Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Tropical Beef and Mango Chutney Chow Mein

This is the perfect minced beef and vegetable dish for a busy weeknight, fuss free, it's loaded with lots of healthy vegetables, spices, and it takes less than half an hour to cook.  With a recipe like this, you can fly through the week stress-free, with an easy flavoursome meal that will give your family a gourmet experience on the cheap. 500 g of minced beef can be stretched to feed 6 people. I prepped all of the vegetables ahead in the morning, and then cooked the dish in the electric frypan early in the afternoon before the kitchen warmed later on as it does when the weather gets warmer here in the Tropics. I don't use my large electric frypan very often, but adding lots of chopped cabbage requires a large pan to cook it in, or a large wok would work too.  The cabbage cooks down very quickly but a large cooking vessel prevents all of those delicious vegetables spilling out everywhere uncontrollably. It looks like a lot of cabbage and it is, but the cabbage loves to be the hero and take this dish to the party.

My first version of this recipe used chopped kale, however cabbage is so much more affordable and mentioning kale is quite divisive in some culinary circles. Use it though if you wish in place of cabbage. Cabbage is just the best vegetable in my books, still very affordable and as you know I am a sucker for buying a whole pumpkin, well the same goes for a whole cabbage. Whilst we are concerned about how to feed the world's populations, in my books the whole world could be fed on simple meals including cooked pumpkins and cabbages, and a few onions, they are so versatile, nutritious, delicious and plentiful.

This recipe was originally on my blog as a Paleo recipe, it was kind of trendy back then to call it Paleo, so here it is now refreshed and repackaged.  My Mum made a dish similar to this one years ago, using her amazing Mango Chutney as the secret ingredient. I now make batches of her Mango Chutney recipe every year during mango season, which isn't that far away. Northern Territory mangoes are in the supermarkets right now, and the mango trees here in the North are full of blossom. Such a lovely tradition that I try to keep going. This is one of those recipes that can be adapted according to what is on trend and what you have in the kitchen. I used to say that mango chutney was optional with this dish, however now I am rephrasing that to essential, combined with the curry powder and soy sauce, the flavours bring so much umami (savoury flavours) and sweetness to the dish, it's a fusion of sweet and spicy flavours. If you are planning to make some mango chutney this Christmas, here is the link to my recipe.

 I love how versatile the ingredients in this dish are.  Cabbage and kale are interchangeable. Carrots can be optional, if you don't have any on hand, I have used more capsicum instead at times. If you like it spicy, add some more Curry Powder, however to feed the whole family including children, this amount of curry powder gives the right amount of heat and spice. Add finely chopped zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower whatever you have on hand, even some frozen peas would work. This is a great dish in which to serve up hidden vegetables to the family. I'm all for including hidden vegetables in cooking.

Let's cook:


Feeds 6 people easily

500g Lean Minced Beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Curry Powder
1 cup chicken stock or white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 carrots, sliced
1 capsicum sliced 
300 g chopped mushrooms
Optional: 1 chopped broccoli stalk or cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1/4 whole cabbage
Chopped coriander or parsley as a garnish
Dried noodles as a garnish

Let's cook:

Heat the oil in a pan and lightly brown the onion and the Minced Beef until cooked.

Add the Curry Powder to the mince, and stir through, and then add the Chicken Stock or White Wine and the Soy Sauce.  Bring to the boil. 

Add all the vegetables except the cabbage and reduce the dish to a simmer. Add water as necessary if the dish is drying out. When the vegetables are cooked but still crispy add the mango chutney, then add the cabbage and allow it to wilt in the pan and stir through the rest of the ingredients.

When the vegetables are cooked to the required texture, but not too soft, it is ready to eat.

Serve with noodles, brown rice, white rice or burghul. 

Cooking tips:

  • I had run out of chicken stock, but had enough white wine in the refrigerator so I used that. It worked well.
  • Add more mango chutney on the side if you love it like we do.
  • Adapt your ingredients according to the season, I added frozen beans this time as well.
  • It's traditional to eat chow mein with noodles, however rice and burghul are also delicious and quite acceptable
  • Old versions of a recipe similar to this used packet Chicken Noodle Soup and water, that is always an option if you run out of chicken stock.

Let's be honest, during the week we all have times when we feel the pressure of having to whip up a creative meal, but we really shouldn't. I remember that well particularly when I was going out to work in libraries. Not only are many of us feeling time poor these days, but we are also trying to stretch the budget as cost of living pressures are continuously rising. Heck, I am working from home now, but there still aren't enough hours in the day sometimes to achieve everything I would like to, even though we live simply. How did I find time to go out to work? A meal like this one in your cooking repertoire will get you through on those days when you just don't feel much like cooking, but a few basic ingredients can yield a very tasty and impressive dish for the whole family. The trick is to cook it, feeling a sense of accomplishment once it's made, and then just before serving up, you can jazz it up with some fried noodles, chopped herbs or whatever you have on hand. A little touch of colour on the dinner plate works wonders for everyone, don't you think?

We enjoyed quick and easy delicious leftovers with brown basmati rice and chopped coriander the following day for lunch.

Warm wishes from Northern Queensland,


An original recipe by Pauline McNee at Happy Retirees Kitchen.


  1. I like the idea of using mango chutney in noodle dishes. It looks very appetizing.

    1. Thanks Angie, we love adding mango chutney to this dish.

  2. What a neat dish! I haven't had chow mein in ages, and your recipe looks so good. Love all the nice flavors you've included. Thanks!

    1. Thanks KR, this dish is on rotation in my kitchen. Simple but so tasty.

  3. i like to make a savoury mince dish as it is so easy and has lots of veg. in fact i made one the other night and we will have it again tonight. Yes 500g. can go a long way!

    1. Just mince on toast is great for an easy Sunday night. Thanks Sherry

  4. interesting idea to add the chutney!

    1. Thanks Sherry, I can't imagine eating this now without the addition of the chutney.

  5. This is exactly the way we have been cooking lately, though we needed an infusion of new flavors. And here you walk in, Pauline! I love all these flavors and especially the use of mango chutney. If this doesn't appear on our menu this coming week, I can assure you that it will soon!

    PS - I have been having real troubles commenting on your blog. I was using my iPad and was always able to get though. Suddenly not. I just discovered that I can get through on my computer, so you will see lots of comments from me today!

  6. So sorry you started having hassles with commenting David, it seems to be a bit of a problem with different devices sometimes. I'll let them know. Anyway, so pleased you can now. This is such an easy way to cook midweek meals, tasty and economical. Thanks so much for persisting with the commenting.


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