How to Make Chop Suey

Three Methods:Vegetable Chop SueyPork Chop SueyChicken and Shrimp Chop Suey

Chop suey is a popular Chinese-American dish, but its basic flavor palette primarily contains elements of traditional mainland Chinese cuisine. The dish itself can be found among non-native Chinese populations across the world, including countries like Canada, Germany, and India. There are multiple ways to prepare the dish, but common versions include vegetarian, pork, and chicken and shrimp options.


Vegetable Chop Suey[1][2]

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 cups (500 ml) shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) thinly sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) slices carrots
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) bean sprouts
  • 1 cup (250 ml) broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) granulated white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cold water
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) ketchup

Pork Chop Suey[3][4]

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) shortening
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) pork loin, diced or cut into thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) dry sherry
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) oyster sauce
  • White pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (250 ml) diced onion
  • 1 cup (250 ml) diced celery
  • 10 sugar peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) bean sprouts

Chicken and Shrimp Chop Suey[5]

Makes 6 servings

  • 1/4 lb (115 g) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chicken liver, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) minced garlic
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) oyster sauce
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cauliflower florets
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) snow peas
  • 1 cup (250 ml) carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) onion, diced
  • 1 cube shrimp bouillon
  • 1-1/4 cup (315 ml) water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method 1
Vegetable Chop Suey

  1. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 1
    Heat the oil. Pour the oil into a large, heavy skillet with deep sides. Place the pan on the stove and heat over a medium setting.
    • For a slightly different effect, use butter, lard, or shortening. These options are a little less healthy, but they will give the dish a richer flavor.
  2. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 2
    Sauté the onions. Place the chopped onions in the hot oil and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes or until the onion gets soft and turn slightly translucent.
    • Since the onions will continue cooking alongside the other vegetables, you should not allow them to brown yet. If the onions start to look brown before the designated amount of time has passed, quickly move onto the next step.
  3. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 3
    Add the carrots, cabbage, and broccoli. Place these vegetables into the pan next. Continue cooking on medium, stirring frequently, for another 2 to 3 minutes. The vegetables should begin to soften during this time.
    • If you want to add salt, sprinkle it in after your vegetables have begun to soften.
  4. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 4
    Pour in the water and let simmer. Add 1 cup (250 ml) warm water to the contents of the pan. Place a lid on on the pan and allow the mixture to reach a boil. Cook, still covered, for 5 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
    • Alternatively, if you prefer your vegetables to be a little more tender, you can cook the dish for a longer period of time. Test the vegetables every few minutes for tenderness by piercing them with a fork.
    • If you do decide to cook the vegetables for more than 5 minutes, stir the contents of the pan after the first 5 minutes and whenever you check on the vegetables.
  5. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 5
    Toss in the bean sprouts. Remove the lid from you pan and stir the sprouts into the rest of the dish. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, just long enough to heat the sprouts through.
    • Bean sprouts do not take long to cook, and if you leave them in for too long, they can become mushy and unappetizing. As such, it is better to add them to the pan after the other vegetables are just about fully cooked.
  6. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 6
    Whisk the sauce together in a separate bowl. Combine the white vinegar, sugar, 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cold water, cornstarch, soy sauce, and ketchup in a small bowl, whisking until evenly blended.
  7. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 7
    Add the sauce to the vegetables. Pour the sauce into the skillet, stirring the contents of the pot thoroughly to coat all of the vegetables. Let the sauce boil and thicken.
    • It should take 1 to 2 minutes for the sauce to thicken. Once it thickens, cook the dish for another 1 minute to ensure that the cornstarch has fully broken down. Uncooked cornstarch can leave an aftertaste, but the extra cooking time can help prevent this.
  8. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 8
    Serve. The vegetable chop suey is now finished. Serve it while still hot with a cooked rice or boiled noodles. If desired, sprinkle each portion with crispy fried noodles before enjoying.

