Chop Suey

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I used to cook Chop Suey the way I normally cook Pinoy-style vegetable dishes – saute everything with tomatoes, garlic and onions. Living in Beijing has influenced me to cook it a little bit similar to Chinese stir-fry recipes. I was also thinking of this as my entry to Lasang Pinoy 17 but…. no. Maybe not.

Chicken liver, sliced thinly
Chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 kilo lean pork meat, sliced thinly
1 bowl of shredded cabbage
A bunch of Baguio or snap beans, sliced diagonally (or use snow peas)
1 bowl of sliced cauliflower
Shredded mushrooms
1 carrot, sliced
1 big onion, sliced
5-6 tbsp of crushed garlic
Hard-boiled quail eggs
1 tsp of cornstarch
Salt & pepper
Soy sauce

Marinate chicken and pork with soy sauce and set aside. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of water with a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, cornstarch and a tbsp of soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok until smoking hot. Stir-fry the chicken liver (heart and gizzard slices if available) for about 2 minutes. Set aside the cooked liver. Reheat wok and add oil if needed. Stir-fry chicken and pork pieces for about 4-5 minutes over high heat. Set aside.

Add in the garlic and fry until fragrant. Throw in onion (plus chicken heart and gizzard) and stir-fry for a minute. Pour half a cup of water and bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower, snap beans, mushroom and carrots, and cook for a minute or until the beans are almost cooked. Add cabbage and cook for another minute. Drop the eggs, return the cooked meat and liver, and the reserved cornstarch mixture. Mix thoroughly and stir for half a minute or until the sauce thickens. Do not overcook the vegetables. (The cornstarch mixture is optional.) Serve hot with rice.

Here’s another photo with minced meat and pork liver.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

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