Chow mein and chop suey are two of the most popular dishes in Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine. Chow mein (translated to “fried noodles”) is a traditional Chinese recipe made up of noodles, vegetables, sauce, and often a protein. Chop suey, on the other hand, was created in America, basically as a way to use up leftover ingredients in a Chinese-style dish (one English translation of chop suey is “miscellaneous broken pieces”).
There are many different ways to prepare both of these dishes, offering a lot of flexibility when it comes to the ingredients, making chow mein and chop suey weeknight dinner lifesavers. They are quick and easy to put together and full of all the nutrition you need. Chow mein and chop suey recipes can become your go-to dishes after a busy day, satisfying the entire family.
These Are Flexible Recipes
Chow mein and chop suey are a brilliant way to use whatever you have in the fridge. You can include any types of meat, poultry, or seafood, as well as a wide array of vegetables. These dishes are also ideal for using leftovers, so if you have any turkey, roast, or shrimp after the holidays or a weekend party, you can make a chow mein or chop suey for lunch the next day without much effort.
Even with all of this flexibility, there are popular chow mein and chop suey recipes that can be found in Chinese cuisine. You can, however, still adjust the amount of seasonings in each dish to suit your own taste and swap the ingredients if you want. For example, substitute the pork for beef, and if you can’t find bok choy in your local supermarket just use spring greens, tender stem broccoli, or even kale.
Learn to make three different types of chow mein—beef chow mein, chicken chow mein, and seafood chow mein—and you will be all set for a variety of delicious meals in a snap. All of the ingredients are readily available or probably already in your refrigerator. You can marinate the meat a day before, and then at dinnertime prepare the vegetables and noodles for a quick stir-fry.
This chicken chow mein recipe has crisp noodles like you’ll find in American Chinese restaurants but without the added fat. The chicken is marinated and then stir-fried along with ginger, onions, Chinese mushrooms, and flowering chives.
In China, chow mein is made with soft noodles or egg noodles; this recipe calls for wonton noodles cooked soft. If you prefer a crispy chow mein, you will need to boil the noodles first, then add more oil than the recipe calls for and stir-fry to dry them out. The chicken is marinated and then stir-fried with plenty of vegetables in a flavorful sauce. If you like, feel free to swap the chicken with pork or prawns.
This classic stir-fry dish is a crowd pleaser. Simply stir-fry noodles along with a variety of fresh vegetables, including bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms for a colorful and filling dish. The recipe is finished off with a sauce combining oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and sesame oil.
This delicious and simple version of chicken chop suey combines shredded chicken with fresh ginger, spring onion, bean sprouts, and green pepper. The chicken is first coated in egg white and cornstarch paste and then cooked in oil and drained. It is added back to the wok after the vegetables are stir-fried along with some soy sauce and rice wine. The entire mixture is thickened with cornstarch and then drizzled with sesame oil.
While chop suey as we know it is an American-Chinese creation, and not an authentic Chinese dish, it may have been inspired by the stir-fried vegetables Chinese farmers used to eat after a long day working in the fields. Interestingly enough, pork chop suey is primarily a vegetable dish; the meat is added for extra flavor. You can also replace the pork with other kinds of meat, such as beef or chicken.