Chicken Chop Suey in Chinese literally means ‘assorted pieces’ and refers to an immensely popular Chinese main dish. It consists of meat, which would be chicken in this case stir fried along with vegetables like bean-sprouts, celery, cabbage, all collectively prepared in a starch-thickened, deliciously flavoured sauce and topped with poached eggs while serving. While this dish may be served with rice, it is quite commonly presented on a bed of chow mein or stir fried noodles.
Although Chop Suey is believed to have been first created by the Chinese immigrants to America, its origins have in fact been traced to the Taishan or Toisan district of Guangdong Province in the Canton region of China. As early as the 1880’s, references to this dish have appeared in prominent Chinese Culinary records as the ‘National Dish of China’. There are a number of stories with respect to the origins of this dish but none conclusive. Regardless of its origin, this dish gradually gained wide popularity and has today grown to become part of American Chinese, Indian Chinese, Filipino and Indonesian Chinese cuisine. In the last type, it is known as ‘Cap Cai’ and consists of mixed vegetables only.
Ingredients and Preparation
Thinly shredded chicken, egg white, thick cornflour/cornstarch paste or slurry, finely chopped garlic, thinly shredded fresh ginger root, spring onions, green peppers, bean sprouts, light soy sauce Chinese rice wine, chicken stock, sugar, salt and a few drops sesame oil are all the ingredients needed.
The shredded chicken is mixed with a pinch of salt, egg white and little cornflour/cornstarch paste. These pieces are fried in hot oil till golden, then removed and drained on paper towels. In little heated oil in a wok, all the vegetables are quickly stir-fried for about a minute starting with ginger and garlic. Then the chicken is added to the remaining salt and the sugar and blended well.
Next, the soy sauce and rice wine are poured in, followed by the stock and finally the gravy is thickened with the remaining cornflour paste, and garnished with the sesame oil and served hot.
A serving size of about 290 g of Chicken Chop Suey provides-
• Total of 189.6 calories with 75 calories from fat
• Total fat content of 8.4 g with 3.2 g of saturated fat
• Cholesterol content of 41.4 mg
• Sodium content of 195.8 mg
• Total carbohydrate content of 12.3 g with 6.5 g sugar and dietary fibre content of 2.7 g with the remainder being other carbohydrate components
• Protein content of 17.6 g
Addition of some greens in the form of Spinach or bok choy would be a low-calorie way of introducing a lot of antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin A, C that protect the human body's delicate tissues from damage. Also Bok Choy is a good source of Folic acid and potassium too that are vital in red blood cell synthesis and blood pressure regulation respectively. Fibre and iron may be obtained from Spinach.
Mushrooms may be used to add flavour and also as a good source of B-vitamins, Vitamin D, some useful minerals like phosphorus, selenium and phytonutrient compounds that have anti-cancer properties.