This simplified version of the classic moo shu recipe utilizes shredded cooked chicken and pre-shredded cabbage. Served in lettuce wraps, it makes a wonderful lunch.
The first time I made this recipe, it was because I had some leftover baked chicken breast and pre-shredded coleslaw mix that I wanted to use up. I wanted an Asian-style recipe that would utilize those ingredients, and I came across the idea of preparing moo shu.
It was so good, the flavor combination so unique, that I have made it many times since. It's one of those recipes that everyone likes, and it's also very easy to make. Even the leftovers are excellent!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make moo shu chicken. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
For the sauce: Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, and just a bit of cornstarch.
Oil: I like to use avocado oil.
Shredded cabbage: To make life easy I use pre-shredded bagged cabbage. But it's not difficult to shred it yourself.
Aromatics: Minced garlic and ginger. You can mince them yourself, but it's absolutely fine to use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Shredded cooked chicken: I usually use shredded chicken breasts. You can also use rotisserie chicken - just make sure to remove the skin. Its texture won't work in this recipe.
For garnish: Thinly sliced scallions.
How to make moo shu chicken? It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by whisking together the sauce ingredients.
Stir-fry the cabbage, garlic, and ginger. Then add the shredded chicken.
Now, reduce the heat, and stir in the scallions and the sauce (give the sauce an extra mix before stirring it into the dish).
That's it! As is the case with most stir-fry recipes, the cooking itself is very quick. It's the prep that takes most of the time. And when using precooked chicken and pre-shredded cabbage, even the prep is quick and easy.
I like to serve this tasty stir-fry in lettuce cups. It's delicious and very pretty, and it's a better choice than the traditional pancakes used to serve this dish.
Frequently asked questions
Moo shu pork is a dish of northern Chinese origin. It consists of sliced pork tenderloin, cucumber, and scrambled eggs, stir-fried in peanut oil together with mushrooms. The dish is seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and rice cooking wine.
As you can see in the recipe card below, my own recipe departs from tradition quite a bit. But it's delicious nonetheless.
I don't worry about the cornstarch because I only use 1 teaspoon which is then divided between four servings. But if you'd like, you can experiment with other thickeners, such as konjac flour (follow the conversion suggestions on the package) or even coconut flour (try 1 tablespoon). I haven't tried these options myself, though.
Yes. I do like pork, but I almost always make moo shu chicken because, as mentioned above, I cook a lot of baked chicken breasts, so I often have leftovers that I want to use up. If you'd like to use this recipe with pork, try using cooked and shredded (or thinly sliced) pork tenderloin instead of chicken.
The traditional recipe is served with little savory pancakes. Instead of those, I use cabbage or lettuce wraps. Another option is to serve this dish on a bed of cauliflower rice, to soak up the yummy sauce. And of course, you can simply serve it in pretty bowls!
Storing the leftovers
Leftover chicken should keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. But if you've used pre-cooked chicken that had already spent a day or two in the fridge, you should keep that in mind when counting those 3-4 days. To reheat the leftovers without over-drying the chicken, it's best to heat them covered, and use the microwave on a low setting.
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Moo Shu Chicken in Lettuce Wraps
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the chicken:
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage (I use a 12-oz bag of coleslaw mix)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
- 3 cups cooked chicken breasts shredded (15 oz, from 2 large chicken breasts)
- ½ cup sliced green onions (1 oz)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha, and cornstarch.
- Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage is tender-crisp, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the shredded chicken and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Give the sauce another mix, then stir in the green onions and the sauce. Cook, stirring, until the chicken and cabbage are well-coated in the sauce, about 1 more minute. Serve immediately.