Velvety Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

When you order Chinese food, what do you usually get? Are you more of a lo mein and dumplings person, or does kung pao chicken always seem to call your name? If you're a fan of Chinese dishes that combine chicken, veggies, and plenty of savory flavor, you're surely going to enjoy Moo Goo Gai Pan. It's a Cantonese term that means "chicken and sliced mushrooms," but that's not all it has: This dish is also packed with all sorts of colorful veggies, including some less common varieties. Recipe developer Cecilia Ryu acknowledges that "some people might not be familiar with water chestnuts or bamboo shoots."

"Water chestnuts are not nuts but are actually an aquatic vegetable," she explains. "The texture is very similar to an Asian pear. They are loved for their crunchy texture. Bamboo shoots are used as vegetables in numerous Asian dishes. They are the edible shoots of many bamboo species and have a similar texture to asparagus." Here's how to make this simple-yet-flavorful takeout dish in the comfort of your own home.

Get your moo goo gai pan ingredients

Boneless skinless chicken breast is put in the spotlight here, alongside classic, easy-to-find cremini or white button mushrooms. You'll also need the aforementioned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots (which typically come canned), carrots, scallions, snow peas, ginger, and garlic. 

"You can add any type of mushrooms, shitake, white button or even enoki," Ryu says. "You can also change the vegetables. Sometimes I like to add broccoli, bok choy and baby corn. Whatever vegetables you have on hand can be used." For the sauce and seasoning, you'll need chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper, salt, sesame oil, and cornstarch, plus vegetable oil for cooking.

Prep and cook the chicken

Start by slicing up your chicken breasts and coating them in a light layer of salt and cornstarch — this helps make your chicken crispier. Heat some oil over medium high heat and add the meat, cooking til browned on either side. Set aside the cooked chicken, then mix together your sauce by combining soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and chicken broth.

Sauté the veggies

Now, it's time for your veggies. Start with the garlic, ginger, and scallions — aka aromatics, which are especially important for chicken dishes — and when those are smelling good, add in the carrots and mushrooms. Once those have cooked down a bit, throw in the water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and snow peas and cook for a few more minutes.

Get the sauce thick and velvety

We promised you velvety Moo Goo Gai Pan, and here's how the magic happens. The secret? More cornstarch! Once you've put the chicken and sauce in the pan alongside the vegetables, stir up a slurry of cornstarch and a little water. Mix that into the pan until everything is nice and thickened, then take out any big chunks of ginger for good measure and add pepper as you see fit.

Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy your Moo Goo Gai Pan

Once your Moo Goo Gai Pan is ready, plate it up, sprinkle some scallion greens and sesame seeds on top, and enjoy. "Moo Goo Gai Pan is commonly served with rice. The rice will soak up all of the delicious sauce. It can also be served over a bed of noodles as well," Ryu says. This recipe can serve up to six people, so if you're only planning dinner for one or two, no worries, as reheating Chinese food is a snap: "Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days," she notes. "Reheat by sautéing in a pan over low heat until heated through."

Velvety Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe
5 from 43 ratings
Learn how to make this Chinese dish at home so you can enjoy the creamy textures without ordering takeout.
Prep Time
Cook Time
moo goo gai pan close-up
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, white ends cut into 2-inch pieces, greens reserved for garnish
  • 1 cup sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thin
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • black pepper to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds for garnish
  1. In a medium shallow dish, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and salt and mix well. Lightly coat each piece of the sliced chicken with the cornstarch mixture.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken broth and sugar. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a wok or a large heavy-bottomed skillet, add 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces in one layer until lightly brown on each side. Continue cooking in batches. Set aside on a plate.
  4. In the same wok or skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger slices, and the white scallion pieces and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the snow peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Continue to sauté the vegetables for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved chicken and the sauce. Mix well to combine.
  6. In a small bowl, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix well until dissolved. Add to the chicken and vegetables and mix well until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove ginger slices. Add black pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with sliced scallions and roasted sesame seeds if using. Serve immediately while hot.
Calories per Serving 378
Total Fat 18.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 99.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Total Sugars 4.5 g
Sodium 820.4 mg
Protein 34.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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