This recipe for moo goo gai pan is a classic dish of chicken and vegetables stir fried with a savory sauce. Plus secret tips on how to make your stir fries taste like they came from a restaurant!
Have you ever ordered moo goo gai pan at a Chinese restaurant? It’s a simple chicken and vegetable stir fry that’s super flavorful and also on the healthier side. I first tried this fabulous dish about 15 years ago while on a date with my now-husband. I had never had it before but he insisted we order it and I’m glad that he did.
What is moo goo gai pan?
Moo goo gai pan is essentially chicken with mushrooms, along with some other veggies that seem to vary depending on who is preparing it. When I order a chicken based dish at a Chinese restaurant, the meat is always very thinly sliced and super tender, but I could never figure out how to replicate that at home. Luckily, after a little research, I realized that it’s actually quite easy to get thin and tender chicken pieces in your own kitchen. The first step to getting restaurant-style chicken is to cut your chicken into very thin slices. The easiest way to do this is to freeze the chicken breasts for about 20 minutes, or just until they firm up – you don’t want them frozen solid, but you do want them hard enough to easily slice. Cut your chicken against the grain (width wise) into strips.
The next step in the process is a technique known as velveting – the chicken takes a quick dip in a cornstarch and egg white mixture which makes it extra tender. This extra little step is well worth it for a restaurant style end result.
The sauce for this stir fry recipe is so incredibly simple, but it really ties all of the flavors together nicely. Serve this dish with a side of rice and skip the take out menu tonight!
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Moo Goo Gai Pan Video
Moo Goo Gai Pan
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of cornstarch divided use
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil divided use
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup of snow peas
- 1/2 cup of thinly sliced carrots
- 1 8-ounce can of sliced water chestnuts drained
- 1 8-ounce can of sliced bamboo shoots drained
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add the chicken slices and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then strain and discard any excess liquid.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the carrots and 1 tablespoon of water and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and tender.
- Add the snow peas and cook 1-2 minutes more or until tender. Stir in the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the vegetables from the pan and place on a plate. Cover the plate with foil to keep warm.
- Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat.
- Add the the chicken to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds more.
- In a small bowl whisk together the chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
- Add the vegetables back to the pan and heat through, approximately 1 minute. Pour in the sauce and turn the high to heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and boil for approximately 1 minute or until sauce has just started to thicken, stirring occasionally.
- Serve immediately, over rice if desired.
I had no snow peas so subbed asparagus cut on diagonal about an inch and don’t like bamboo shoots so subbed diced bell peppers all according to measurements. Turned out GREAT.
We loved this recipe. Will definitely make it again.
Close to restraunt quality 👌
Delicious flavor, tender chicken, very colorful and appetizing, nice crunch with the water chestnuts. And best of all low sodium! Will make this again soon!
It was great. Didn’t use the bamboo shoots. No one here likes them. Still great. Will make again
I really like this recipe and it`s not complicated, which for me is a good thing. The only tip I have for anyone who doesn`t already know and I didn`t myself till just over a yr ago is buy dark soy sauce. It`s fermented longer, has buku flavor and virtually no salt compared to what they sell in most markets the good good ferments like Kikoman or the cheapo`s they make out of powder. It doesn`t even taste the same as regular soy because it doesn`t have that salt lapping salt taste.
This meal was sooo good! I followed the recipe exactly. I did pond the chicken though. I thought it was better than take out. My family loved, I’m so glad I found your recipe.
Excellent! So many stir-fries fall short. This was not one of them. I used thighs and left out the bamboo shoots/water chestnuts and it was still superb. Thank you!
This was the best MGGP I ever tasted! And it’s a favorite of mine and my husband’s. I made some changes: boneless/ skinless chicken thighs, added sweet onion petals, low sodium soy sauce, sunflower seed oil and more of it. I had a problem when I added the carrots &and water into the wok with the hot oil. Next time I will eliminate the water and add the carrots after the mushrooms. The carrots were overcooked by the time everything else was done.
I was especially pleased with the information on velveting. I tried a different recipe for velveting beef last fall that left the beef no more tender and tasting terrible. The chicken came out perfectly tender and flavorful.
I can’t wait to try this recipe with more kinds of vegetables. Thanks for this great recipe!
This recipe turned out perfect! I also enjoyed the music on your video! Is it something by the Barry White Orchestra?
Glad you liked the recipe! The music is something I purchased years ago and I’m not sure of the artist!
This Moo Goo Gai Pan is so good! I used San-J Tamari Soy Sauce that I bought from Karman Foods and it’s absolutely delicious! It’s my fam’s new fave dish.
I am not good at cooking. I followed this recipe and IT WORKED so great! My husband enjoyed my food very much and I was impressed with it too. That was great! Thank you! Very tasty. It looked like restaurant food.
CAN YOU OLEASE TELL ME HOW TO DO THE VELVETING PROCESS, AND WHEN TO DO THIS STEP?
It is step 1 of the recipe!
This looks so simple, yet delicious. However, I question step #2 calling for heating oil and then adding water to it. Adding anything wet to hot oil is dangerous and explosive. I have scars on my right arm from exploding oil after adding vegetables that were too wet.
This recipe was delicious!
Great recipe! Just added some bok choy and bean sprouts that were in the fridge. You could add any veggies you like, and it’s great. The sauce and chicken method make the dish awesome!
Better than what we can order at the local Chinese restaurant! Thank you for sharing this delicious dinner. Served with “Gimme Some Oven” chicken fried rice.
Great recipe! A+! I doubled the amount of sliced carrots. Even though I sliced the chicken very thin to increase the tenderness, I think I may pound the chicken breast a bit next time to break down the connective tissues for greater tenderness. We loved this recipe and will try others. Thank you!
Soaking the chicken in cornstarch & rice wine works well to if you don’t want to use egg white. I found your recipe made just as you have it here turned out perfectly.
Great recipe. Did not have all the ingredients this time so I had to substitute mushrooms and carrots with red pepper and celery, came out wonderful. Also did not have chicken broth so i used the liquids i sautéed the breast in used lemon juice.and fresh garlic. Tasted great, will do again and probably switch around between the two versions.