Chinese Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry

This Panda Express style Chinese mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Chinese Mushroom Chicken served on a plate

Since moving to the US, I’m often amazed at how trying out American Chinese food can open my mind towards the food of my own culture. I’ve experienced and recreated some of the popular American Chinese such as Orange Chicken, General Tso Tofu, and Beef with Broccoli. I’d never seen these dishes growing up in China. But they use various Chinese ingredients to create a sensation that’s true to traditional Chinese cooking. I enjoy these dishes and they somehow remind me of the food from home.

The theory proved right again on our way back from Los Angeles recently. During lunch hour, my husband and I were stuck in a tiny terminal with five restaurant options. After looking through the menus, we decided the most healthy option was Panda Express. I confess it was my first time ordering from the chain, since I often prefer smaller Chinese diners operated by immigrants. But to my surprise, the food turned out so good and I was obsessed with their mushroom chicken in the end.

The truth is, there is a mushroom chicken dish in traditional Chinese cooking. It is made with bone-in skin-on chicken, chopped to bite-size, then braised in a soy sauce based sauce with dried shiitake mushrooms. It’s a dish I often ate growing up. But I rarely make it anymore after moving to the US, because it can be hard to find such chicken cuts.

Trying the mushroom chicken at Panda Express made me realize that the best solution to recreating one of my favorite childhood dishes is to stir fry the ingredients instead of braising them.

Chinese Mushroom Chicken in a frying pan

Mushroom Chicken – Panda Express Style

The Panda Express mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. The Panda Express restaurant version doesn’t contain bamboo shoots. But I highly recommend them because they add a great texture and their taste goes perfectly with the sauce.

Which cut of chicken to use

The original Panda Express version actually uses dark meat, as is typical in China. I used white meat in this recipe and the result turned out great. And of course, you can use dark meat instead if you prefer.

Cookware

I’ve talked in previous posts about why NOT to use a wok, and some of the best ways to set up your stir fry station if you’re using an electric stove. Long story short, the most convenient setup is to use your electric stove with a nonstick pan (such as the 12” Calphalon deep fry pan, which provides enough surface area against the heating element to heat up your pan well, while it’s also deep enough to hold the ingredients during cooking).

The benefit of using a nonstick pan is that it heats up faster on an electric stove than a traditional wok does. Plus, the nonstick surface prevents the food from sticking to the pan. Most Chinese stir fry dishes use cornstarch to coat the meat, which is very prone to sticking to the pan if you don’t use enough oil and heat the pan well.

On the other hand, if you prefer not to use a nonstick pan, I would recommend a cast iron or a carbon steel pan (Ignore stainless. They stick like hell). In this case, you will need to add more oil to prevent the meat from sticking.

Panda Express Style Mushroom Chicken

Marinating the chicken

The most important step for most Chinese stir fries. The marinade will season the meat and give it a deeper aroma. The cornstarch will coat the chicken and protect it from the high heat. It takes a bit of effort but yields a very juicy and tender result, just like the restaurant version.

Mise en place

I like to organize my ingredients in groups, so I can use less bowls. It also makes the cooking easier. Once you’re done prepping, your kitchen counter should have:

  • Chicken with marinade
  • Mixed sauce with a spatula (to stir again during the cooking)
  • Chopped ginger, garlic, and green onion in a bowl
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Bamboo shoots

Chinese Mushroom Chicken cooking ingredients

Cooking process

The cooking happens very quickly once the pan has heated up.

It’s very important that you cook the chicken first, and take it out before adding the vegetables. It’s the best way to prevent the chicken from overcooking. Plus, it helps the pan to keep a high temperature to sear the vegetables instead of steaming them.

If you’re using a cast iron or carbon steel pan, the chicken might stick to the pan. In this case, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine and use a wooden spatula to deglaze it.

To make this dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce. Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. And use a gluten-free oyster sauce.

To sum up

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to prepare this restaurant dish at home, and the result is so good. I’ve made this dish very saucy so it is perfect to serve on top of rice. I hope you enjoy!

More takeout style recipes

Chinese Mushroom Chicken close up

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Mushroom chicken (Panda Express style) - The dish is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Chinese Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry

This Panda Express style Chinese mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}To make the dish gluten free, use tamari or coconut amino to replace soy sauce, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and make sure to use a gluten free oyster sauce or homemade oyster sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 216kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. (300 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), sliced to 1/4” (5mm) thickness (about 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs)

Marinade

Sauce

Stir fry

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 lbs (225 g) mushrooms (white or baby portabella)
  • 1 cup sliced bamboo shoots , drained
  • 3 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger , minced
  • 2 green onions , chopped

Instructions

  • Combine chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Stir to mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Sear until the bottom turns golden without moving it, 1 minute or so. Stir and flip to cook the other side, until turns golden, another minute or so. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a big plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are cooked through and the liquid evaporated.
  • Add the bamboo shoots, garlic, ginger, and onion. Drizzle with a bit more oil if the pan looks dry. Stir and cook for a minute.
  • Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir to coat everything well with the sauce. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.8g | Protein: 18.8g | Fat: 8.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 737mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 7.5g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2.5mg
Mushroom chicken (Panda Express style) - The dish is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

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Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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7 thoughts on “Chinese Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry

  1. CHERRYLYNN PETERS


    I made this last night and really enjoyed it. I realized halfway thru, though, that my oyster sauce was empty (panic!) and had to come up with a quick substitute. 2 tbs soy sauce and 1 tbs Worcester sauce and we were good! not the same flavor, but husband had no complaints. I also didn’t have bamboo shoots, so I subbed sliced water chestnuts. They provided a nice crunch to contrast with the mushrooms. side note: even with the ton of rice I served with, there are no left overs. always a good thing!

    Reply
    1. Maggie

      Hi Esther, you can water chestnut as substitution or a handful of snow peas. Or you can skip it all together since the original version of the dish does not include the bamboo shoots.

      Reply
  2. Lia


    I made this tonight for our dinner and it turned out great! It was very easy to make, as the directions were easy to follow. My family loved this dish, and I’ll definitely add this to our menu rotation.

    Reply