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Minnesota Cooking: Chow Mein or Chop Suey - It's Still Stir Fry

Updated on April 1, 2017

Julienne Your Peppers and Onions

When I was a kid back in the sixties, we used to go to grandma's house and since we usually stopped on the way to pick up lunch, she never knew what to cook for us and would always have something made that she could just reheat.

Chow mein was her choice of food when we were coming. It was the one dish of vegetables with some sort of beef roast and we ate it over chinese noodles with a splash of soy sauce. She had other things to feed us too, like homemade apple sauce, custard puddings with caramel sauce, toast with homemade jams.

Freezer Ingredients

I had some frozen chicken breasts left over from a previous recipe, I believe the stuffed peppers. So, I got them out for my stir fry. Yes. My hubby calls it stir fry. It's really the new version of what I used to eat as a kid.

I never watched grandma make it, so I had to look it up on my smart phone as I prepared it.

Slice the Chicken into Thinly Sliced Pieces

My hubby sliced the two breasts for me. Each one he cut across the grain and made flat slices, all 1/4 inch thick.

Julienne He Says

Apparently when you do stir fry, you must make some adjustments to previous vegetable chopping requirements.

The celery must be sliced the long way until it is paper thin, then cut into 1 inch chunks. It reminds me of the bamboo shoots that you see in the canned chow mein mixes. The peppers need to be julienned or cut into long, thin strips.

Same with the onion. Slice the rings and then leave them whole.

A Rice Dish in Another Pot

My rice dish needed 25 minutes to cook, so I started it first. I used two more pans, one for my vegetables and one for my chicken.

I needed to plan the timing so that everything got mixed together at the same time. The chicken needed to be cooked 4 minutes on both sides, or a total of 8 minutes.

The vegetables needed to be cooked for 8 minutes. Somewhat high heat, so the outside cooks, but the inside doesn't get a chance to. They call it el dente or almost uncooked.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: serves two people with leftovers


  1. Start cooking your rice dish. 25 minutes. In final 10 minutes, start cooking your chicken. Slice chicken breasts across grain into thin strips. Fry over medium heat until no longer pink.
  2. In another pan, In final 10 minutes, start cooking your vegetables, hot oil, add sliced vegetables and fry and flip.
  3. Prepare your sauce and add to chicken. Stir. Add your chicken to the vegetables and stir. Eat over chinese noodles and rice.
5 stars from 1 rating of stir fry


  • 2 chicken breast or thigh meat, sliced thin
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin, 1 inch slivers
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced thin, 3 inch slivers
  • 4 slices onion, left in rings
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, teryaki sauce, stir fry sauce, mix
  • 1 tablespoon poultry gravy powder
  • 1 box rice, Zatarans Black Beans and Rice
  • 1 bag chinese noodles

Rice Takes 25 Minutes

Second Pan is Chicken With Mushrooms

Three Pans

The third pan holds your vegetables.

Vegetables in Third Pan

Add Stir Fry Sauces to Chicken

Take some soy sauce, some stir fry sauce and some teryaki sauce and mix it together in a measuring cup. A third of each. I had a total of about 1/3 cup when I finished pouring each into the cup.

Final Step

Pour chicken mixture into vegetable pan. Let mix and then, serve over rice. You may have to add more soy sauce, to taste.


The final step is preparing your plate.

You now have choices:

  • eat plain
  • eat over rice
  • eat over noodles
  • eat over rice and noodles
  • add additional soy sauce


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    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 12 months ago from Minnesota

      Peachpurple, the rice was a request. I was going to add poultry gravy, but he wanted a mixture of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and stir fry sauce. Thanks for your comment.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 12 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      with chow mien, you don`t have to eat fried rice, too much carbohydrates would make you sleepy, I love chow mien the wet type with more thick gravy

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 12 months ago from Minnesota

      My sister raised her family in Hawaii. She cooked a lot of different foods that I cannot pronounce. Her kids are still there, but she's gone. So, her household got a Swedish/French/Hawaiian mix. Smile.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 12 months ago from New York

      I had to chuckle out loud when I read your response about your hubby. Gotta love em. Isn't that just the greatest thing about Chinese style food? You can add whatever you have on hand and it's still delicious! We make this stuff in Hawaii that's kind of a mix of Japanese/Chinese called Hekka that is similar to what you made, but with skinny rice noodles (long rice) and the sauce is more like teriyaki using fresh ginger and garlic. You can use any meat you want, slivered thin. It's really ono (delicious) too!

      An interesting fact about that original "Chinese" slop in a can called Chun King was made by Italian immigrants using Italian seasoning. Nothing Chinese about it at all. I think La Choy owns it now, but not sure.

      Have a great day and keep up the good work!

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 12 months ago from Minnesota

      MsDora, it is pretty good. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Rice over noodles is a new concept, but I imagine it can be good. Thanks for the ideas.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 12 months ago from Minnesota

      Hey, Kailua-KonaGirl! I had some slivered carrots, but we decided not to use them. I also didn't use the can of beef slop that came with my chow mein vegetables. I had chinese noodles, but my hubby only likes the rice. He liked the Zatarans with the stir fry. It was pretty good. Thanks for your additional input in your comment. I appreciate it!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 12 months ago from New York

      FYI Chop suey is an American creation made with a protein, slivered carrots, onion, celery and mung bean sprouts without noodles. Chow mein (many westerners call it lo mein) is a Cantonese soft round egg noodle, protein, veggies, dish. Crispy chow mein is a Hong Kong crispy flat noodle, protein, slivered onion and celery dish. The "crispy" noodles you get in America in a bag or in a can are an American invention and not Chinese at all. They are a processed version of the real thing. Chow Fun (my personal favorite) is slivered char sui pork, pork, onion, watercress, carrot, mung bean sprouts and a soft, wide rice noodle.

      Each dish has a different flavor from different seasonings, but they all have an addition of oyster sauce. Americanized restaurants tend to go heavy handed with the oyster sauce as if it's a cure-all and eliminate some of the seasonings while "real" Chinese restaurants do not.

      No offense, but I would save the Zatarans Black Beans and Rice for a Cajun or Creole meal and cook a medium grain white rice to eat with Chinese food. With that being said, if serving a starch or carb (noodles) you really don't even need a second starch (rice). Grin.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 12 months ago from Minnesota

      Journey, thanks for your comment. I think it would brown the chicken better if the mushrooms were not in the pan. The mushrooms created a lot of extra moisture. It was tasty!

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 12 months ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing this interesting recipe. While I don't eat mushrooms, I like a lot of the other stir fry ingredients. You've taken nice photos & the main photo enticed me to click on the hub and take a look at this recipe.