Today, we are making Chop Suey. A lot of people believe that this dish was invented in the US by Chinese Americans. I’ve got so many people requesting it so I did a lot of research to find out the Chinese root of this dish; turns out it does exist in China.
Let me explain the meaning of Chop Suey. It is the transliteration of Cantonese pronunciation of “炒杂碎”
- Chao 炒 means stir fry, which is the most common cooking technique in Chinese cuisine.
- Za 杂 means a little bit of everything
- Sui 碎 mean broken; it is referring to all the roughly chopped ingredients
There is no specific recipe for Chao Za Sui because it is an impromptu stir fry that is made with whatever ingredients you have.
- 14 oz (400 grams) of mixed vegetables
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 1/2 inch of ginger, sliced thinly
- 12 oz (340 gram) of meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish…)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of soy sauce to marinate the pork
- 1 tsp of dark soy sauce
- Some black pepper to taste
- A splash of water if needed
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce to seasoning the vegetables
- 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce
- A drizzle of Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tsp of cornstarch
- 1/4 cup of water
- A drizzle of sesame oil
Roughly cut 14 oz of vegetables into bite size. You can use whatever you like. I choose Chinese broccoli, carrot, snow peas, bell pepper, cauliflower, and bean sprout.
Slice 2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 inch of ginger thinly;
For the protein, I am using 12 oz of pork shoulder, which I cut it into 1/8 of an inch thick slices. Marinate it with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, this will help to tenderize the meat; 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tsp of dark soy sauce, and some black pepper to taste. Mix until well combined. You can also use the same marinade but switch to chicken or beef. Set it aside for 15 minutes.
Before cooking, quickly mix 2 tsp of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water.
Turn the heat to high and heat the wok until it is smoking hot. Add some cooking oil and toss it around to cover the bottom of the wok. Go in with the marinaded pork. Quickly stir for a minute or 2. I know that doesn’t sound like enough time to cook the pork through, which is exactly what we want because we will cook it furthermore. If the pork is fully cooked now, it will be overcooked when we mix it with the vegetables later. Once the pork has changed color, you can take it out. Make sure you tilt the wok so you can leave the oil in there.
Turn the heat back on high. Toss in the garlic and ginger slices. Stir for a minute or until they are fragrant. Throw in the vegetables. Cook them for a couple of minutes. If you see the wok is a bit dry, you can add a couple splash of water; the steam will help to cook the vegetables through.
Season with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce. Keep stirring. At this time, you can add the bean sprout and the leafy part of the gailan. Introduce the pork back to the wok. Add a splash of Chinese cooking wine from the side of the wok. Mix to combine everything. Pour in the cornstarch water. Stir until the sauce is thickened up. Before serving, add a drizzle of sesame oil for the nutty taste. Enjoy!
The recipe is super easy. There are just 2 things you need to do to make this authentic. The first is not to follow the recipe exactly; just make it with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge as this is an impromptu stir fry. Second, because it is a stir fry, you really need a Chinese wok to be able to toss the ingredients around and get the wok hay effect. Wok hay is also known as the breath of the wok; it refers to a complex smoky aroma and taste created by properly cooking the food in a well-seasoned carbon steel wok over extremely high heat. Without that, your stir fry is not authentic.
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