The “AMERICAN CHOP SUEY”
Almost all restaurants serving Chinese food in India boast of the “American Chop Suey”.
American Chop Suey (also American Goulash, Chili-Macaroni, Chili-Mac, Mac ‘n Beef, Macaroni and Beef, or simply Macaroni) is an American pasta dish. The preferred name and recipe varies by region, for example, the name American chop suey is most prevalent in New England. Commercial preparations of this dish are commonly marketed as Macaroni and Beef. Classic American chop suey consists of elbow macaroni and bits of cooked ground beef with sautéed onions and green peppers in a thick tomato-based sauce. Though this decidedly American comfort food is clearly influenced by Italian-American cuisine, it is known as a chop suey because it is a sometimes-haphazard hodgepodge of meat and vegetables.………….source Wikipedia
Food historians generally agree that chop suey as we know it was invented in the United States in the mid-1800’s, possibly by one of the Cantonese immigrants who flooded California searching for work. Constrained by the lack of Asian vegetables, and trying to produce a Chinese dish palatable to westerners, a Cantonese cook stir-fried whatever vegetables were handy, added some meat or chicken, and served the finished product on a plate of steamed rice. He christened his creation, chop suey, which is the English pronunciation of the Cantonese words “tsap seui” (“tsa-sui” in Mandarin) which means “mixed pieces”. …………source Chinesefood.about.com
Anyway, American chop suey is quite a favorite of a lot of people and its quite wholesome and delicious too. Here is a recipe that I learnt from a professional cook Mrs. Minocha in Aurangabad , India.
The recipe: (4 servings)
For the Noodles:
- Maggi/Ramen/Mama noodles 2 Packs (200 grams)
For the Sauce:
- Garlic 7 cloves (minced)
- Tomato sauce/Ketchup 1 cup
- Soya Sauce 1 tsp.
- Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
- Sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp.
- oil 1 tsp.
- Corn starch 1 Tbsp. (called corn flour in India)
- salt to taste
For the Vegetables:
- Onion 1 sliced lengthwise
- Green Bell Pepper/Capsicum 1 sliced thin
- Cauliflower 3 Flowerets chopped
- Carrots 2 sliced like matchsticks
- Green Beans 7-8 french cut(lengthwise)
- Soya sauce 1 Tbsp.
- Crushed Black Pepper 1/2 tsp.
- Oil 1 Tbsp.
- Salt to taste
The actual recipe called for Mama noodles first boiled in salted water and then deep fried. I used Maggi masala Atta (whole wheat) noodles (available in Indian grocery stores) . Ramen noodles can easily be substituted. I did not use the masala sachet i.e. the seasoning. I sprayed the noodles with oil spray and put them in a preheated oven. 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Make sure to keep moving them every 3-4 minutes to avoid them getting burnt.
Noodles on the baking tray
For the Sauce: Heat the oil and fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, red chilli powder, salt , soya sauce and sugar. Add 1- 1/2 cups water. Let the whole thing come to a boil. Mix the corn starch with 1 Tbsp. cold water and add it to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 more minute. Orange color is added in Indian restaurants but I have never felt the need to do so.
For the vegetables: First par boil cauliflower in a little salted water. I used the microwave for 1 minute. Heat oil in a wok and fry onion for a minute. I use high flame for the vegetables. Next add the capsicum and cabbage. Next add carrot, green beans and cauliflower. Mix well. Next add salt, soya sauce and crushed black pepper . Mix well and turn off the heat. The key is to keep the vegetables quite crunchy.
Baked noodles, sweet & sour sauce and Chop Suey Vegetables
To assemble: First make a layer of the vegetables. Add fried noodles on top and pour the hot sauce on top of the noodles. Indianized American Chop Suey is Ready!!
Dinner’s ready. The crunchy noodles had to be hidden cause the son couldn’t keep his hands off them!
This Indian-Chinese “American Chop Suey” (Shouldn’t we be thankful it does not involve more countries;) ) is headed to DK of DK’s Culinary Bazaar for AWED Chinese. This is the main course……….a complete meal in itself. Hence it is also headed to Archana of Archana’s Kitchen for Monthly One dish Meal event. Enjoy!!
Preparation time for this would be about 20 minutes and cooking time would be 25 minutes.