This version of American Chopsuey is something that is unheard of in America or in China where the world famous Chopsuey actually comes from. The spicy, sweet and sour chopsuey full of nutritious vegetables sitting on a nest of crispy Egg noodles and a fried egg sitting atop with the yolk oozing onto the dish, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and spring onions – is only available in India. I have only tasted the Delhi version, and I understand there’s lots of different versions available across the Indian sub-continent, but this is my adaptation of a delicious memory that I have tried to recreate in Canada after a number of years.
Whilst my version differs from the original recipe in many ways (no food colouring, no MSG and no ketchup), it is packed full of flavour and nutritious vegetables. It involves a lot of chopping up of vegetables, and being the little fuss pot that I am with the way I like my vegetables to be all of one size, it took a bit of extra time putting it together. But the result was worth every minute. The combination of the sweet, spicy, tart, sour, crispy, soft and crunchy all at the same time.
Don’t feel intimidated by the long list of ingredients, there’s nothing complicated in putting the dish together and the results are well worth it.
AMERICAN CHOPSUEY MADE DELHI STYLE
with no meat or meat products
without MSG, without ketchup
without any artificial colour or flavourings
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 large apple
1 large orange
1 large lemon
2 inch piece of ginger
2 cups stock (plus more to get desired consistency)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp red chilli paste
Salt and black pepper
Corn flour and water paste to thicken the sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup cabbage, thinly shredded
2 carrots, in thin julienne slices
1 cup mixed peppers, in thin julienne slices
1 onion – thinly sliced
2-4 green chillies – very finely shredded (optional)
Egg noodles/ chowmein noodles
Oil to fry the noodles
1 Egg per person
Since we are not using ketchup in this recipe, it is important to make a pot of flavoured stock to achieve a delicious sweet and sour taste in the sauce.
Simply combine these ingredients in a pot with enough water to submerge them fully. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. Instead of water, we use this stock to make our sauce. This stock can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
My chopped up vegetables lining up for the pot of sauce. I cooked this dish for 14 people so there’s a lot here.
I would advise keeping all vegetables a similar size, it helps in cooking all the vegetables evenly and at the same time gives a wonderful result.
Boil the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain them under cold water. Heat some oil in a pot, ready to fry the noodles once they are taken out of the cold water. Only fry a small batch at a time, as the noodles need to have enough space in the oil to untangle or they will end up being poached/steamed in oil instead of being fried crispy.
I lined a tray with lots of kitchen paper to to prevent the excess oil getting into the dish.
For the sauce, heat a pot with 1 tbsp of oil and add the green chillies and the onions. These don’t need to be stir fried, just softened slightly before adding all the remaining vegetables into the pot. Add the stock and all the other ingredients for the sauce, except for the white vinegar and the corn flour paste.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. You may need to add more stock to cook the vegetables in this sauce for about 5 minutes. Whilst the sauce is cooking, start assembling the dish with the fried noodles at the base of the dish and also frying the eggs in a skillet or griddle using spray oil. The yolk needs to be runny, so be careful not to over cook the egg. I like mine turned over to cook the egg white fully, but this is a matter of choice.
Add the corn flour paste to the sauce first and as soon as the sauce thickens turn off the heat. Add the vinegar and pour some sauce over the plate lined with the egg noodles. Top the sauce with a fried egg and sprinkle some coriander/cilantro leaves and green onions for garnish. I also like to drizzle some white balsamic vinegar to my plate. Alternatively, some extra white vinegar works drizzled on top works just as well.
The first thing to do, when you are ready to eat is poke the egg yolk. There’s something about the combination of the runny egg yolk with all the mix of flavours on the plate that makes this dish addictive and satisfying. Even those who are fussy with their veggies would enjoy this dish and ask for more.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.