. If possible, use a pure local honey rather than mass produced brands which typically contain corn syrup and preservatives.
1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons low sodium tamari sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, *optional
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
3 scallions, julienned
16 ounce package gluten-free brown rice spaghetti
Combine the wine, broth, tamari, oyster sauce, sesame oil if using, honey, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
Using a saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high and cook the onion and carrots for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add the scallion and sauce, continuing to cook another 2-3 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions, usually about 7-10 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold water to avoid overcooking. Return the spaghetti to the pot and toss with the sauce.
Yield: 8 servings