This Chop Suey recipe is not just visually stunning with its myriad of vegetables and meats, it is also delicious and so healthy! It's easy a stir-fry of colorful vegetables with thick yummy sauce good for special occasions or for an everyday healthy meal.
History of Chop Suey
As I was doing my research on this recipe, I was surprised to learn that the exact origin of this famous dish is still unknown! Yes, we know that it is an American-Chinese cuisine but there were so many accounts of how, when, and who started this dish that until now, are still left unproven.
Nevertheless, I saw a common trend in those stories. This dish was somewhat made haphazardly by mixing whatever available ingredients or leftovers were at that time and tossing it into a thick sauce- then viola! - Chop suey was invented!
Some historians claimed that this dish is originally noodle-based kind of like Chow Mein. But I have always known this dish to be paired with rice. The one I made, of course, is the Filipino way of making this mouth-watering dish that we eat with steamed with rice.
What Ingredients to use?
The good thing about cooking Chop Suey is that you can use as many varieties of vegetables, meat, seafood, and other additions as you like. You can choose whatever you want or omit the ones you do not like.
This is the reason why Chop Suey has no exact formal definition. It is mostly described as a "stir-fry of vegetables, meat, and seafood that comes with a thick sauce."
Vegetable Options- You can use leftover vegetables on your fridge that needs to be cooked soon or harvest them fresh from your own veggie garden! The most common vegetables used for this dish are cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, young corn, mushrooms, beans, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. On this recipe, I also used Pak Choi and Sugar snaps freshly picked from my backyard garden.
Meat Options- there are also several meat options that you can choose from. Pork, beef, and chicken being the most favored ones. The ones made here in the Philippines usually include pork or chicken liver, chicken heart, and gizzard.
Seafood Options- If you opt to add seafood on the already flavorful mix of your Chop Suey, the best options would be shrimps, prawns, scallops, squid, and mussels. You can also add fish meat cut in cubes.
Other Options- as if having a counter-full of veggies, meat and seafood are not enough, some also like adding hard-boiled quail eggs, and fried firm tofu.
Foxy Tips for a Vibrant and Delicious Chop Suey
Do not overcook your veggies! This is a big no-no when making this dish, you want vibrant and tender-crisp, not soggy and gray vegetables. So make sure to be mindful of the cooking time. It's best to always cook the ones that take longer to soften then add the ones that cook quicker later.
Keep them vibrant and crisp. Another good tip that you can use is to parboil (to drop your vegetables in boiling water for a minute) then blanch (submerge them in ice-cold water) them. This process will preserve the vibrancy, flavor, and nutrients of these.
Use the right wok or skillet. Make sure that the size of your wok or skillet is big enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Over-crowding your pan while cooking will result in steaming versus frying or sauteing and will make them soggy.
Still inspired to make more easy vegetable dishes? Try these:
Easy Chop Suey Recipe
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup pork belly or chicken - sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup shrimps
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch - dissolved in 1 cup water
- 3-4 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 medium carrot - sliced diagonally
- 1 cup sugar snap or snow peas
- 1 small bell pepper - cut into diagonal cubes
- 1 bunch pak choi - cut into smaller pieces
- 1 medium red onion - cut into 4
- 3-4 pieces mushroom - each cut into 3-4 slices
- 5 pieces young corn - each cut diagonally into 2
- salt as needed
- In a wok or big skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic until softened. Add the pork belly slices and cook, stirring regularly, until all sides are done. Add the shrimps and do the same.
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the wok and add the oyster sauce and ground pepper and bring to a boil. Doing this from the beginning keeps the veggies crisp and helps prevents over-cooking them. Take out the shrimps.
- Add the first batch of vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and sugar snap peas and cook covered for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp and the sauce has thickened. Add the shrimp back. Season with salt if still needed. Serve hot.
This recipe was originally published in July 2016. Updated in August 2020 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video.