How do you like your Chopsuey? Over the years, the recipe of chopsuey has become heavily personalized to fit the taste preferences of whoever is preparing it, and in the process, the ingredients started to vary. Do you know how to cook chopsuey Pinoy style?
On Saturdays, mommies have to clean up the refrigerator and cook all of the remaining vegetables, meat, and leftovers to prepare it for the incoming Sunday market haul. Chopsuey or Chop Suey is always a good meal candidate for this reason.
Chopsuey History and Etymology
The Chopsuey history is interesting too. You know I always get a kick about food and how the words intersect with culture. Since the word is Chinese sounding, it is usually assumed to be from China but according to a quick net research, it’s actually invented by Chinese immigrants in the US of A. Hence, Chop Suey (or as we have it, chopsuey) is a classic American-Chinese dish that has been widely adopted all over over the world (including China, lol). Filipinos regard it as one of their staple dishes and typically eaten with rice.
In the Philippines, chopsuey is sometimes a derogatory word that means haphazard, “halo-halo” or a mix of everything and to derisively mean “not pure”. According to the ever-reliable Wiki though, it means “miscellaneous leftovers”. So the Chopsuey Saturday ritual rings true!
I wax poetic with this vegetable dish because as a child, i used to think that this is a dish that is reserved for the rich – chopsuey being made of highland vegetables and as a lowlander who lives across the sea, these highland vegetables costs a fortune.
There’s this restaurant in Baguio I used to drop by once in a while when I was a student. They serve Chopsuey Rice with a piece of fried chicken. But my favorite (in my memory) was this small take out store in Kamuning Quezon City that serves it over rice and topped with crispy lechong kawali. I used to work in an NGO near Quezon Avenue and we used to drop by this place and take it out for lunch (and dinner). Yumm. I’m not sure if that small stand is still there. i havent been back in 20 years!
How to Cook Chopsuey
So, anyway, today being a Saturday, I’m sharing a recipe on how to cook Chopsuey. This is very similar to the chop suey by Panlasang Pinoy except that he uses shrimp juice for his recipe. This simple but amazing chopsuey recipe (s) will teach you how to cook chopsuey chicken or pork, depending on your preferences. Even replacing the proteins with any white fleshy fish can work too.
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1/4 chicken liver marinated in 1/2 cup milk
- 1 chicken cube
- 1/4 cup water
- leftover pork
- 2 bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cabbage sliced
- 1/2 cup cauliflower
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- 1 tbsp cornstarch diluted in 1 cup water
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- Saute onions, then garlic, in oil. Add chicken cube and mash.
- Add drained chicken liver and saute for a minute more.
- Add 1/2 cup water and let cook for 5 minutes or until liver is tender and water is almost gone.
- Add pork or other meat and continue sauteing the mixture.
- Add oyster sauce.
- Add the hard vegetables such as (brocolli, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots). Cook for 3 minutes in high heat.
- Add soft veggies like cabbage and bell pepper. With fire still on high, mix quickly until vegetables are cooked.
- Pour the cornstarch slurry. Mix.
- Season with salt and pepper. (Work quickly at this point or your vegetables will turn mushy).
- Serve your chopsuey hot with rice.
Is Chopsuey Low Carb?
It’s also a great candidate for a low carb diet because you can eat it on it’s own without an accompanying rice and just tweak the amount of salt for a stand alone vegetable recipe for dinner.
It is primarily a vegetable dish with the meat added for a bit of flavor, so it is naturally low carb. Some other chopsuey recipes includes snow peas as an optional vegetable to include but keep in mind that snow peas are slightly higher in carbs than the rest of the veggies in this low carb recipe. It can also be a keto-friendly Chinese food.
Because I want to stay healthy and be one of the healthy food blogs of 2020, I’d also like to recommend this chopsuey recipe as a low carb option. See my Low Carb Meal Plan Week 1 to check how you can incorporate this homemade chopsuey recipe to your week.
Most of the time, we Pinoys have a hard time with a low carb diet because of we need something in our tummy to feel full. The veggies in this recipe is a great filler. It’s also rich in fiber so win-win all around!
You can also use this chopsuey recipe as toppings for this . Fried Pancit Canton. In any case, Chopsuey is great on its own specially if sauteed in chicken liver.
Other Chopsuey versions
Since it is essentially a leftover recipe you can get very creative with the proteins. I saw versions with chicken, hotdogs, lechon, adobo, fish balls, squidballs, etc. For special occasions, I see versions with quail eggs -those are my favorite things to fish out of this vegetable dish. If you want to know how to cook chopsuey with oyster sauce, just follow this recipe but substitute oyster sauce for the cornstarch and use less water. If you like your vegetable crunchy, work in high heat quickly.