24 July 2009

The Elusive Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

If you go to a Chinese restaurant in my area and order moo goo gai pan, you get a dish composed of cabbage, onions, chicken breast, and a light-colored sauce that tastes of chicken broth. Sounds simple to replicate, right? Then why can't I find a recipe for it online? Whenever I search for a moo goo gai pan recipe, it is what you see pictured above -- mushrooms, snow peas, and other veggies. No cabbage in sight.

Anyway, I decided to try making the sauce from one recipe and pour it over stir-fried cabbage and onions to make a side dish for dinner on Tuesday. This turned out to be a lesson in following my instincts in the kitchen. The recipe called for three tablespoons of vinegar. I suspected that the vinegar would overwhelm the flavor of the chicken broth, but I put it in, anyway. As usual, I ignored my instinct and assumed that the recipe writer knew better than I did.

As you've probably guessed, the result was not what I was looking for. It tasted OK, but it wasn't the crunchy-yet-chickeny cabbage dish that I was planning to have with my roast chicken. It tasted like vinegar more than anything else. I cooked it for 10 minutes after adding it to the vegetables per the recipe's instructions, but it didn't mellow the vinegar's tanginess at all.

So I'm putting the call out. If anyone of you can steer me to a decent Asian-style sauce for my cabbage dish, I want to hear about it.
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