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Chicken Chow Mein…or is it Chop Suey??

October 10, 2007

Why the confusion about what this meal is called? I might ask my mom the same thing but for whatever reason, I’ve yet to ask. My mom wrote this recipe out years ago and chicken chow mein/chop suey and made it to our dinner table on a number of occasions. I have no idea why the title has two names and I really can’t tell you which it is – I don’t think I’ve ever ordered either from a Chinese restaurant so I just don’t know which the meal more closely resembles…or if it resembles either at all!

To be honest, I had completely forgotten that my mom used to make this until Kyle asked me to make “American Chop Suey,” a dish his mom used to serve that involved elbow macaroni, ground beef, onions, and canned tomato sauce…and that’s it. gag. It’s like a homemade version of Hamburger Helper and while I did try it once because I couldn’t say I didn’t like it without trying it, I vowed to never make it again.

OK, so I got a little off topic there…Kyle’s request for his mom’s meal jogged my memory and I had my mom make a copy of her recipe for me. This meal is a great way to use up leftover chicken and gravy and I often make it with leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken. It’s so easy to make and usually fulfills my craving for Chinese food but is so much healthier. I serve it over rice or spaghetti (this time I used penne because I was out of spaghetti) and top it with a few crunchy noodles.

Chicken Chow Mein/Chop Suey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 1/2 medium onions
  • 3/4 cup bean sprouts, washed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken gravy (either homemade, jarred, or a combo of both)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube plus 1/2 cup water (I use 3/4 cup chicken stock)
  • a good pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 – 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used more like 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp sugar or molasses (I use sugar)
  • 1 tsp gravy master if you don’t use molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups diced or nearly shredded cooked chicken (or pork)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (if needed)
  1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until everything starts to soften.
  2. Add bean sprouts and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-low. Add gravy and bouillon cube and water or chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in sugar or molasses and gravy master (again, if not using molasses). Cook for 3 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.
  4. Add in chicken (or pork) and cook until chicken is heated through and sauce is thick. If sauce doesn’t thicken, add the cornstarch.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta. Freezes well (without pasta).

Prep time: 5-8 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday Girl permalink
    January 1, 2008 8:19 pm

    My husband’s family makes American chop suey too! I have never heard of it before and I hate it. They are from NH so I wonder if it regional??

  2. Anonymous permalink
    February 22, 2008 7:43 am

    I lived in the Philippines for 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and it’s called Chop Suey there…

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