Moo goo means “mushroom”, Gai means “chicken” and pan means “sliced”. When the chicken is cut very thin and cooked quickly, it remains wonderfully tender. The vegetables and seasonings vary widely in this dish, but mushrooms and chicken are always used.
1 Cup Chinese (Napa) cabbage, white portions, sliced ¼ wide, 2 inches long or substitute 2 inch long thin slices of peeled celery
1 Can drained sliced water chestnuts
1 Cup snow peas, washed in cold water
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced in thin slices
1 Cup baby cremini mushrooms, stemmed, quartered
1 Clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced or substitute thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1 Carrot peeled, sliced into thin shreds (optional)
1+1 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
1 Pinch white pepper
1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Teaspoon white sugar (optional)
1 ½ Teaspoons soy sauce
1 Teaspoon fish sauce
1 Teaspoon Mirin
1 Tablespoon rice wine or sake
1 Teaspoon rice wine vinegar
¼ Cup chicken broth and a little more, later, if needed
In a small bowl, add cornstarch, sugar (optional) then mix in soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, Mirin, vinegar, and ¼ cup of chicken broth. Set the cornstarch mixture aside until needed.
Heat wok over high heat. When hot, add a tablespoon of oil, garlic, ginger and the pepper. Stir fry the chicken slices until all traces of red are gone. (Retain cooked chicken in a bowl.)
Wipe out wok.
Heat wok over high heat. When hot, add a tablespoon of oil. Stir fry water chestnuts, shallots, snow peas, carrots (optional), and cabbage or celery until all the vegetables are hot. Return the chicken to the wok and add mushrooms. Add cornstarch mixture and stir fry and toss until thickened. Correct seasoning adding more chicken stock as required. The suace will not achieve its full thickness until it has returned to a boil. Sauce should be thickened but slightly runny. Serve over steamed jasmine rice.