Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chop Suey

Until I made this recipe, I didn't have the foggiest idea what chop suey was. I've never ordered it in a restaurant (or been with anyone else who has either). Of course I've heard of it, but that was where it ended for me and chop suey.

I now know that it's just stir-fried vegetables with a starch-thickened sauce (usually with meat or seafood) and often served with rice (thanks Wikipedia). Which means I've unwittingly made chop suey before and just called it stir-fry. By the way, if you add noodles instead of rice, you can call it chow meinwhich I do remembering having as a kid, so it turns out I've been eating and making chop suey all my life. Who knew?

Makes 6 servings

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
2 celery ribs, diagonally cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 lb. baby bok choy, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (leaves and ribs separated)
3 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
6 oz. snow peas, diagonally cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/4 lb. mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 onion, halved lengthwise and into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips, then halved crosswise
1/4 lb. mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 (5 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts
1 (5 oz.) can sliced bamboo shoots
1/4 cup chicken broth
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2-3 cups cooked rice (or stir-fried noodles) for serving

1.      Stir together garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in pork and marinate 15 minutes.
2.      Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped onto cooking surface evaporates immediately. Drizzle 1 tablespoon sesame oil around side of wok. Add celery and bok choy (ribs only) and sprinkle with salt. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
3.      Add another tablespoon oil to wok and then add the remaining vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large bowl.
4.      Stir together chicken broth, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside.
5.      Reheat wok and drizzle 1 tablespoon oil around side of wok. Stir-fry pork until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
6.      Return all vegetables to wok and toss. Make a well in center, then stir broth mixture and add to well. Bring sauce to a boil, undisturbed, then stir to combine with pork and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, with cooked rice.

adapted from Gourmet, March 2002
pork marinating
chopped celery
baby bok choy
red pepper
snow peas
celery and baby bok choy in wok
all the vegetables added to the wok

You can use any vegetables you want.
vegetables cooked
cooking the pork
vegetables added back; pouring in broth/cornstarch mixture
chop suey up close
I stuck with rice for a true chop suey experience.


Randi said...

I always heard that's an American invention or term. Chinese immigrants invented it for Americans or something like that. So maybe you've never had it because the restaurants you have gone too are more authentic?

Susan said...

I think you're right about it being an American invention, but I'm sure I've been to plenty of Chinese restaurants that had it on the menu and I just didn't order it.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog, love it! And I, too, have been making this for years without realizing I was making it. Who'd uh thought it?

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