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MY COOKBOOK
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11.3.11

STIR FRY CHOP SUEY STYLE


When it comes to Chinese food I have two limitations. The first one is I don’t have a wok. I had a wok once, but I soon discovered it needed an open flame to work well. I have an electric stove so the wok was given away. Hello fry pan!

Number two is my limited reference to real Chinese food. Never mind that I am wok impaired, as a Hungarian Canadian, I have only Americanized Chinese cooking for reference. Last week I tried Emeril’s version at chop suey: it was so-so fresh, but by the following day the leftovers were distinctly repugnant. I should give this up I thought.

A few days passed and I decided to embrace all my limitations, my “woklessness”, my MSG free pantry, and my resolve to use peanut oil sparingly and I began to experiment with stir frying “chop suey style”. Not following any recipe, just cooking as I know how to cook. Well surprise, surprise! It turned out quite well and was enjoyed into the next day.

I made it again, gaining a few pointers. Use fresh vegetables at their optimum. In other words, don’t clean out the fridge. Use good quality chicken stock. Strong, homemade stock is preferable. Other than salt, pepper and soya sauce, the chicken stock has to provide much of the flavour. By this time I became painfully aware of the reason Chinese eateries use pork fat and MSG. I relented on the pork fat but I refuse to use MSG. Oh and boneless chicken thighs are the most flavourful part of the chicken and when cooking pork, use tenderloin; the chops are just too dry for this type of cooking.

Prepare the vegetables separately and line them up in separate little dishes in the order they will be cooked. Give this some thought; you may have slightly different vegetables at your disposal. Chop the meat paper thin, this is easiest half frozen. Cut the vegetables thin. Cook vegetables over medium high heat and no longer than 1 minute each. Cook the toughest vegetables first; start with beans then add the carrots, then the cauliflower and after that the asparagus. Add them one type of vegetable at a time and when the fat begins to sizzle add a bit of stock. When the steam rises up from the stock; add the next vegetable. Keep gently shuffling the vegetables in the fry pan for even distribution. Add some stock as soon as the oil starts to sizzle. But add no more than 1 Tbsp stock at the time – not until the end.

Cook peppers for half a minute only. Broccoli, mushrooms, celery and Savoy cabbage are fast cooking and need no individual cooking time. The heat the thickening stock will generate at the end will be sufficient to cook these vegetables through. Just add one type of vegetable at a time and stir, immediately add the next one. When all your fast cooking vegetables have been added, pour in the thickening stock. Quickly bring it all to boil and its ready to serve. Recipe is at the end.
   
    Vegetables I used

    Arranged in order

    Finished

THE RECIPE:

As in the photos, you need only small amounts from each vegetable.

1 Tbsp clear pork drippings [from a pork roast or a slab of raw pork fat]
2 Tbsp peanut oil
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Tbsp grated ginger
3 Tbsp diced onions
1/2 chicken breast, meat sliced paper thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1/2 cup chopped green beans
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 red pepper sliced,
1/2 green pepper cut in chunks
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
2 stalks of green onion, chopped [for garnish]

• Cut, peel, wash and drain all the vegetables you will be using.
• Slice or dice just what you need.
• Place sliced or diced vegetables in separate little containers.
• Place containers in the order to fry, toughest first, and fast cooking vegetables last.
• Slice the chicken paper thin.
• Place a large non stick fry pan on medium high heat.
• When fry pan truly heated, add the pork fat and the oil.
• Add the garlic and the ginger and fry continually stirring for 1 minute.
• Add the onions and fry continually stirring for 1 minute.
• Add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
• Fry the chicken continually stirring until no pink meat remains.
• Stir in 1 Tbsp of soya sauce.
• Add the green beans and fry for 1 minute continually stirring.
• From this point on, each time the fat sizzles, add 1 Tbsp from the chicken stock.
• Add the carrots and fry for 1 minute continually stirring.
• When the fat sizzles, add 1 Tbsp chicken stock.
• Add the cauliflower florets and fry for 1 minute continually stirring.
• When the fat sizzles, add 1 Tbsp of chicken stock.
• Add the red and green peppers and fry for 1/2 minute stirring continuously.
• Remove pan from heat, but do not turn off heat.
• Whisk 1 Tbsp of cornstarch into the remaining chicken stock and set aside.
• Add the broccoli florets and stir.
• Add the thinly sliced celery and stir.
• Add the Savoy cabbage and stir.
• Pour the reserved stock with the cornstarch beside the vegetables and stir.
• When the stock boils up quickly remove pan from the heat.
• Place the stir fry in a serving bowl and top with chopped green onions.

    Next day reheated
    

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!

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