(Chicago) – I eat vegetables but it’s not usually my preference especially if there’s a meat dish on the table. My doctor even reprimanded me for doing high protein diet and giving less importance to greens during my last physical checkup. Her reprimanding means scaring me of potential diseases due to high cholesterol. Ok, fine. I get the point. All she wanted me to do is to eat more vegetables every day. That wouldn’t be a problem.  There are many delicious Filipino vegetable dishes that I can surely enjoy and one of them is chopsuey.

Chopsuey is actually a Chinese dish but it became a prominent part of Filipino cuisine since time immemorial. It’s a medley of vegetables bound together with a thickened sauce of shrimp and chicken flavors. Other than the rich shrimpy flavor, I love the crunch and vibrant colors of chopsuey. And not to mention, it’s highly nutritious. My doctor will be so proud of me, surely. ;-)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound shrimp/prawns
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thigh, cut into small pieces
  • 1 chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 cup shrimp juice
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch+ 1 cup water
  • ¼ pound string beans
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large carrot cut into thin circles
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into small squares
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into small squares
  • ¼ pound snow peas
  • ½ head of Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions

Directions:

Boil the prawns in 1 cup water until fully cooked, until it turns orange. Cool it down for a few minutes. Then, shell the prawns and set aside the meat.  Bring back the shells and heads in the liquid, then, mash it to extract shrimp essence. Strain and save the juice for later.

Heat oil on medium high heat using a large saucepan or wok. Saute garlic , celery and onion until translucent. Add chicken, bouillon, oyster sauce, Worcestershire, sesame and fish sauce. Cook for 10 minutes. Add shrimp juice and bring to a quick boil. Lower heat to medium.  Add water with dissolved cornstarch and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.

Add string beans, cauliflower and carrots, cook for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 more minutes.

Side Note: A simpler alternative to shrimp juice is just to use shrimp bouillon in replacement of the chicken bouillon. Also, you may de-vein the prawns. I didn’t bother de-veining them here since I used a good quality prawns straight from my friend’s family farm in the Philippines. Thanks a million.