Learn all the tricks to make authentic moo goo gai pan that is way better than takeout without a wok.
Moo Goo Gai Pan, or “mo gu ji pian”, means mushrooms and sliced chicken. It originated from a Cantonese dish and slightly transformed when it became one of the most famous American-Chinese dishes.
Unlike the Chinese take-out style, the mushroom chicken stir fry that I’m familiar with only uses sliced chicken and oyster mushrooms, cooked in a silky chicken broth based sauce with a touch of soy sauce. That is the northern Chinese version.
I found the Moo Goo Gai Pan in the US had so many more types of vegetables in it. The dish had more sauce too. After I tried it once, I fell in love with the new textures with the addition of bamboo shoots, water chestnut, and snow peas.
Cooking take-out style Moo Goo Gai Pan in your own kitchen is not difficult at all. All you need to do is:
- Slice chicken and marinate it for 10 to 15 minutes. It tenderizes the chicken and imparts more flavors into the meat.
- Prep and cut the vegetables into similar sized slices, so they will cook quickly and evenly.
- Mix the sauce. Like the restaurant-style dish, I prepared a generous amount of sauce so there is enough to serve it with rice or noodles.
- Heat up your pan until hot. Cook the chicken and vegetables separately, and pour in the sauce at the end. Taking out the chicken before cooking the vegetables ensures the chicken won’t be overcooked. It results in extra tender and juicy meat that is better than the takeout version.
If you think you need a wok to make proper Chinese takeout, it is not true. As long as you have a large skillet that is 12” to 14 in (30 to 35-cm) diameter, with a higher edge if possible, you’re all set. (You can read more about why I recommend a skillet over a wok for home cooks.) My favorite frying pan is Debuyer carbon steel pan. It heats up evenly, holds heat very well, and sears the meat beautifully. Plus, it becomes nonstick once properly seasoned, just like a cast iron pan. A Calphalon nonstick pan works well too, especially if you want to add less oil into your stir fry and keep it lower in calories.
Happy cooking everyone 🙂
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. Cheers, friends!
More Chinese take-out recipes:
- Chinese Beef and Broccoli with Tofu (One Pan Take-Out)
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Shrimp Fried Rice (扬州炒饭, Yang Zhou Chao Fan)
- Char Siu Pork Lo Mein
Moo Goo Gai Pan (蘑菇鸡片)
- 1/2 lb (225 g) boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh , sliced
- 1 teaspoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic , grated
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 carrot , sliced
- 1/2 pound (230 grams) white mushrooms , sliced
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 can (5 oz) 5 oz. canned bamboo shoots
- 1 can (5 oz) 5 oz. canned water chestnuts , sliced
- Slice chicken against the grain into 5 mm (1/4-inch) pieces. Transfer into a small bowl. Add oil, cornstarch and salt. Gently mix by hand to coat chicken evenly with a thin layer of starch.
- Combine all the Sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy-duty skillet (or a wok) over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and spread into a single layer. Cook without touching for about 30 seconds, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip and cook for another 10 to 20 seconds, until the surface is lightly charred and the inside is almost cooked. Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the skillet. Add garlic and green onion. Stir a few times to release fragrance.
- Add carrot and mushrooms. Cook until it starts to get tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add snow peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Cook 1 minute.
- Stir the sauce again to let cornstarch dissolve completely. Pour into the pan. Add the chicken back to the pan. Stir until the sauce thickens.
- Transfer everything into a serving plate immediately.
- Serve hot over steamed rice or by itself.
Questions and Reviews
This is one of my favorite dishes to get when I go out to Chinese restaurants, so I’m nervous to try it out at home as I don’t want to ruin it. The recipe makes it seem as though it should be pretty straight forward.
Thanks for posting Maggie! Hoping this turns out well.
Hope your dish turns out well Seth! The cooking is quite straight forward. If you keep your pan hot all the time and do not overcook the chicken, I believe it will turn out well 🙂
Happy cooking and let me know how it goes!
I made this over the weekend. It was so easy and so simply delicious. I make a lot of spicy dishes and it was a nice change of pace to make and eat this one. The mild sauce allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine. Yum!
This looks so fresh and tasty, and easy to make too! I love that you’ve got recipes for so many of my favourite take-out dishes, so now I can make them at home! Thanks Maggie 🙂
This looks absolutely delicious and is something that all of my family would enjoy. Brilliant recipe love the extra veggies and sauce too.
Made this tonight and it was nothing short of FABULOUS. My husband loves Chinese food and I have tried numerous times in our 24 year marriage to make ANYTHING that tastes just like it came from a Chinese restaurant. I have failed quite miserably until tonight. This recipe is spot on and my husband was over the moon. I usually don’t even care for moo goo gai pan when we eat out as I like very spicy food and this dish is usually very bland to me. I prepared my usual condiments to “flavor up” the blah white sauce and guess what – I never opened a bottle or jar” It was amazing! The only things I did differently was to triple the sauce recipe as we lov LOTS of sauce. Probably double would have worked though. I added 2 little shaves of fresh ginger and left out the soy sauce (hubby doesn’t like) but added 1/4 t salt in its place. I also used the chicken broth rather than the sherry because I was scared.
Thank you so much cute little Asian girl!!, You have made this grandma fulfill one of her dreams….to make restaurant quality Chinese food at home. Can’t wait to try your other recipes.
Hi Kim, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the dish! Oh yeah it totally makes sense to double the sauce expecially if you serve them with rice. And I believe that using salt to replace soy sauce works too. Thank you for leaving such a sweet message and hope you have a great day! 🙂
I enjoyed this recipe. I had to substitute the following: garlic powder for cloves of garlic, and I used the vegetarian version of oyster sauce. Also, I did not drain the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Please advise on to drain or not to drain. Thank you, Maggie, for this healthy and tasty recipe.
I made this tonight and it was exceptional. My Shanghaiese wife loved it.
Thanks for another nice dish.
Delicious and easy! This is the most authentic tasting sauce for this dish I’ve tried. It’s important to buy good Oyster sauce from an Asian market. I did substitute fresh sugar snap peas for snow peas only because I like them better.
This dish was delicious and very straight forward! It tastes like the real dish.
Really good. Turned out great on my first try. It’s part of my Asian food lineup now.
Tried this for the 1st time tonite. Easy to follow directions, hardest part was just the prep. Cooked quickly and was delicious, even the kids loved it.
This tasted just like it was from a restaurant! Loved it!
this recipe tastes excactly like my favorite restaurants dish. will definitly make it again. so simple