Friday, July 9, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Chop Suey

As I’ve said on more than one occasion, I love Asian cuisine. But, until I was in my teenage years, I’d never had an opportunity to sample a variety of Asian foods. Growing up, “Asian” meant only one thing; Chop Suey! It was a favorite around our house, with Mom fixing it at least once every couple of months.

As I grew up and got a family of my own, I kept right on making Chop Suey. There were even a few times that my daughter requested Chop Suey as her birthday meal. It is still a family favorite.

I had always heard that Chop Suey was not authentic Chinese cuisine; that it had been invented in the United States by immigrant Chinese railroad workers. Turns out that isn’t the case. While it was introduced to America by those Chinese railroad workers, it turns out that Chop Suey is very traditionally food from Taishan, a district of Guangdong Province, the origin of many of those early Chinese immigrants.

Our ingredients today are:
2 Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (see below)
1 28-oz can chop suey vegetables (drained)
1 14-oz can bean sprouts (drained)
1 8-oz can sliced bamboo shoots (drained)
1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups of cooked rice

First, we need to cook and shred our chicken breasts. Once again, we’ll be using our pressure cooker. Place the chicken in the pressure cooker with 1 cup of water, the tablespoon of soy sauce, the teaspoon of garlic powder, and the teaspoon of black pepper. Bring the cooker up to pressure and cook the chicken for 8 minutes. Let the cooler cool on its own, remove the chicken and shred it with a couple of forks. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Put the chicken, with the original cooking liquid, in a large pot with a cover. (I just use the pressure cooker. Since it doesn’t have lid other then the pressure lid, I just use a pie pan as a lid. It’s worked well so far!(10 years or so))

Add the Chop Suey veggies, the bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts, the ½ cup of soy sauce and 4 cups of water, and mix well. Cover & bring to a boil. When it comes to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. (I cook my rice at this time, and just let the Chop Suey simmer until the rice is done.)

Serve over rice and top with a few crunchy chow mein noodles. If you like your food spicy, add a spoonful of chili paste. Serves 6. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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