Chinese food has always been something we’ve enjoyed, but since cleaning up our habits, it has been harder to justify the questionable ingredients from the local take-out restaurant. We’ve tackled a version of fried rice in the past, but have not really ventured much into making main entrees.

Doing a little research, it was enjoyable to learn about this dish; the name (Cantonese) is based on its ingredients: moo goo (mushrooms) gai (chicken) pan (sliced). We enjoy all of these things, and it was a lot of fun putting this together. The added bonus was making homemade oyster sauce. If you can find a clean oyster sauce without corn starch and loads of sugar, let us know, because that would greatly ease the process.

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs), sliced
1 C fresh straw mushrooms
1/2 C woodear mushrooms
1/2 C bamboo shoots
2 Tbsp ginger, minced or grated
2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp rice wine
2 Tbsp oyster sauce (see below)
2 tsp tapioca starch

1/2 C chicken broth (plus 2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
4 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp tapioca starch

Moo Goo Gai Pan

oyster sauce
1/2 lb fresh oysters in liquid
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp blackstrap molasses

Mince oysters and retain liquid with water. Bring this to boil in a small saucepan and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt, mix well and allow to cool completely.

Press through a sieve or cheese cloth into a measuring cup (should yield about 1/2 C liquid). Add coconut amines and blackstrap molasses. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 7 minutes to reduce about 1/3rd.


Moo Goo Gai Pan

Debone and skin your chicken thighs (if necessary) and cut into 1/2 inch strips, and then cut in half. Place in marinade (adding tapioca starch last mixed in with your fingers) and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

While the chicken marinades, prepare the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and ginger. Prepare the sauce and whisk in tapioca starch and set aside.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil in wok or skillet over medium high heat, and then sauté chicken until it appears cooked on all sides. Set aside.

Sauté woodear mushrooms with 2 Tbsp chicken broth. Cook until broth evaporates.

Add additional oil and cook ginger until fragrant (approximately 2 minutes). Add in other mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Sauté 2 minutes.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Push vegetables to the side, and add in sauce, stirring quickly to thicken.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Once thickened, return chicken to the wok, and mix vigorously. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Serve alone, or with a fried rice. You will enjoy this adventure into moo goo gai pan and homemade paleo Chinese cuisine.


  1. This looks awesome. So much of Chinese food at local restaurants is sugary and starchy — it’s a cuisine I’ve been missing. I’ll add this to my list of SOON to-do’s. (I suspect, to answer kathleen, that the oyster sauce would freeze up nicely between uses.)


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