What I need to do is simplify my life and my menu. This brought to mind Chop Suey- Vegetable Stir-Fry, which mom often made for us. Mom cooked this dish all the time with vegetables my father cultivated and harvested from our backyard. I even remember she referred to the Chop Suey recipe from the classic Philippine cookbook “Let’s Cook with Nora” by Nora Daza.
Here’s what made me decide to cook Chop Suey. I was at the grocery last week and beef London broil was on sale. I bought a huge pack and divided that into four portions to make different dishes. I like to do ‘make ahead meals’ on weekends to tide me over on busy weeknights. So I made pot roast, beef stew, and skewered some kabobs to grill. I still had a pound and a half of beef left and with the fresh vegetables in my bin, I knew Chop Suey was on the menu.
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. 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 quickly. 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 dependable wok, a few turns and in no time, dinner was ready to be poured on the fragrant bowl of steaming rice.
Chop Suey- Vegetable Stir-Fry
- 11/2 pounds beef sirloin or tenderloin sliced in 2-inch length strips (or use London-broil cuts)
- 4 Tablespoons soy sauce divided, use 2 Tablespoons to marinate beef, rest for stir fry
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch to coat beef
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 large carrot peeled and sliced, about 1 cup carrot
- 1 large red or green bell pepper seeded, sliced in 2-inch strips red or green bell pepper
- 11/2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 2 to 3 cups shredded cabbage thin strips
- 2 cups sliced green beans edges trimmed, sliced in 2-inch strips
- 1 cup sliced fresh asparagus edges trimmed, sliced in 2-inch strips
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- boiled rice for serving
- 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 wok or skillet, 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 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 warm 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.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]