CHOP CHOP SUEY

My bf and I have recently moved in together, and while it has its challenges, it also has its excitement and thrills.  One of these challenges comes in the form of meal planning and cooking for each other and, also, together.  We have done fairly well with the meal planning so far and cooking, when we have the time, also goes really well.  Between the bf’s gym time and my scrapbooking and later work nights, we try to have a balance between having leftovers and cooking, and also going out (or ordering in) every once in a while.  Although if I’m perfectly honest, meal planning is almost a skill in itself and one that I’m (we’re?) not very good at, but I’m trying to make us better at it!

When we do get to cook together, we like to try new things.  I am pretty adventurous in the kitchen and I like to think I have rubbed off on him a little…although he may disagree with me a little on that one…  We had enormous success with our Pad Thai recipe and we have recently been on an Asian kick.  Perhaps as a result?  Quite possibly!  After having Chinese takeout one evening, we decided that since chop suey was one of the best dishes we ordered that night, we needed to try making it ourselves.  I would like to note here that, while I take pride in my cookbook collection, I am lacking a good Asian cookbook for stir fries and such.  So, my search for a chop suey recipe turned to the internet/Pinterest.  Pinterest turned up a few recipes, but a Google search ultimately gave us the recipe that we tried – from here.

With a few modifications, we came up with something that we ended up devouring.  Literally.  It was so tasty – absolutely better than take out!  One of the beautiful things about stir fries is that you can modify the ingredients and add things that you like, in place of others that you don’t. For example, this particular recipe calls for mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts, among many other vegetables, but we are severely anti-mushroom in this house, and bamboo shoots and water chestnuts have never really been my faves.  It’s easy to add carrots, red pepper, broccoli, or cauliflower instead, if those are more to your taste.  For our testing of this particular recipe, we didn’t play with the sauce too much – if anything I added more chicken broth, because I like my dishes saucy!

So, there’s a few steps to any stir fry: marinate the meat, chop the veggies, decide on a starch (rice or noodles), cook said starch, make a sauce and then, of course, cook everything.  I know, I know, it seems a little daunting, but this makes it a great two-person job.  Also, some of these things don’t require a lot of time and once they are done, you can kind of leave them to do their thing.  The bf and I have a pretty decent system going – I do the chopping and prep, he pours the wine and does the frying.

I would start with chopping the veggies:

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We added:

1/2 green pepper, chopped into pieces
1/2 onion, sliced
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
a healthy handful of snow peas or snap peas (I prefer snap peas – more crunch!)
a healthy handful of fresh bean sprouts

Next, do the meat:

Marinade approximately 1 pound of meat (chicken, pork, or beef: the marinade works for all!) in:

1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

You can leave the meat to marinate for about 15 minutes – or longer.  Basically until you are ready to cook the meat.

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The first time we made it, we used leftover roast chicken, which reduces overall cooking time.  We have also used raw meat from the beginning, so both work really well.

Once the meat is marinating and the veggies are chopped, it’s time to start cooking the veggies, which is really most of the hassle.  At least for this recipe.  The recipe requests that you cook each vegetable one at a time, and then transfer them into a bowl as you cook them.  Eventually you’ll end up with bowlful of steamed/cooked veggies that looks like this:

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Once you’ve got a start on those veggies, you can start noodles (something thin – I buy something similar to chow mein noodles), if you decide on noodles.  If you want rice, now would be a good time to start that as well.  While the bf is frying and steaming the veggies and in between scraping out the wok, I’ll mix together the sauce.  All you need is:

1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp corn starch

If you prefer a saucier stir fry (like moi), then do maybe 1/3 cup of chicken broth.

Once the veggies are done, cook the meat.  This should take about 10 minutes.

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While the meat is cooking, the noodles will cook as well, so drain those when they are finished and then set aside. If you’ve chosen something like chow mein or thinner noodles, it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

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Once the meat is done, it’s time throw everything back into the wok and finish everything up.  This means add the veggies back to the wok, stir and add the sauce that you made.  Then add the noodles and stir everything together.

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The recipe is not based on any spicy ingredients, so when you serve, feel free to garnish with sriracha (or another hot sauce) and perhaps some green onions – these add a nice touch as well.

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It’s a wonderful recipe that is also versatile – feel free to change up the veggies and even the meat.  Any of your standard proteins will stand up nicely to the flavours and ingredients.  The best part of a stir fry is that you can find what works best for you, if you aren’t necessarily as adventurous.

Thanks for reading! Happy eats!
xoxo
~e.

 

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