We took chop suey to a new level of tenderness by making it velveted chop suey!
If you want your next batch of homemade chop suey to be as tasty as what you buy from your favorite Chinese take-out place, try this velveted chop suey recipe.
We’ve seen a lot of posts on social media about “velveting” meat as a way to tenderize meat, and supposedly this method is used by many Chinese restaurants. This quick and easy method actually works and turns out super tender meat.
We are going to break down just exactly what the processing of velveting is in the post below, as well as giving you more information on the process and ingredients we used in our velveted chop suey. Read this in-depth information to really master the recipe, or just scroll down to the ingredients and get cooking!
What is chop suey?
Chop suey is a common dish in American styles of Chinese food. It is made with a variety of meat and protein cooked quickly with vegetables and bound in a thickened sauce that is then served over rice or noodles.
No one really knows how this dish was invented, but one theory is that it can be traced to a Chinese dish called “tsap seui” which can be translated as “miscellaneous leftovers.” If that’s what it means, it’s a perfect description of this dish, because it can be made with a variety of items that are leftover from other dishes!
What is velveting?
Velveting is a simple and quick way of chemically tenderizing meat before cooking it. There are a number of different methods to velvet meat, but the simplest method, and the one we tried in this recipe just requires baking soda.
Baking soda is able to tenderize meat because it raises the pH levels on the surface of meat and makes it tougher for meat to bond together while it’s cooking.
Here are the three steps to velvet your meat:
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 12 ounces of meat and toss together, making sure to cover all sides.
- Let the meat sit in your refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Wash the meat off, pat it dry, and you’re ready to cook velveted meat!
This really is “one simple trick” that is a simple trick that works!
If you would like more information, check out this post about the process by Arm & Hammer that outlines the process of velveting and suggests more ways to use baking soda to tenderize meat.
What type of meat did you use in your velveted chop suey?
For our velveted chop suey, we used Lake Geneva Country Meats chop suey meat which is a half-and-half blend of chopped-up beef round and pork loin. The velveting process made both the pork and beef more tender, which was awesome!
If you don’t have our chop suey meat, we’d recommend substituting a combination 1/2 pound of thinly sliced beef round meat with 1/2 pound of cubed pork loin meat.
Chop suey is traditionally made with multiple types of proteins, and velveting works with all types of meat and seafood. Some other proteins you could add to your velveted chop suey include:
- Other cuts of beef such as chuck roast or brisket
- Different cuts of pork like belly or pork shoulder
- Chicken breast or thighs
- Fish such as cod or salmon
- Tofu – if you’re a vegetarian or just want some extra flavor and crunch
Just make sure that whatever protein you add to your velveted chop suey is chopped into small cubes or thinly sliced so it cooks quickly!
What else did you put in your velveted chop suey?
We added a colorful vegetable blend to our velveted consisting of:
- Chopped onions
- Chopped celery
- Bean sprouts
- Baby corn
- Red pepper
You can use all sorts of vegetables in this recipe, and it is a great way to use up leftover vegetables that weren’t used in other recipes. Here are a few suggestions on additional vegetables that could go into your velveted chop suey:
- Broccoli florets
- Mushrooms such as button or shiitake
- Sliced bok choy or a similar Chinese cabbage
- Snow peas
- Water chestnuts
- Zucchini or other squash that have been cut into thin slices
What’s the deal with the thickened sauce you used in the velveted chop suey?
The final piece to the puzzle of making authentic Chinese restaurant-style chop suey is incorporating a thickened sauce into the recipe. This sauce brings all of the flavors and textures of the chop suey together into a savory and sticky treat.
You don’t need to make this sauce if you’re short on time or ingredients, and you can just season your chop suey with soy sauce, but we do think using this thickened sauce makes your velveted chop suey even better, so we do recommend it.
Do you have other recipes that this velveting technique could be used in?
Yes, we do! Velveting works well in any recipe that quickly cooks thinly sliced meats. Here are a few recipe suggestions to try with velveted meat:
We think that covers everything you need to know about making a super tender and very delicious velveted chop suey featuring beef and pork from Lake Geneva Country Meats!
If you have more questions about our velveted chop suey recipe, if you made tweaks to the recipe, or just general feedback, be sure to leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
Thanks for reading – we’ll see you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats!
- 1 lb LGCM Chop Suey Meat (see recipe notes for possible subsitutes)
- 1.25 tsp Baking Soda (for velveting)
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil (plus more to add while cooking as needed)
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- 1/2 White Onion (diced)
- 3 stalk Celery (diced)
- 1 can Bean Sprouts (14.5 ounce – drained and rinsed)
- 1 can Baby Corn (14.5 ounce – drained and rinsed)
- 2 Bell Pepper (thinly sliced – we used red bell peppers for color and sweetness)
- 1 cup Water (or chicken broth)
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 tsp White Sugar
- Rice (cooked – for serving)
- Green Onion (thinly sliced – for serving)
Place your chop suey meat on a plate and then add the baking soda on top of the meat. Mix to combine and let sit in your refrigerator for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, wash the meat and pat dry.
Add the vegetable and sesame oils to a large wok or non-stick skillet. If you don’t have sesame oil, you can use only vegetable oil. Heat to medium-high heat and once hot, add the velveted chop suey meat and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stir frequently.
Add the celery, bean sprouts, baby corn, and bell pepper, along with more sesame oil if necessary to keep your chop suey from sticking. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender.
While the vegetables are cooking, add the water, soy sauce, corn starch, and sugar to a small mixing bowl and whisk together until the corn starch and sugar are dissolved. If you like, you can add a bit of oyster sauce for extra flavor, or substitute Shaoxing wine instead of white sugar.
Once the vegetables are softened, add the thickened sauce to your velveted chop suey and stir well to coat everything in the sauce. Continue cooking for an additional 2 – 3 minutes until the sauce has thickened, and everything is heated through.
Remove from heat and served your velveted chop suey over rice with freshly chopped green onions as garnish. Enjoy!