Fry

how to make chicken mushroom stir fry | Family Cuisine

This is a quick and easy recipe that you can make with ingredients that you probably already have at home. I love to make this meal when I'm craving something savory and comforting. It's so simple to cook, but it tastes like
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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

  • Crispy Chinese Honey Chicken
  • Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)
  • 15-Minute Chicken Chow Fun
  • 15-Minute Pork Fried Rice
  • Honey Garlic Shrimp

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.

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