Method 2
Pork Chop Suey

  1. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 9
    Marinate the pork. Whisk together the dry sherry, oyster sauce, and a pinch of white pepper in a non-reactive dish. Place the pork in the marinate and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    • A non-reactive dish can be made of glass or plastic. Do not use a metal dish.
    • Alternatively, you could combine the ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pork to the marinade inside the bag, then seal the bag and toss gently to coat the pork. Let the bag of marinating pork sit in your refrigerator for a full 1 hour.
  2. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 10
    Combine the chicken stock and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, whisk together the two ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
    • Wait until the pork is nearly finished marinating before preparing this slurry.
    • Keep an eye on this cornstarch slurry as the rest of your dish cooks. If the cornstarch appears to start separating and settling on the bottom of the dish, give it another quick mix to recombine the liquid and starch.
  3. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 11
    Heat the shortening in a skillet. Place the shortening in a deep, heavy skillet and heat on medium-high until melted.
    • You could substitute butter for the shortening if you want a richer taste, or substitute oil if you want a healthier alternative.
  4. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 12
    Sear the pork. Drain the marinade from the pork before tossing the meat into the hot shortening. Stir-fry for a few minutes, just until the pork starts to brown on all sides.
  5. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 13
    Cook the onion. Add the onion to the skillet. Cook the onion and pork simultaneously for another 5 minutes, or until the onion becomes more aromatic and starts turning translucent.
    • Do not allow the onion to start browning just yet.
  6. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 14
    Add the carrot and celery. Mix these ingredients into the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the color becomes brighter and the vegetables feel tender-crisp.
    • You could cook the vegetables for a longer period of time if you prefer them to be softer.
    • If the pan seems dry before you add the vegetables, you could add a bit more shortening or oil before tossing the vegetables into the pan.
  7. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 15
    Add the remaining ingredients and cook until done. Toss the snow peas and bean sprouts into the pan and immediately pour the stock and cornstarch slurry in afterward. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce has boiled and thickened.
    • Bean sprouts cook quickly, so you should only add them to the pan once the rest of the ingredients are just about fully cooked. Otherwise, the sprouts may become soggy and unappealing.
    • Make sure that the cornstarch slurry is still well-combined before adding it to the pan.
    • You must allow the liquid to thicken. The thickened liquid is a necessary attribute of the dish, but in addition to that, thickening liquid is a sign that the cornstarch has fully broken down into the sauce. If the cornstarch does not break down, it could leave a bad aftertaste.
  8. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 16
    Serve. The chop suey is now done and ready to eat. Serve it over rice or chow mein noodles and enjoy it while the dish is still hot.

Method 3
Chicken and Shrimp Chop Suey

  1. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 17
    Sauté the onion and garlic. Pour the oil into a heavy, deep skillet and heat it on the stove over a medium-high setting. Place the chopped onion and minced garlic in the hot oil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted.
    • You need to monitor garlic closely as you toast it in oil. If you overcook the garlic or do not stir it enough as it browns, it can burn quickly. Burnt garlic has a bitter taste and should be discarded. Moreover, if the garlic burns, you should dump the entire contents of the dish, quickly rinse it out, and start over again from the start.
  2. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 18
    Cook the chicken. Add the cubed chicken to the skillet. Stir-fry in the oil and aromatics for 2 minutes, or until the chicken turns white on all sides.
  3. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 19
    Add the chicken liver. Place the sliced chicken liver in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 minutes.
    • As you cook the chicken liver, you should notice the chicken meat begin to brown.
  4. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 20
    Dissolve the shrimp bouillon in 1 cup (250 ml) hot water. In a separate bowl, combine the shrimp bouillon cube with the hot water. Stir gently until the bouillon is dissolved.
    • You may want to do this step simultaneously with the previously mentioned steps to avoid accidentally overcooking any of the ingredients already in the pan.
  5. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 21
    Add the shrimp juice to the skillet. Pour the diluted shrimp bouillon into the hot skillet. Mix gently to coat the rest of the contents, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 22
    Mix in the shrimp, salt, pepper, and oyster sauce. Remove the lid and add the deveined shrimp, along with a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of ground black pepper. Stir in the oyster sauce, then let the entire thing simmer, uncovered, for another 2 minutes.
    • Shrimp cooks quickly, so you should add it toward the end of the cooking process instead of cooking it alongside the chicken at the start. Overcooked shrimp tends to have a rubbery texture.
  7. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 23
    Toss in the remaining vegetables. Place the cauliflower florets, cabbage wedges, carrots, snow peas, and bell peppers in the pan. Stir well to distribute the vegetables evenly, then cover the pot with its lid and allow the dish to simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the hardiest vegetables are tender-crisp.
    • You can cook the dish for a bit longer if you prefer your vegetables to be more tender, but watch the shrimp, chicken, and chicken liver carefully if you decide to do so. If these pieces of food appear fully cooked, remove them before you continue cooking the vegetables for additional time. Add them back into the pan along with the cornstarch mix.
  8. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 24
    Combine the cornstarch and remaining water. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) cool water with the cornstarch until a slurry forms. Pour this slurry into the liquid in your dish and mix well. Let the liquid reach a boil.
    • As the liquid boils, it should also thicken, thanks to the addition of the cornstarch. The thickening is crucial to the quality and taste of the dish.
  9. Image titled Make Chop Suey Step 25
    Serve. Once the liquid has thickened, the chop suey is ready to enjoy. Serve it with cooked rice or cooked noodles.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, heavy skillet with deep sides
  • Heat-resistant spatula or mixing spoon
  • Kitchen knife
  • Small dish
  • Whisk
  • Serving spoon
  • Serving dishes
  • Non-reactive dish or large resealable plastic bag
  • Plastic wrap

Article Info

Categories: Chinese Dishes