Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is This Chop Suey?

Growing up in a predominantly Asian neighborhood of Los Angeles, I never knew what dishes like "chop suey" or "egg foo young" or "General Tso's Chicken" or "Buddhist's Delight" were. Turns out Buddhist's Delight is a real dish - a vegetarian stir fry of tofu and a bunch of vegetables. General Tso's Chicken, though not really Chinese (sorry to disappoint you, kids) is super tasty. As far as I know, I've never had Chop Suey or Egg Foo Young. I'm still not quite sure what they are. Maybe Chop Suey is what I made for dinner? Stuff was chopped, maybe stuff was sueyed? Regardless, I actually hadn't intended to post this on the blog. It was something I whipped up based on what was in the refrigerator but it was so good, it made a repeat performance the following night. You know something is good when you crave it again so soon.

My mom used to make these one pan rice dishes that were a mix of whatever leftovers she had in the refrigerator. Sounds weird, but whatever she mixed in always tasted good together. Perhaps it's because most of her dishes had the same underlying flavors so nothing ever really clashed. This dish is inspired from years of watching my mom whip up quick breakfasts, lunches, or dinners using ingredients she already had in the refrigerator. Yesterday, I had some leftover rice, some choi sum, a variey of bok choy, and some eggs. The result is this super yummy super easy one pan meal.

Kim's Chop Suey
Serves 1
2 heads of choi sum or bok choi, or any type of vegetable you have available.
1 cup of cooked rice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbs of vegetable oil
1 egg

Wash the vegetables and cut it into 1 inch slices.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or fry pan to medium heat. Add the minced garlic to the oil and saute until you can start to smell the garlic. When you can smell the garlic, add the vegetables and saute for about a minute. Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce and saute. After a minute, add the cold rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps and ensuring the sauce is evenly distributed. Saute the rice and vegetables for about 3-5 minutes or until the rice is soft and hot.

If you really want this to be a one-pan meal, remove the rice from the pan and turn the heat down to low. To the hot pan, add a little bit of oil and crack an egg into the oil. Season the egg with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cover the egg and let it cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until the egg is set. Depending on how you like it, you can also flip the egg to cook it more. I like the egg runny so that the yolk mixes with the rice. Serve the egg atop the rice.

These flavors for me - garlic, onion (though not present), oyster sauce and soy sauce are the flavors of home. I hope you try it - I guarantee you, it's what real Chinese food tastes like.

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