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Chinese Stir-fry Cooking Made Easy - Moo Goo Gai Pan and Beef with Peppers

Updated on October 18, 2012

Chinese Stir Fry Cooking

Chinese Stir Fry Cooking
Chinese Stir Fry Cooking
Beef with Peppers
Beef with Peppers
Flank Steak
Flank Steak
Red Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers
Chicken Breasts
Chicken Breasts
Ginger Root
Ginger Root
Button Musmrooms
Button Musmrooms

Chinese Cooking

Cast your vote for Stir-frying Made Easy


Chinese Stir Fry Cooking Made Easy


Many years ago, before I got married, I was constantly searching for food I could quickly prepare after I got home from work. Living alone, I had soon tired of eating fast food or sitting in restaurants by myself waiting for my food to arrive.


On the weekends, I would usually prepare a large pot of something like stew or spaghetti and meatballs which I could then keep in the refrigerator and warm up several times during the week.


What I needed was something that could be made quickly, in a single serving, to fill in the rest of the days and Chinese stir fries fit in perfectly. If you have the necessary ingredients and if you know what you are doing, most stir-fries can be completed in 30-45 minutes from start to finish.


What Do You Need To Get Started?


Surprisingly, you really don’t need very much. You don’t need a wok or special utensils. A large, heavy frying pan and a spatula will work very well. I, myself, prefer a cast iron frying pan because it transfers heat well, it is easy to clean and it will last forever. Any heavy frying pan will work, but be warned that non-stick frying pans will scratch and burn easily. Remember that you will be cooking quickly over high heat with constant stirring.


You will also need some basic ingredients, a few good recipes and any special ingredients that are used in the specific recipe that you select. You don’t need a rice cooker. A one-quart saucepan with a cover will do nicely.


What Basic Ingredients Do You Need?


1. Long Grain White Rice

2. Chinese Black Soy Sauce (not American or Japanese)

3. Oyster Sauce

4. Hoisin Sauce

5. Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar

6. Cornstarch

7. Chicken Broth

8. Corn, Soybean or Peanut Oil for cooking (do not use olive oil)

9. Sesame Seed Oil for seasoning

10. Fresh Ginger Root (not pickled or powdered)

11. Fresh Garlic (not powdered)

12. Fresh Scallions (green onions)

13. A Bottle of Dry Sherry Wine (or use any dry white wine that you have available)

Of course you will also need whatever unique ingredients that are called for in the recipe that you plan to make.


Where Do You Get These Ingredients?


The rice, cornstarch, chicken broth, cooking oil, garlic, scallions and fresh ginger are available in most super markets. For the other ingredients, I recommend that you look for an oriental market in your area. You will find that items are much cheaper there and you will also have a much better selection to choose from.


Later on, when you decide to expand your repertoire beyond the two recipes that I have included, you will need other ingredients that you can only get in a Chinese market. Before you do your weekly shopping, check the recipes that you plan to make to see if you will need other things such as fresh vegetables, flank steak, chicken breasts or fresh mushrooms.


One other note: Many recipes call for a few teaspoons of Chinese rice wine or dry sherry to marinate the meat or seafood in. A bottle of dry sherry will keep for months after opening because it is already oxidized. However, if you don’t stir-fry very often, you can use a little of whatever dry white wine you are currently drinking.


What Basic Steps Are Involved in Stir-Fry Cooking?


1. Measure out, rinse and start cooking the rice. This is the longest step and takes 30-45 minutes from start to finish. However, there will be ample time to complete the other steps once you get the rice started.

2. Slice the meat into thin, bite-sized pieces and toss them in a bowl with cornstarch and or marinade. If you place the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes before you slice it, you will be able to make uniformly, thin slices.

3. Clean and slice the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

4. Chop the garlic and the ginger and place them in a small dish along with scallions cut into bite-sized pieces.

5. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

6. Heat the oil over high heat before you begin. It should smoke just a little. Then follow the steps in the recipe in the order listed.

7. If the recipe calls for sesame seed oil, sprinkle it on at the very end and turn off the heat. It is intended for flavoring only and burns easily.

8. Remember to stir and toss the ingredients with a spatula constantly once you start cooking. If the phone rings, don’t answer it. The entire cooking cycle should take only five minutes.


How Do You Make the Rice?


1. Measure out one cup of rice and place it in the saucepan. Continue to slowly run cold water over the rice until the water runs clear.

