Ellen Bales


Another one of our mother's favorite recipes. Don't know where she got it, but it dates back probably beyond the 1950s. I also don't know whether this is technically chop suey or chow mein--never could figure out the difference. But we love it, regardless.

Featured Pinch Tips Video

★★★★★ 2 votes
30 Min
1 Hr 20 Min
Stove Top


2 or 3 lb
stew beef (or may use pork or chicken)
2 Tbsp
celery stalk (this means the whole bunch)
4 or 5 large
onions, chopped
2 medium
cans bean sprouts
1 or 2 can(s)
water chestnuts, sliced
1 medium
bottle soy sauce
1/3 jar(s)
chinese brown gravy sauce
2 or 3 Tbsp
corn starch
2/3 c


Step 1 Direction Photo

1Chop onions and celery fairly small and set aside.

Step 2 Direction Photo

2In a large Dutch oven, brown the meat in oil with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3 Direction Photo

3Add celery and onion. Cover with about half the bottle of soy sauce and add water to cover mixture. Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Step 4 Direction Photo

4Add bean sprouts and water chestnuts, and a little more soy sauce and water if needed (not too much if you want it to be thick). Let this cook for about 20 minutes.

Step 5 Direction Photo

5In a small saucepan, mix together the brown gravy sauce, the corn starch and water.

Step 6 Direction Photo

6Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it gets so thick you can't stir any longer.

Step 7 Direction Photo

7Immediately remove from heat and stir into the large pot, until very well mixed. Should be semi-thick at this point and ready to serve.

Step 8 Direction Photo

8I like to serve this over hot white rice and sprinkle with crisp chow mein noodles. And, of course, egg rolls on the side--I cheat and buy frozen ones.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Chicken, Beef, Pork
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Chinese
Other Tag: Healthy