Wednesday, June 6, 2012

moo goo gai pan, with children

Stir fries are fun.  Is that right?  Stir fries?  As in french fries?  Hm.  That seems really strange to me for some reason.....  Anyway, those things with a meat and veg and some sort of sauce cooked at a high temp in a huge sled of a pan, are fun.  I found this recipe here and made some changes.  Replace sesame oil with expressed peanut oil.  Include coconut oil because I am rather addicted to the stuff these days.  Maple syrup instead of sugar.  I don't know why, it just seemed like a good idea.  And it was, by the way.

This was the first of two unsuccessfully successful food items of the evening.  (The other was pudding with really old marshmallows, but that's for next time)..

Everything was moving along quite swimmingly.  All of a sudden... One baby calls, and then the other, one needs her shoes, the other needs a shirt, oh and right now please, why aren't they sleeping they are supposed to be sleeping, the sauce gets darker, the mini corn starts to get crispy, no not those shoes the other ones, no I don't want pants YES I want pants, the food desperately needs a stir but doesn't get one, everything starts to get sticky, oh no the rice I forgot about the rice, forget about the pants we have no time for pants, get your own shoes, the sauce starts to resemble tar, mama mama mama hold me, mama mama I need a hug,  run downstairs holding 60 pounds of children- correction- 60 pounds of screaming children, laughing children, squealing children, who knew running downstairs in mama's arms would be so much fun, drop one child (gently of course), grab the spoon, give the pan a stir, oh...

And so it is, cooking with children.

The sauce is dark, the sauce is sticky, and the bottom of the pan is getting pretty thick.  But it smells sweet, and tangy, and fresh, and fantastic.  Everything is carmelized, the chicken has such a lovely golden color.  The rice is a bit dry, so I add a drop of water to the pan and replace the lid.

I would have preferred that the sauce wasn't so sticky, or have that hint of a char to it, but no one else seemed to notice.  Every last bit was devoured.  Unsuccessfully successful.

moo goo gai pan

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbs canola oil
1 tbs coconut oil
1 carrot, chopped
handful of snow peas/sugar snap peas (I really don't know the difference- the fat ones)
about 1/4-1/3 cup of baby corn, roughly chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 scallions, chopped

1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs mirin
1 tbs cornstarch

1/4 c. chicken broth
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp expressed peanut oil
1/2 tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp (roughly) ground white pepper
1 tbs mirin
1 tsp cornstarch

In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients until fully incorporated.  Pour over the chicken, give it all a good mix, and set aside.

Heat pan over medium to medium high heat (you don't want the heat as high as a normal stir fry because the coconut oil has a lower smoke point than other oils).  Add the oils and let get hot. When it is nice and hot, add the chicken, and let cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes.  If the sides of the pan start to darken, use the chicken to kind of wipe it clean.  That adds a nice carmel-ly flavor.  Remove the chicken when it is no longer pink.

Add the carrots, peas, and corn, give it a good stir, and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the mushrooms and scallions and cook for a couple of minutes longer.

Return the chicken to the pan, mix well, and pour in the sauce.  Give it a good stir, reduce the heat to medium-medium low, and cover the pan.  Cook for a few more minutes (or several more minutes, depending on the distraction levels at the time), until the sauce has thickened.  Goes extremely well with slightly overcooked, dry rice.


  1. Find your own shoes! Great post about cooking with kids around.

    yum! sounds delish. I grew up with moo goo gai pan running through my veins--will have to try this home version.

    1. Thanks! You'll have to let me know how my moo goo gai pan stands up. I am pretty new to making asian food. My son has a severe sesame allergy, so we can't eat in any asian restaurants. I've only started making asian food at home when my cravings got so strong and couldn't be satisfied any other way...

  2. I made this about a year ago and forgot to comment but it was absolutely delicious! I forwarded the recipe to my mom because it was so good - something I only do it a recipe is an absolute winner. Thanks!