¼teaspoonMSG(definitely optional, really gives that extra restaurant flavor)
1teaspooncornstarch(dissolved in 2 teaspoons water)
For the chicken, mix 1 tablespoon of water with the strips of chicken until the water has been completely absorbed by the meat. Add the oil, soy sauce, and cornstarch, and mix until well combined. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Next, wash the mung bean sprouts in a large bowl of cold water, leaving the bean sprouts in the water for two to three minutes so they are rehydrated. This step not only washes the sprouts but also allows them to absorb some of that cold water to regain their freshness and crunch. Transfer them to a colander, setting them over a bowl or the sink to let the excess water drain completely. The root portion of the bean sprout can be a bit stringy and unpleasant, and some folks do pinch it off--but a word of caution that it is a lot of work, so we usually settle for a good couple of rinses in cold water.
Finally, prepare the other ingredients--namely the scallions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cooking this dish quickly is really important, so your bean sprouts don’t turn to mush. If you’re not great adding quick measurements of spices, oils, and sauces, it’s best if you have all of those ingredients prepped and measured in advance, in addition to the fresh ingredients.
Heat your wok on high heat until it just starts to smoke, and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter of the wok. Add the chicken, and use your spatula to spread the meat evenly across the wok. Sear for another 20 seconds (i.e., without mixing the chicken around), stir fry for another 20 seconds, and transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the mushrooms and the white portions of the scallions. Stir fry for 10 seconds, and add the garlic. You should have the wok at the highest heat you can muster at this point!
Next, add the mung bean sprouts and stir fry everything together. Spread the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and give everything another quick stir. Then add the oyster sauce, salt, sesame oil, white pepper, and MSG, if using.
Add the chicken back to the wok, along with any liquid in the bowl, and the green portions of the scallions. Again, the burner should be at maximum heat at this point! A quick trick that Kaitlin learned cooking on a narrow stovetop in college is to hold the wok between two gas burners at max heat, to get as much heat as possible!
Stir-fry for another 10 seconds until everything is well combined, making sure to spread the mixture around the sides of the wok to get that wok hei sear and flavor. There will be some liquid in the wok and when that is bubbling, stir in the cornstarch and water mixture.
Stir fry for another 15 seconds or so, until the mung bean sprouts are just starting to turn transparent. Serve!