Moo Goo Gai Pan
Moo Goo Gai Pan or Mushroom and Chicken Stir Fry (蘑菇鸡片) is a quick and easy Chinese dish that’s so much better than takeout. Tender chicken slices are stir-fried with mushrooms and vegetables for a healthy and delicious weeknight dinner idea!
Moo Goo Gai Pan is one of my favorite Asian stir fried chicken dishes, along with Chicken Teriyaki. I’ve tested countless ways to make this stir-fried chicken recipe over the years, and this version is one of my favorites along with Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Pad Thai, General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Chicken and Lemon Chicken.
What is Moo Goo Gai Pan
Moo Goo Gai Pan (蘑菇鸡片) is a stir-fried dish made with chicken, mushrooms and other vegetables. Originally it’s a Cantonese dish, and it has become one of the most popular American-Chinese dishes.
Moo Goo (蘑菇) in Chinese means mushrooms, and Gai Pan (鸡片, Cantonese dialect) means chicken slices. That’s why Moo Goo Gai Pan is essentially chicken and mushrooms.
Usually button mushrooms are used. Other vegetables that you can add to this dish include snow peas, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, broccoli, etc. It’s tossed with a savory sauce and it’s super flavorful.
How to Make Meat Tender and Juicy: the Best-kept Chinese Restaurant Secret
Chinese stir-fried meat from restaurants is always tender, juicy and easy to chew. When you use the same ingredients and cook at home, it never seems to taste the same. Well, what makes the difference is a velveting technique. Velveting takes extra time, but it’s so worth it for a juicy restaurant-style result.
What is Velveting
Velveting is a technique used by many Chinese restaurants to coat proteins to prevent overcooking. Velveting consists of two steps:
- coating chicken (or other meat) pieces in a cornstarch slurry made with cornstarch, egg whites, wine and other seasonings
- marinating for about 30 minutes so it’ll be tender when cooked.
After marinating, chicken is stir-fried with oil in a wok or skillet for several minutes over high heat until cooked through. The chicken is removed to allow the rest of the ingredients to be added and cooked. At the end, the chicken is added back in for a short sauté.
How to Make Moo Goo Gai Pan Sauce
In addition to the marinade, there’s a special Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce to use during the stir-fry. In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce (酱油), rice vinegar (米醋), chicken stock, sugar, and sesame oil. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of water plus 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and mix well. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
How to Serve Moo Goo Gai Pan
Traditionally this dish is served with rice. Other great options include noodles and chow mein. The healthiest option is to serve with brown rice.
Tips and Secrets for Making Restaurant-style Moo Goo Gai Pan
The following tips will help you to make restaurant-style Moo Goo Gai Pan:
- Cut your chicken into thin slices. The easiest way is to freeze the chicken for about 15 minutes before you cut it.
- Marinate the chicken in the sauce for about 30 minutes to achieve the best results.
- Use the velveting technique above to produce the tender and juicy restaurant-style results.
The recipe below covers all the steps.
The Best Moo Goo Gai Pan
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp cornstarch, divided
- 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup snow peas
- 3 medium carrots
- 6 oz sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 6 oz sliced bamboo shoots, drained
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white, rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
- Cut the chicken breast into thin slices and add to the mixture, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
- In a large wok or saucepan, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken slices, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Place the same pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots, mushrooms, snow peas, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.
- In a small bowl whisk together the chicken stock, sugar, sesame oil, remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp cornstarch. Mix well.
- Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for one minute. Add in the sauce and cook over high heat until it starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
More Chinese stir fry recipes:
Editor note: Published Nov. 30, 2017 and updated March 1, 2019
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