Saturday, February 7, 2009

The wondrous, fiercely-pursued Chop Suey of my youth

In my opinion, no other Chop Suey satisfies a Chop Suey hankering.

Time Required:
20-35 minutes (it's a labour of love people)

  • 1 packet soya vermicelli (bean thread) noodles
  • 500-800g blade steak, cubed (I use about 450g for just us two, but for a larger family, I'd increase the amount. It is fine with less meat, if you want to save money!)
  • 1 onion
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • Approximately 1 cup dark soy sauce
  • (Cooked rice)
  1. Place vermicelli in a large bowl of hot water to soak.
  2. Cube steak, place in a dish and set aside.
  3. In a deep sauce pan (I use a dutch oven), sauté onion in peanut oil, then add garlic.
  4. Add steak and cook 10-15 minutes. (I take out a piece of meat and cut it to check the texture and colour.)
  5. While the steak is cooking, cut the now-softened vermicelli into smaller pieces with scissors.
  6. Add soy sauce and stir.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, add softened, cut vermicelli slowly, so that the mixture stays warm the entire time. Allow a little water content to come over with the noodles to dilute the recipe - it is quickly absorbed by the noodles and/or evaporated by the heat.
  8. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, adding more water to taste, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add more soy sauce, to taste.
  9. Serve...usually with rice (which helps to make the meal go further, and dilute the intensity of the dark soy sauce)...but for me, this is a waste of valuable stomach space reserved for second and third helpings of The Wondrous, fiercely-pursued Chop Suey of my youth.

Well...this can feed a family of 6-8 when accompanied with rice and taro etc., or it can serve a greedy 3-4 people, with some left-overs for some lucky human's lunch the next day. The noodles expand, so estimating the amount you'll produce based on the packet size isn't so effective. Haki and I polished this pot off on our own over two days...without rice. It was not sensible.

For the visual learners:

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