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Sapasui (Samoan Chop Suey)

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Sapasui or Samoan chop suey is dish I was reminded of recently when a friend of mine was telling me of her weeknight meal plans.

Her husband is apparently known for making an excellent sapasui which is a meat and noodle stir fry dish from Samoa.

My friend’s Samoan culture is heavily ingrained in her family’s lifestyle as well as in their kitchen.

Samoan cuisine is something I’ve come across quite often having come from New Zealand; the food, music and culture features prominently and I remember eating sapasui at a Pacific Island festival in Auckland many years ago.

Sapasui is called Samoan chop suey because it has its origins in Chinese culture which was brought over by Chinese labourers in the 1800s.*

From what I hear it has evolved into such a popular dish that it appears at almost every Samoan banquet table during celebrations of every kind.

Every family has their own version and therefore finding an accurate recipe was a huge challenge for me.

Even my dear friend couldn’t give me her husband’s exact measurements of ingredients.

Many of the cooks on YouTube who prepared instructional videos for sapasui judged the measurements of each ingredient by eye rather than by using instruments.

I quickly realised the potential to adapt the recipe according to one’s own tastes; therefore friends, I present to you my version of the Samoan Chop Suey.

My adaptation of this recipe deviates from the more “traditional” versions in two ways:

  1. I’ve used beef mince rather than chopped beef steak to make cooking quicker.
  2. I’ve incorporated more Asian ingredients to add more depth and impact to the flavours.

This is therefore not a “true” sapasui but rather more my own version which I will keep and use within my family.

onions frying
Saute onions until soft
Add garlic and ginger
Add beef mince and cook through
Add mushroom soy sauce, Chinese 5 spice, kecap manis and fish sauce
Add vermicelli noodles and stir through
Serve with rice

Feel free to use, change and adapt this recipe to suit you and your family’s tastes.

Enjoy!

* Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_in_Samoa

sapasui image
Sapasui (Samoan Chop Suey)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 5
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 5
Cook Time
10
sapasui image
Sapasui (Samoan Chop Suey)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 5
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 5
Cook Time
10
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 250 grams beef mince
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 bunches dried vermicelli (about 2 cups of cooked vermicelli noodles)
  • 1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • spring onion greens chopped for garnish
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place dried vermicelli in a bowl. Top with boiling water and push the noodles down until completely immersed. Cover with a plate and set aside until needed.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan on low heat and add onions.
  3. Cook onions until soft then add garlic and ginger. Toss continuously for approx. 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium and add the beef. Stir fry the beef until no longer pink.
  5. Add mushroom sauce, kecap manis, Chinese 5 spice powder and fish sauce. Stir fry ingredients together.
  6. Set aside ¼ cup of water from the noodles.
  7. Drain the remaining water and add the noodles to the frying pan. Stir fry noodles with beef mixture until completely combined.
  8. If the mixture begins to dry out add the water set aside from the noodles.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve sapasui hot with rice and sprinkled with chopped spring onion.
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