2. Then, drain as much of the water off as you can without spilling any and add 1 ¾ cup of cold water. Never add salt. Chinese people prefer to taste the natural, sweet taste of the rice. Besides, the sauce from the stir-fry will season everything. (Depending on which rice you use, you may need to use slightly more or less water in the future

3. Next, heat the pan over high heat until the water starts to boil and then continue cooking over low heat until you see "rice eyes" (small bubbles that appear over the surface of the rice when most of the water is gone). You will know them when you see them.

4. Finally, turn off the heat, place a cover on the pan and leave it sit on the burner while you finish the stir-fry cooking. The rice will continue to absorb moisture and it will remain warm until it is ready to be served.


Now you are ready to make the actual stir fry. Hopefully, you have read the recipe ahead of time and you have all of the necessary ingredients on hand. I have included two of my favorite recipes over the years for you to start with. From time to time I will post additional recipes on this web-site, but feel free to find your own sources.


Once you see how easy it is, I feel certain that you will get hooked on stir-fry cooking just like I did. Please note that I have italicized and underlined any unique ingredients in each of the recipes.


Beef with Peppers

Beef/Marinade Mixture (mix in a bowl and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients)

One pound of flank steak (cut across the grain, 1/8-inch thick and about two inches long)

One tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame seed oil.


Prepared Vegetables (place the ginger, garlic and scallions in a small bowl)

2 Green Bell Peppers (cut them in half, remove the seeds and ribs and cut them lengthwise into ½-inch strips)

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 scallions (cut into 1 ½-inch strips including the green parts)


Sauce Mixture(Mix in a bowl)

2 tablespoons black soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons dry white wine or sherry

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water


Cooking Directions:

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over high heat until it is hot but not smoking.

2. Add the beef mixture and rapidly toss the pieces with a spatula to lightly brown and to separate them.

3. Then remove them to a bowl using the spatula or a slotted spoon leaving as much oil as possible behind.

4. Next add the peppers to the pan and continuously stir-fry them for about a minute before removing them with a slotted spoon and adding them to the beef.

5. Finally, add the ginger, garlic and scallions to the hot pan and stir-fry until the are slightly browned but not burnt.

6. Add back the beef and peppers and toss them for 20 seconds before adding the sauce mixture.

7. Keep stir-frying until the sauce thickens and place in a serving dish along with a bowl of the previously cooked rice.

This dish should serve 2-4 people depending on what you serve with it. When I was cooking for myself, I would cut the recipe in half and eat nothing else with it.


Moo Goo Gai Pan (Button Mushrooms with Chicken Slices)


Chicken/Marinade Mixture (mix in a bowl and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients)

2 whole boned, skinless chicken breasts (trim and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices when partially frozen)

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 egg white

1 teaspoon dry white wine or sherry

¼-teaspoon salt

¼-teaspoon sugar


Prepared Vegetables (place the garlic and scallions in a small bowl)

8 ounces of small fresh mushrooms, washed and cut in half or in thirds depending on their size

1-cup of canned baby corn (not pickled) cut in half lengthwise

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 scallions cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths and then cut in quarters length-wise


Sauce Mixture (Mix in a bowl)

1 tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 teaspoons dry white wine or sherry

½-teaspoon sugar

1 cup clear chicken broth


Cooking Directions:

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the chicken mixture and rapidly toss the pieces with a spatula until they turn white. Then remove them to a bowl using the spatula or a slotted spoon leaving as much oil as possible behind.

2.Add the garlic and scallions and when they start to brown, add the mushrooms and corn and continue stir fying for 1-2 minutes

3. Next swirl in the sauce mixture and bring it to a boil. Pour in 1-tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and continue cooking while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and turns clear.

4. Finally, return the chicken to the pan, add one teaspoon of sesame seed oil, mix thoroughly and serve.


This dish should serve 2-4 people depending on what you serve with it. When I was cooking for myself, I would cut the recipe in half and eat nothing else with it.

After you have prepared these dishes once or twice, you should get the hang of it and you will be ready to try other recipes. There are a number of excellent books available.


Moo Goo Gai Pan Video


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    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      I love Moo Goo Gai Pan, sounds like a good recipe. Will have to keep it in mind. Voted Up

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I'm Filipino and our cuisine is a mix of Spanish and Chinese as well. I like to try what you have shared here. It is very tempting. That will be my next trip to the market.

      Thanks rjsadowski!

      Gastronomically, coffeegginmyrice

    • NightFlower profile image


      8 years ago

      sounds delicious and maybe i should probably start cooking my own chinsese food as well cause it's getting harder for me to trust food in restaurants any more...the reason i don't do buffets anymore at all.

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Maybe you should learn to cook. It is really not that difficult.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      8 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I loved reading this hub. I am not a cook and I don't touch alcohol, but regardless it has whetted my appetite.


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