Chicken Chop Suey

IMG_1646We have been cooking and eating a lot of Asian inspired dishes here at Patty Cake’s Pantry.  It started with our search for Sum Gum, included a retro chop suey recipe which used canned chop suey vegetables.   I haven’t decided if I want to share that one with you.  We continued our asian culinary adventure with fried rice, chow mein, and now chop suey.  Fortunately, no one at my house is complaining. Many people mistakenly believe that chop suey was invented in the U.S. by Chinese Americans; however, anthropologists believe that it was actually a leftover dish that was commonly made by the vegetable farmers of the Guangdong or Canton province.  It is believed that these farmers would gather together the thinnings, shoots, and unsold vegetables at the end of the day and stir fry these collected vegetables into the dish that we now call chop suey.   In fact, the name in Chinese is za sui or tsap suei which means assorted pieces or miscellaneous leftovers depending upon who you ask. Chop Suey, as presented here, is a fairly healthy meal.  It is loaded with vegetables, contains little fat, and the meat used is lean.  Served over steamed rice , it is a great alternative to fatty take out chinese food and it’s very easy to prepare.  If you serve it over brown rice instead of white, you kick up the nutrition content considerably. What follows is a recipe for chop suey that my family really enjoys.  If you are a vegetarian, substitute a pound of firm tofu for the chicken.  If you don’t have chicken, any other lean meat can be substituted.  I have even made this recipe with shrimp, but the cooking time for the meat will need to be decreased to 3 – 4 minutes in order for the shrimp to cook but not so long as to allow them to become tough. You will need the following: 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast thinly sliced.  It is easier to do this if the chicken is still partially frozen. Combine soy sauce, and sugar and pour over chicken in a small container and mix to ensure that all of the chicken is covered. While the chicken marinates, prepare the vegetables.  You will need: 3 medium onions, thinly sliced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons canola oil 6 ribs of celery (including leaves), cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms 1 large bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces or 6 small sweet peppers. Put oil in sauce pan.  Fry onion and garlic in oil until tender.

IMG_1621Remove from pan.


Add celery , mushroom, and pepper to pan and stir fry 3 to 4 minutesor until crisp tender. IMG_1622 Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside. IMG_1626Add chicken and marinade to skillet.  Stir fry 5 – 7 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. IMG_1627Return veggies to skillet. IMG_1618Combine conrstarch with water.  Add to skillet and cook  for  2 minutes or until mixture thickens. IMG_1631Add bean sprouts, salt, and pepper.  Cook until heated through. IMG_1646This is delicious served over rice and/or topped with chow mein noodles.  I realize this finaly photo does not look  very appetizing.  My photography needs lots of work.

Chicken Chop Suey
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 6 ribs celery (including leaves) cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ pound small fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper or 6 smaller sweet peppers, cut into 1" pieces
  • 4½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Combine soy sauce and brown sugar and mix well
  2. Add Chicken to Soy sauce and sugar mixture and let marinate while you prepare the vegetables.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet or wok.
  4. Fry onion and garlic in oil until tender.
  5. Remove from pan and reserve them in a large heat proof bowl.
  6. Add celery, mushroom, and green pepper to pan
  7. Stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until crips tender.
  8. Remove vegetables and add to bowl with onions and garlic.
  9. Add chicken and marinade to skillet.
  10. Stir Fry 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  11. Return vegetables to skillet with chicken.
  12. Combine cornstarch with water and add to skillet.
  13. Heat until mixture thickens. This will be approxmately 2 to 3 minutes.
  14. Add bean sprouts to pan and salt and pepper.
  15. Mix well and cook until heated through.
  16. Serve over rice or noodles.
  17. For extra crunch top with some crunchy chow mein noodles.


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