I like bean sprouts, and I happened to have some leftover roast chicken, so they are combined in this recipe. I also added mushrooms, but not the assortment of vegetables that would make what is called chop suey. The modern Fannie Farmer disdains this simple dish, so a recipe would probably be appreciated. Chinese cooking really depends upon methods, and this method can be used in many ways. Chop Suey is not a Chinese dish, though it was created in San Francisco by Chinese cooks to feed occidentals. It is simply a form of Chinese red cooking. See Pork and Bean Sprouts for a similar recipe.
Fresh bean sprouts are nice, but canned will also do. Allow one can per person who likes bean sprouts. I also used about a cup of diced cooked chicken; if you do not have cooked chicken, saute diced raw chicken with the mushrooms in a little oil, in a large frying pan. The mushrooms are not necessary, but I thought they would add something positive.
The important part is the sauce. For one can of bean sprouts, mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup cooking sherry, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp Chinese five spices mix, 1 tsp crushed garlic, and 2 tsp crystallized ginger. The crystallized ginger contains the sugar the sauce needs. This will all disperse nicely in the liquid with a little time and stirring. After you have sauteed the mushrooms (and the chicken if using raw chicken), pour in the sauce and stir until thickened. Then add cooked chicken, allow to heat, and last of all put in the bean sprouts and stir. The bean sprouts do not have to be cooked, and a little crunch is part of their mystique. When hot, serve over steamed rice.
Modifications are obvious and encouraged. For a spicy dish, use some chili oil, or sprinkle with dried red chiles. Try additional vegetables, such as chopped onion, snow peas, sliced water chestnuts, spinach or even green peas. Beef or shrimp can be used instead of chicken. All I wanted was the bean sprouts, and this was a good way to prepare them. The textures of bean sprouts, chicken and mushrooms did not clash, but supported one another.
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 20 April 2001