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Friday, October 14, 2011

Do you Moo Shu? (Daring Cooks)

I think I've only had Moo Shu once from a Chinese restaurant.  MAYBE twice.  It's just not a dish that I'm much into.  So when this month's Daring Cooks challenge was announced, I was excited and thought maybe this would convert me...or at least, inspire me to make it more often at home and continue to skip ordering it :)

Are you familiar with what Moo Shu is?  Simply put, it's a stir fry that traditionally contains lots of vegetables and meat (very thinly sliced and/or shredded), and scrambled egg...served with hoisin sauce and rolled up into a flat thin pancake.  What's nice about it is that you can sub just about whatever you like if you're not crazy about an of the typical ingredients.

I really enjoyed this challenge.  To some, it may seem like a bit much, given all of the components, but it is fairly simple and all comes together quite nicely.  I made a few adjustments to the suggested recipe based on my likes and what I had available.  All in all, we really liked it, and now if the mood ever strikes us to have Moo Shu, we know we'll be able to satisfy our craving without picking up the phone.

Here are the original recipes...again, they seem long and tedious, but it's all easy to do!  They are from the cookbook The Chinese Kitchen.

Thin Pancakes:

Makes 24-30 pancakes
4 cups AP flour
About 1½ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting
  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.
  3. Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
  4. Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
Alternate method for preparing the pancakes:
Once the dough has rested and been kneaded again, divide it into an even number of small pieces, rolling each into a ball. Working with two balls of dough at a time, dip the bottom of one ball lightly into sesame oil and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then roll the doubled pancake layers into 6 to 8 inch circles. In a dry pan, cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking.

Moo Shu Pork:
2/3 cup Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
½ lb pork loin or butt
¾ cup bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine
A few drops sesame oil
12 thin pancakes to serve

  1. Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
  2. Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
  4. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.
  5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.
  6. To serve: place about 2 tablespoons of hot Moo Shu in the center of a warm pancake, rolling it into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers. 

Hoisin Sauce (from Epicurian)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
20 drops Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.
At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cookand her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

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At October 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM , Blogger The Garlic Press said...

Your Moo Shu looks great! I agree -- the recipe looks long and complicated but it comes together pretty quickly.

At October 14, 2011 at 11:14 AM , Blogger blepharisma said...

I had never had Moo Shu before, so I wasn't too sure what to expect! I think I'd like to try getting it at a restaurant now, just to compare! Yours look great!

At October 14, 2011 at 1:36 PM , Blogger Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I'm saving this, Melissa! Like you, I've only had moo shu out; when I'm in the mood to spend all day in the kitchen, though, I just might make it at home. I remember it tasted just delicious!

At October 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM , Blogger shelley c. said...

That is what I love about Moo Shu - is that it is so adaptable based on what you have on hand and what you like most! Your Moo Shu looks fantastic. I am so glad you enjoyed the challenge. Thanks for cooking with us this month :)

At October 14, 2011 at 8:41 PM , Anonymous Ruth H. said...

I am so glad that you found the recipe could be made to work for you. Your moo shu looks fabulous, and I am so glad that you had fun learnign with us!!

At October 14, 2011 at 10:53 PM , Blogger Judy said...

Thanks for the recipe. I don't eat a lot of Chinese, but I may just try this.

At October 15, 2011 at 8:41 AM , Anonymous Lisa said...

Your moo shu looks absolutely mouth-watering, definitely an edibility photo - can't stop looking at it :) Beautifully done!

At October 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM , Blogger Suz said...

I love the versatility of the dish too. Your moo shu looks delicious and your pancakes are perfect! Nice job. :)

At October 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM , Blogger Joanne said...

I love finding out how to make take out dishes at home! They always taste way better!

At October 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM , Anonymous foodie @ Tasting Spot said...

i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.


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