Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein

Line up of ingredients: 
Looks like an advertisement for Kroger Market. 
Yes, I like generic products!  I'm a cheap frugal gal!

I love my Mom's notes on the side... so helpful!

When I was growing up, my mom would make a pork roast in the oven. The next day, if we were lucky, with the leftover pork roast, she'd make "Chop Suey".  The way I remember it, everyone in the family really enjoyed this dinner... my sister especially.  I loved it too.  When I asked, my mom gave me the recipe a few years back but I just now got around to making it.  Why did I wait so long? It's so good!  My mom did not follow the recipe exactly; neither did I.  I wanted to make it as close to my mom's version as possible, but I got a little creative.  I added canned water chestnuts and canned baby corn cobs; my mom did not use either of these.  I regret now that I did (they did not add anything special).  In future versions of this recipe, I think I will use either fresh Chinese sugar snap pea pods or fresh broccoli florets for some fresh green veggies and a little color contrast.  My mom used canned bean sprouts and they are good, but I found locally grown fresh bean sprouts at the grocery store yesterday and I was happy to use them in place of the canned variety.   Fresh bean sprouts may be difficult to find.   Also, my mom used chicken bouillon cubes and water in place of the canned chicken broth I used.  When I find out how many cubes she used, I'll update this post.  Here's the recipe:

Chicken Chow Mein (AKA:  Chop Suey)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (lean pork would also be a good substitute)
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
salt & pepper
1 14-ounce can chicken broth (I used the reduced sodium kind but kind of missed the saltier stuff)
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 medium sized white or yellow onion (I used a sweet onion), sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used the reduced sodium kind but kind of missed the saltier stuff)
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 8-ounce package of fresh bean sprouts (or 1 can bean sprouts); rinse and drain.
1 14.5-ounce can baby corn cobs (optional - next time I will leave out); rinse and drain
1 5-ounce can water chestnuts: rinse and drain (optional - next time I will leave out); rinse and drain
2 cups basmati rice
3 3/4 cups water (with pinch of salt)


Trim fat from chicken breasts; cut into thin strips.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add chicken strips to hot oil.  Season chicken with a little salt and pepper.  Stir and cook until chicken is lightly browned. Added celery, onion, chicken broth, and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and simmer covered for 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the rice, bring 3 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add a pinch of salt.  Add the rice, return to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce to lowest heat setting, and allow rice to simmer covered for 18 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the water and corn starch.  Shake until corn starch is dissolved (or place water and corn starch in a bowl and stir until dissolved).  After the chicken/veggies/broth have simmered for 25 to 30 minutes, slowly add in the corn starch mixture.  Stir to combine.  Add the bean sprouts and other vegetables if using (next time I plan to use Chinese sugar snap peas or broccoli in place of the baby corn cobs and water chestnuts). Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more or until vegetables are desired tenderness.  Remove lid and allow to simmer a few more minutes if sauce is not yet desired thickness.

Serve over hot rice with Chow Mein noodles and extra soy sauce.

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