I guess years of growing up in a little, developing, suburban city has fostered my yearning for – dare I say it – restaurant chains. You know, the Cheesecake Factories, Olive Gardens, Red Robins, Chili’s….it’s a palate you acquire only from spending your adolescent years in malls pretending to be really cool with your Starbucks, and it’s one that’s hard to shake off sometimes even in your adult years.
Panda Express….oh how I love and hate thee. And because I am Asian, I feel the extra shame as I croak “fried rice with orange chicken and broccoli beef, please”, and then I pull my cap down a little lower, clutch onto my styrofoam box and shadily pass my credit card to the cashier. Now with my very own kitchen and a lot more time to cook and a lot less time studying, I come with a few, very easy mock Panda Express recipes I’d love to share.
My theory is almost all of Panda Express’s food derives from a very basic stir fry recipe, and then they just throw some variety of ingredients into it. The basic sauce recipe usually entails garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch and sugar, and the mushroom chicken dish is a prime example of this. I tend to frequently have mushroom and zucchini on hand, too, so this makes for the perfect quick weekday fix. Your welcome.
Panda Express Mock Mushroom Chicken
Prep Time: 15 min / Total time: 40-45 min
- 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Orange juice (sugar may be substituted)
- 1/2 tsp + 3 Tbsp Corn starch
- 1/2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Sesame oil + more for cooking
- 1 1/2 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cubed into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 zucchini, sliced
- 6-8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ~1/2 inch ginger (10-12 grams), minced
- 2 tsp crushed red chili flakes (optional)
- Roasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
1. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, orange juice/sugar, 1/2 tsp corn starch, white vinegar and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, toss cubed chicken with 3 Tbsp of corn starch until well coated.
3. Heat a generous mix of olive oil and sesame oil in a pan on med-heat. Add chicken and cook until chicken is well browned on both sides, about 10 mins.
4. Remove chicken and place on paper towel to drain. Set aside.
5. Heat a generous mix of olive oil and sesame oil again on med-high heat. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook for 2-3 min.
6. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook for another 2-3 min.
7. Stir chicken back into pan, than add your sauce mix. Stir to coat all ingredients. Add salt/sugar to taste, or extra corn starch to thicken sauce if necessary.
8. Stir in crushed red chili flakes if desired and remove from heat.
9. Serve with rice and garnish with roasted sesame seeds.