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Pictorial: Chicken Stir-fried w/ Shiitake & Enoki

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Chicken Stir-fried with Shiitake and Enoki Mushrooms (Moo Goo Gai Pan, 蘑菇雞片)

I found some lovely, fresh Shiitake mushrooms in the grocery market. I could not miss this wonderful treat. There is nothing like the wild, earthy taste of fresh Shiitake mushrooms. Here is my interpretation of the classical "Moo Goo Gai Pan" dish (a direct translation from the phrase "Mushroom Chicken Slices"), popularized by early Chinese restaurants in the USA. I cooked the fresh Shiitake mushrooms along with some fresh Enoki mushrooms. I found that they go very well together. Just mushrooms, no more. I found that many Chinese restaurants add all kinds of vegatables such as snowpeas, carrots, bamboo shoots, green peas, water chestnuts and celeries in making this dish. Doing so, in my opinion, only adds distraction to the true wonderful taste of fresh mushrooms.

Picture of the finished dish:

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Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3

Preparations:

Special feature:

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A package of fresh Shiitake mushrooms, about 1/2 lb.

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Main ingredients: (From top right, clockwise) 2 chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 lb. Garlic, use 5 to 6 cloves. 3 small packages of fresh Enoki mushrooms. 1 package of fresh Shiitake mushrooms, about 1/2 lb.

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Trim fats from chicken breasts. Cut the chicken breasts into thin slices.

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To marinate the chicken meat: Use 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper, 1 to 2 tsp of sesame oil, 2 tsp of oyster sauce, 2 tsp of corn starch, 1 to 2 tsp of light soy sauce, 2 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine, and about 1/4 tsp of salt (or to taste).

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Mix all marinade and chicken slices in a mixing bowl. Set aside for about 30 minutes before cooking.

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Trim and discard the roots of the Enoki mushrooms. Separate the Enoki mushrooms (they cluster together) as much as you can.

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Trim off the stems of the Shiitake mushrooms. Either discard or save for making soups.

Mince the garlic.

Cooking Instructions:

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Use a pan/wok. Set stove at high. Wait until pan is hot. Add 3 tblsp of cooking oil. Velvet the chicken meat in oil until slighly undercooked (pink color has barely disappeared). Remove chicken from pan.

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Add 2 tblsp of cooking oil. Wait until fuming hot. Add minced garlic. Add 1/4 tsp of salt (or to taste). Dash in 2 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine. It may induce a quick flame.

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Add Shiitake and Enoki mushrooms. No need to add broth or water because water will come out from mushrooms during cooking.

Add 3 to 4 tsp of oyster sauce.

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Stir and toss, and cook the mushrooms for about 3 to 4 minutes.

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Return the chicken slices to the pan. Stir-fry another another minute or 2.

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Ready. Transfer to a serving plate.

(Note: The quantity of food made in this recipe is about twice the portion shown in this picture.)

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Ah Leung:

This rendition of one of the oldest NYC Chinese Classics bring back memories. The dish was offered as a A,B, or C with the traditional family services menus in almost every NYC Cantonese Restaurant.

What was special about it to most diners, especially kids was that it was made very simply by:

Velveting large Diagonal slices of Boneless Chicken Breast.

Dry Mushrooms soaked.

Snow Pea Pods

After the Chicken was velveted without any color, the Mushrooms and Snow Peas were quickly sauted, with some Superior Broth added, the Chicken Slices returned to Wok with some mixed in broth corn starch to thicken then served in a Metal Topped Platter.

What seemed so special was that we would enjoy eating the Whole Dutch Peas, Snow Peas or Mangetots as the were called, that almost no one had ever tried anywhere else, with the tender, but familiar slices of Chicken Breast giving some of us enough inspiration to actually try the Mushrooms.

In retrospect it may have been a good choice of a dish the adults knew would keep us kids occupied while they enjoyed the Lobster Cantonese and Shrimps with Lobster Sauce that most of us eyed cautiously until we learned how delicious it tasted.

I have ordered it in other parts of the States but it's never served NYC area style.

Irwin

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