This Chinese Chicken and Mushrooms is so quick and easy to make at home you’ll forget where you put the takeout menu. Delicious, quick and easy!
The chicken is cooked over high heat with mushrooms and green onions, then finished in a wonderful savory Chinese brown gravy. Serve it with fried rice or noodles or with stir-fried veggies for a family dinner that is quick and healthy.
Plus get my tips for the most tender chicken ever just like your favorite takeaway. And how to make an authentic flavored sauce.
I have quite a few takeout style recipes on the blog now, so you probably know everything I am going to say! But for new readers or those over from pinterest (Hiya x), I am going to say them again for you. Feel free to use the jump buttons and skip to the recipe, but I am sharing some top tips up here!
Do you need a wok?
I love cooking with my wok, it always makes me feel efficient and professional. (I don’t like the fact I have to handwash it though!)
BUT you really don’t need a wok to make my takeout style Chinese chicken and mushroom. In fact, because most household hobs don’t have wok burners on them, you’ll find that a large heavy-based skillet or frying pan will do the job better than a wok. This is because you want to use high heat for your stir fry cooking. With a frying pan, the flat base is in full contact with all of the heat source, so it gets really hot. With the shaped bottom of a wok, a small portion of the pan is on the heat source.
Commercial kitchens will have burners that the wok can sit down into, so they get the high heat that way. But for the home cook, a good frying pan can be just as effective, certainly for saucy dishes like this chicken and mushroom.
You can read more about this in my Takeout Style Beef and Broccoli post.
How do Chinese restaurants make chicken so tender?
The Chinese takeaway near you serves the softest and most tender chicken. Am I right?
This is because Chinese restaurants go through a process called velveting chicken. It makes the chicken soft and tender, like velvet. There are a couple of ways to do it, but my favorite way is to use baking soda.
If you sprinkle meat with Baking Soda (also called Bicarb, Bicarbonate of Soda and Sodium Bicarbonate) it will break down the fibers and become so tender. Don’t get it muddled with baking powder, that won’t tenderize your meat.
To do this you sprinkle just a small amount of baking soda over the chicken and then stir to coat. Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before washing it really well to remove the baking soda. Pat the chicken dry before you fry it to ensure it doesn’t sweat as you cook it.
To read about the science behind this process check out my post for Takeout Style Chicken and Snow Pea.
How to make your stir fry take like a takeout one
The key to great tasting stir fry sauces is the authentic ingredients. These add the special something to your dishes. Don’t worry though, these are easy to find in larger grocery stores and are all readily available online or in Asian grocers/supermarkets.
These few ingredients will transform your sauce. If you love Chinese and takeout dishes, then they are worth buying. They will last you several dishes and cannot be beaten for flavor.
Oyster sauce – a thick rich brown sauce that adds so much depth and a good hit of Chinese saltiness. You can buy it in grocery stores across the world now. (Lee Kum Kee Panda brand is my favorite)
Chinese Cooking Wine – Also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find this in most grocery stores in the Asian section. Just don’t get it confused with rice wine vinegar!!! If you can’t find Chinese Cooking Wine, just use dry sherry or sake if you have it.
Top tips for making chicken and mushroom
- Tenderize the chicken in baking soda (see above for detailed pictures)
- Prepare your green onions, mushroom, and garlic before you start cooking. Chinese stir-frying is fast cooking so you need everything prepped before you start.
- For a truly authentic flavor invest in two great Chinese ingredients (you can find them in the grocery store or online). It will make ALL the difference.
- Use cold stock in your sauce to ensure you don’t get lumps.
- Mix the sauce ingredients together before you start cooking, but ensure you whisk it well before you add it to the pan.
- For the best heat use a flat bottom frying pan/skillet (see above for why)
What to serve with Chinese Chicken and Mushroom
The savory Chinese gravy in this chicken and mushroom recipe is so delicious that we often just serve this with plain white rice or egg fried rice. We also love it with Mantou steamed buns and some stir-fried veggies. (my Bok Choy recipe is coming soon!)
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Takeout Style Chinese Chicken and Mushroom
For the stir fry
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 tbsp bicarb of soda – see note 1
- 2½ cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 green onions – see note 2
- 1 tbsp oil
For the sauce
- 3/4 cup cold chicken stock/broth – see note 3
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine – see note 4
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp pepper – white is traditional
- 1 tsp sugar
Start with tenderizing the chicken
- Cut the chicken into thin strips across the grain.
- Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the baking soda, stir gently to coat all of the chicken. Then cover and let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
- Wash off the baking soda and rinse the chicken several times. (See note 5)
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper and set to one side.
Next make the sauce.
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a large measuring cup/jug and stir well. Ensure the broth is cold to stop the cornstarch from clumping.
For the stir fry
- Pour the oil into a heavy-based frying pan and place over high heat.
- Whilst the oil is heating up remove the roots from the green onions and chop them into 2-inch (5cm) length chunks.
- Add the green onions to the oil (be careful it can spit) and stir fry them for 1 minute to flavor the oil.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add in the chopped mushrooms and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the sliced garlic and stir constantly for a minute.
- Give the prepared sauce another stir and then pour it into the pan. The sauce will thicken quickly so stir it to coat your stir fry. (see note 6).
- Serve immediately.
- Baking soda is also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. Don’t get it muddled with baking powder, that won’t tenderise you meat.
- Green onions are also known as scallions in the US. And are known as Spring Onions in the UK and Australia.
- Make sure the broth is cold, this will ensure that the cornstarch/cornflour dissolves fully and doesn’t clump together.
- You can buy Chinese cooking wine in the Asian section of the grocery store, but if you can’t find it then you can use dry sherry. (See bulk of post for more information on Chinese Cooking Wine)
- Make sure you wash the chicken really well to remove any traces of baking soda. It is amazing at tenderizing meat, but has a terrible taste so you want to remove it.
- The sauce thickens quickly to that real thick Chinese takeout style sauce. If you aren’t a fan of the thick coating takeaway style sauces then you can reduce the quantity of cornstarch to 1 1/2 tbsp if you just want a thinner sauce.