Chop Suey

Chop Suey a la dominicana

Many of our readers have let us know how much they appreciate the background information we provide on many of our dishes, their origins and cultural context. What you may not know is how much we enjoy doing this research, learning about our food and culture, and about the people that have given them to us.

If you haven’t done so, we invite you to read the fantastic introduction Aunt Ilana wrote about chofan (Chow Fan) – one of the most popular dishes of Chinese-Dominican cuisine – and about the Dominican-Chinese community. Today we bring you another of their dishes, but unlike chofan this is usually considered a restaurant fare.

Chop Suey

There exists the belief that chop suey (or “chopsuee”, as it would be pronounced by most Dominicans), like many other dishes of Chinese origins in the Americas, is not really Chinese but a local adaptation. This is more false than true.

Chop Suey

The original name of chop suey is za sui, which in Cantonese (most of the early Chinese immigrants to America were from the province of Canton) means “assorted pieces”, a very descriptive name. Obviously the ingredients available in America differed from those found in China. The dish was adapted, but its origins can be traced back to China.

Chop Suey

Maybe these adaptations are what have made it such a popular dish, or maybe it was because it contains a lot of vegetables, which makes for a filling, inexpensive dish.

Let’s appreciate the fact that this dish, if we mind the amount of fat and salt in it, can be a very healthy choice. The lean protein in the chicken breast, combined with that many nearly-raw vegetables, makes it a dish suitable for most diets.

Chop Suey

Strangely, and unlike chofan, chop suey is seldom made at home. I suppose few people have noticed how easy it is to prepare, and how easy it is to obtain the ingredients in it. With this recipe, adapted from the many I have tried, we hope you decide to give it a try.

Aunt Clara

Chop Suey

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 23 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Chop Suey

This is one of the three most popular recipes in Chinese-Dominican culinary culture, and it can be as healthy a dish as you make it to be.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. of chicken breasts, skinned and cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup of low-salt soy sauce
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 1 stalk of celery, cut into slices
  • 1 bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup of green peas cut into slices
  • 1 stalk of leek, cut into slices
  • 1 pack of pak choi, cut into slices (optional)
  • 1 cup of baby corn, cut into halves
  • 1 piece of ginger, cut into very fine slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, cut into thin slices
  • 1 tablespoons of oil for frying (I used peanut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix sugar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Reserve.
  2. Pat dry the chicken. Season with a pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok (or large thick bottom pot) over very high heat.
  4. Add the chicken and cook and stir constantly until it turns golden brown.
  5. Add the celery, peas and ginger, cook and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the carrot, broccoli and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds.
  7. Add the bell pepper, pak choi, baby corn and leek, cook and stir for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the soy sauce mix and cook stirring for 30 seconds.
  9. Serve immediately accompanied with white rice.
http://www.dominicancooking.com/8729-chop-suey-a-la-dominicana.html

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Kankana July 23, 2012, 8:03 PM

    I am not sure if this dish and the chop suey they serve with dried noodles are the same which has two name, American and Chinese chopsuey.
    Kankana recently posted..Dum Aalu – Bite Size Potatoes In Yogurt GravyMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara July 24, 2012, 8:31 AM

      Yes. In the DR I have never seen it served with noodles, though. There is another dish that is almost entirely identical but served on a bed of fried noodles.

  • Emma July 24, 2012, 8:49 AM

    Oh, wow! One of my favorite dishes. I didn’t know it was so easy to make. Cooking time!

  • Corey July 24, 2012, 5:42 PM

    Yummy!!! I know what I am going to have for dinner. I will skip the broccoli cause I hate it.

  • Ina Lipkowitz July 25, 2012, 12:07 PM

    I can remember Cuban-Chinese restaurants on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I loved them because it was the only time I could have a cafe con leche after a spicy stir-fry. Do you ever make this chop suey with tofu? (My daughter’s a vegetarian and is allergic to all poultry.)
    Ina Lipkowitz recently posted..On Crisco, Christ, and the Crisco KidMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara July 25, 2012, 12:10 PM

      Yes! In fact the tofu version is my favorite. Just remember to buy firm tofu for it, the soft one breaks down completely. You can use mushrooms too (another favorite), or just use veggies. It’s that versatile a dish.

  • Fluffynezz816 December 17, 2013, 6:22 PM

    @Ina Lipkowitz!!!
    Oh my!!! You just reminded me of my childhood!!! As a fellow New Yorker (Dominican-York