Learn How To Make Hong Kong Chop Suey
As Chinese dishes go, chop suey is one of the controversial ones because of its origin. While some claims that this dish was cooked up in a small district in China, a large group of people believes this dish actually originated in America. No matter the origin, a traditional chop suey is a blend of vegetables, soy sauce, and rice.
However, modern day chop suey has come a far way since then and is now infused with a number of ingredients and flavors to suit the demands of each market. Hong Kong Chop Suey is one of these renditions; the dish, like Hong Kong itself, combines authentic Chinese flavors with some western ingredients to present a concoction that is the best of both worlds. Read on to learn how to make Hong Kong chop suey.
Chop Suey Origins
Before jumping into the recipe, let’s take a look at all the controversy surrounding the origins of this amazing dish. There are many stories about the origin of chop suey and we have picked some of the more believable ones to share with you here:
- It is believed that chop suey is actually a slanged out version of “chopped sewage”. According to lore, a Chinese cook is angry at his San Francisco patrons put together a dish with the day’s garbage cooked in a bit of broth. The joke was on him because the patrons loved the dish and kept coming back for more
- Another story dictates that chop suey was actually whipped up by immigrant Chinese cooks that were given the responsibility to feed laborers on the Pacific Railroad in California. This was back in the 1800s and these cooks basically put together scraps of meat and vegetables from some leftover food and called it chop suey
- Another origin story claims that the dish originated in New York, where the Chinese ambassador Li Hung-Chang’s chef put together a bland dish for his patron because the ambassador suffered from indigestion
No matter what the origin, it is safe to say that chop suey is a staple in most Chinese, continental, and Thai menus. It is a dish loved by all and is now cooked in a number of different ways. Learn more about its origin here.
Chop Suey Vs. Chowmein
Another aspect of the controversy chop suey faces is that it is commonly confused with chow Mein, which is another very famous Chinese dish. This is because both these dishes have similar ingredients as well as cooking methods. However, they do have some mild differences that make these two dishes distinctive in their own way.
- Chop suey is said to have originated outside of China, whereas chow mein is an authentic Chinese dish
- Chop suey is originally a bland mixture of vegetables like celery, onion, and cabbage that are cooked in the form of a stew and usually served over rice. Chow mein is a stir fry that has noodles, meat, vegetables, and spices.
- Both chow mein and chop suey are made in different ways, but while chop suey has a number of variations, chow mein only has two (steamed and Hong Kong style)
- Chop suey is usually made by thickening the sauce with starch so it can act as a gravy for rice. Chow mein is made with soy sauce and is a noodle based dish
Hong Kong Chop Suey Recipe
Hong Kong chop suey differs from other types of chop suey in that it has meat in it and it has more spices than the original. Like we mentioned before, the dish combines authentic Chinese flavors with a western twist so that it can be enjoyed by food lovers all over the globe.
- Pork 500g thinly sliced
- Bok choi 1 bunch chopped
- Mushrooms ½ cup quartered
- Green Capsicum 1 sliced
- Celery ½ cup chopped
- Onion 1 chopped
- Snow peas 250g
- Rice bran oil
- Sesame oil
- Cornstarch 1tsp.
- Chicken stock 4 tbsp.
- Oyster sauce 2tsp.
- Oyster Sauce 2tsp.
- Soy Sauce 2tbsp.
- Black Pepper 1/4tsp. ground
- Fresh Ginger root 1tsp. grated
- Some oil
- First, prepare the pork marinade by combining all the ingredients together. We prefer you do this at least 2 hours before you actually have to make the dish as this will make the flavors really get infused into the pork. Also, you can use any kind of oil you like but we use olive oil. We usually mix all the other ingredients together and marinate the pork and then drizzle some of this oil over the marinated pork slices
- Once the pork is marinated, the next step is stir frying it. Take a wok and heat some sesame oil in it. Then stir fry the pork taking care not to burn them as that will ruin the taste
- Once the pork is done set it aside and add all the vegetables in the same wok. Add more sesame oil if needed
- While the vegetables are getting ready, take a bowl and combine the chicken stock, oyster sauce. Add in the cornstarch and mix
- Once the vegetables are done, add the pork slices in the wok. Gradually add the chicken stock mixture and cook it until your desired thickness is achieved
- Serve over a bed of boiled rice
There are two tricky parts in this recipe, one is the stir fry part. Usually, we get asked how to tell when the pork and vegetables are done. With pork, it will shrink and change its color. What we do is to fry the pork just until it is almost done, this is because we have to fry it again with the vegetables. This method makes sure the pork isn’t overcooked. With the vegetables, it depends on how you like them. Since we prefer our vegetables to still hold some firmness, we don’t stir fry them for long so that they remain crisp. They are supposed to lose some of their texture when you mix in the broth anyway, so keeping them crisper before makes sure that they don’t become mushy.
You can serve Hong Kong chop suey on a bed of noodles as well. Or you can choose some other flavored rice. The beauty of this dish is that it goes with almost anything. See the recipe in action.
Chop suey is a cult favorite. It isn’t just a delicious dish, it is also versatile. You can make this dish with any number of ingredients and choose the spice level you like as well. We have tried making chop suey with chicken, beef, and pork. While we love the pork version the best, the other two versions turn out brilliantly too. Chop suey can also be eaten when you are on a diet since the original recipe only calls for combining vegetables in a broth. All in all, this is one of our favorite dishes to cook when we are craving for some authentic Chinese flavors with a bit of a twist.
Did you like our recipe? If you’ve tried other versions of this dish do let us know in the comments section below.