What I need to do is simplify my life and my menu. I am sure busy wives and moms like me feel the same. This brought to mind Chop Suey, a one-skillet, all-in-one stir fry meal, which mom often cooked. Mom cooked this dish all the time with vegetables harvested from our backyard which my dad planted.
Chop Suey (say ‘chop sooy’) sounds Chinese but is actually an Americanized Asian dish. It is also a very well-liked Filipino dish. Today, internet sources allude to ‘chop suey’ as Mandarin or Cantonese words which mean ‘small bits’ of ‘this and that’. And truly it is a delightful cornucopia of many different ingredients sliced small. It may have vague American origins but it sure found its way to the Philippines and back again here on my dinner table in New Jersey. The small portions of meat cooked in a slew of vegetables in season is very appealing to the home cook like me who needs to get dinner done in a hurry.
I sliced the beef strips and prepared the crisp cabbage, fragrant bell peppers, crunchy green beans, bright orange carrot slices and the lovely asparagus. A quick stir fry in my large skillet, a few turns and in no time, dinner was ready to be poured on rice.
How to Cook Chopsuey
- 1 pound sliced in 2-inch length strips beef sirloin
- 4 Tablespoons divided, use 2 Tablespoons to marinate beef, rest for stir fry soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons to coat beef cornstarch
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves peeled, minced garlic
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 large peeled, sliced, about 1 cup carrot
- 1 large seeded, sliced in 2-inch strips red or green bell pepper
- 1 and 1/2 cups organic broth beef, chicken or vegetable
- 2 to 3 cups shredded in thin 2-inch strips cabbage
- 2 cups edges trimmed, sliced in 2-inch strips green beans
- 1 cup edges trimmed, sliced in 2-inch strips fresh asparagus
- 1/8 teaspoon from Asian markets, optional sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
- for serving boiled rice
- In a medium sized bowl, marinate the sliced beef with soy sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready to cook, coat the beef slices in cornstarch and set aside.
- Over medium high heat, in a large skillet (about 12-inches ), add the vegetable oil. Heat the oil for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir fry the garlic, onions and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes till onions get transparent.
- Add the beef strips, sliced carrots, bell peppers and mix around to flavor the skillet. Sear the beef strips for 2 to 3 minutes till the meat turns from pink to brown. Pour a cup of broth to the skillet and blend into the beef and rest of the ingredients.
- Pour 1/2 cup broth into the bowl where the beef strips were coated with cornstarch. There will still be a bit of leftover cornstarch sticking to the sides of the bowl. Tilt the bowl around so the liquid catches the leftover cornstarch and blend this slurry with a spoon. Pour this liquid into the skillet where the beef is cooking. Add remaining soy sauce. Blend well.
- Add the cabbage strips, green beans and asparagus. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes more. Blend all the ingredients together.
- Season with sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Serve with boiled jasmine white rice.
- Cook’s comments: chop suey is often cooked with sliced chicken breast, pork or chicken gizzards, all of which I did not have when I cooked this recipe. I had a surplus of beef so I decided to cook this dish with it. Feel free to use chicken or pork if preferred, same amount indicated here. For safety reasons, chicken and pork should always be cooked thoroughly. Use fresh vegetables in season if it is more convenient. This is a forgiving dish and you can add or subtract vegetables, meat and even seafood depending on what you have available.
- Ingredient Information: Sesame oil is a thick, amber-colored oil pressed from roasted sesame seeds. The oil has a rich, nutty flavor which enhances Chinese dishes. Sesame oil is used in small amounts as a seasoning. It has a rich nut aroma. This can be purchased from Asian markets or online sources. (Reference from "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook" by Patricia Tanumihardja).
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- Easy Skillet Recipes for Back to School from the Sunday Supper TastemakersIt’s that busy back to school time of year. Let’s celebrate with Easy Skillet Recipes that are on the table in under an hour. By using just one skillet for the whole meal, clean up is a breeze. Who doesn’t need an array of easy recipes with less mess for those busy nights?!Event host: Liz of That Skinny Chick Can BakeCampaign Manager: Marion <[email protected]
- Be sure to check out the list below for all of the Easy Skillet recipes, and join us on Twitter this Sunday, September 11th at 7pm ET. where we’ll be sharing our pro tips and chatting all about how we work with skillets in our own kitchens. Chat with you then!
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