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07 January 2014

Seafood Chop Suey


Back when I worked in the bustling city of Makati in the Philippines, there was this fast food shop that served rice meals which I loved going to because it was the next best thing to a proper dinner without putting a dent in my wallet.  Their Chop suey was my favourite.  Aside from the crunchy veggies, the pork crackling and squid made it special.  The squid is the best part of the meal, and we usually saved it for last.

I experienced deja vu when we recently had chop suey and had a craving for some squid with my veggies. But why have squid only, when we can add more seafood?  And seafood mix it is.  This dish turned out great!  A bit of pork crackling would have made this complete, but that can wait for another time.

Ingredients:
500g pack seafood marinara (thawed)
2 medium capsicum
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium head of cauliflower
2 medium carrots, skinned and chopped
a medium bowl of squid balls
1 heaping tablespoon cornflour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
water
cooking oil
fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
it wasn't available at the time, but snow peas and cabbage are also great for this dish.  To prepare, remove both ends of snow peas (a handful will do); chop a small head of cabbage into bite-size pieces.

Procedure:
Chop the squid balls into quarters.  Heat up some cooking oil in a pan over medium heat.  Fry the squid balls until lightly browned.  Set aside.

Chop the capsicum into 8 pieces, removing the seeds as you go.  Then chop each piece into 3 pieces.
Cut and snap the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size florets.  Do not discard the broccoli stem; slice away the thick outer skin then chop diagonally.

Heat up some cooking oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat.  Saute the onion and garlic.

Add the carrots first (this being the toughest veggie in the bunch).


After a couple of minutes, add the cauliflower and broccoli (add also the snow peas if you have it).  Season with salt and pepper.
Add a cup of water and cover to simmer.  After around 3 minutes add the capsicum.  Cover and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Refrain from mixing the veggies too much as they become soft when cooked and get easily mashed when moved around.

Then add the seafood marinara mix.  Add the cabbage at this stage as well.  Cover to cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shrimps, mussles, and squid are cooked.
Time to adjust the taste!  Add a tablespoon of fish sauce for starters and mix slowly, then have a taste.  You may need to add more fish sauce, depending on your preference.

Finally, put the cornflour with a bit of water in a small bowl then mix to dissolve.  Form a well in the middle of the chop suey, then add the diluted cornflour.  Mix it in, the sauce should thicken.

Serve immediately with rice (it's great hot!)