Recreated Pork Chop Suey

diane

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#1
Donna's post on Hangtown Fry made me think about California cuisine and the amazing variety of influences in it - among them many Asian cuisines such as Japanese, Filipino, Mexican, Spanish, and Chinese.

The Chinese began to immigrate to the United States, particularly the West Coast, during the development of American trade with China and Japan in the early 19th century, peaking during the Gold Rush. They brought with them many of their own foods - dried oysters, abalone (plentiful in California), dried seaweed, rice crackers, noodles, peanut oil, tea and a variety of dried fruits, vegetables and herbs. Chinese herb terraces were a part of many California boom towns. The average American ate a bland diet of mostly meat, potatoes, bread and beans - the Chinese not only perked up the menu but maybe introduced the healthy eating lifestyle! (Their influence is still very notable in Mexican cooking and several Spanish dishes.) The Chinese also helped establish the unique American style of cuisine - culturally and ethnically blended and adapted. One might say America was the first 'fusion' food experiment!

This is a famous uniquely American but quite Chinese dish:

Pork Chop Suey

Ingredients:

1 pound pork or beef (don't use pork chops as they are too dry)

Pork Marinade:
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 piece (under 1 teaspoon) Cornstarch

Sauce:
4 tablespoons water or chicken broth
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
3/4 to 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Other:
2 small bunches bok choy (can substitute broccoli if desired)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, rinsed
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
1/2 cup water chestnuts (fresh if possible)
1 large green pepper
2 stalks celery
1 onion
1/2 pound snow peas (optional)
Oil for stir-frying

Preparation:
Cut the pork into thin strips. Add seasonings to pork, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the pork for 10 - 15 minutes.

While pork is marinating, prepare vegetables and sauce. For sauce: Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

For vegetables: Cut bamboo shoots into thin strips. Slice the mushrooms and water chestnuts. Cut the green pepper in half, remove the seeds and slice diagonally. For the bok choy, separate each stalk and leaves. Cut the stalk diagonally and cut the leaves across. Cut the celery diagonally. Cut the onion in half, peel, and slice thinly.

Place the vegetables on a large tray, being careful to keep each group separate (include the bok choy stalks and leaves), and set aside.

Heat wok and add oil. When oil is ready, add the pork. Stir-fry pork until redness is gone. Remove and set aside.

Reheat wok and add more oil. When oil is ready, stir-fry each of the vegetables. The order doesn't matter, but you can stir-fry the onions and celery together, (if desired you can cook these with the pork), and the green pepper and snow peas together. When cooking the bok choy, add the stalk first. Add salt to taste as desired while stir-frying each group of vegetables. Add water and cover wok while cooking bok choy, as it doesn't contain much moisture.

Reheat wok and add oil. Give the sauce a quick re-stir. Add and combine all the cooked ingredients in the wok. Make a "well" in the center and gradually add the sauce, stirring to thicken. Once it has boiled, remove the chop suey from the stove. Serve hot.

http://chinesefood.about.com/od/pork/r/porkchopsuey.htm
 

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#7
Remember this is really not chinese food.it is American food cooked chinese style so this would not be proper for Chinese new year.as with the menus in most chinese restaurants it really isn't chinese food.
 

diane

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#9
The legend in California is the first Chinese restaurant in America was opened in 1849 in San Francisco. Late one night a crowd of drunk miners barged in and wanted food. The owner and his staff scraped the plates of leftover food from previous customers into a pot and doused it with soy sauce, reheated it and served it up. It was a huge hit - the miners wanted it all the time. Fortunately they didn't have to eat what was left on somebody else's plate, but it was generally known the dish was all the leftovers! Most of the Chinese at this time were from Canton, and that region's cuisine was the beginning.
 

donna

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#15
Just a follow-up on this thread. Chinese restaurants in the gold mining towns featured meals of won ton soup, chop suey, egg foo young and stir fried dishes of beef, fish and vegetables. They also introduced new foods such as bamboo shoots, stewed seaweed, shark fins and scorpions' eggs. These Chinese who came opened cook tents in the diggings and restaurants in the nearby towns. They were frequented as their prices were much lower then other establishments serving food.

From: "California Gold Rush Cooking" by Lisa Golden Schroeder.
 



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