Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
The October Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and 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.
I’m totally mad for moo shu and I think that what does it is the inclusion of the awful sounding (but awfully addictively good) tree fungus. Tender pork, spicy ginger and matchsticks of bamboo shoots all solidify the greatness, but it’s the ebony slivers of the tree fungus that make me crazy with delight over this one. I’m known to pitch an actual fit over my chinese takeout if the moo shu order comes with white button mushrooms as a substitute. Blech. Not cool.
Moo Shu pork (the protein most commonly used in Moo Shu dishes) originates in Northern China (commonly attributed to the Shandong province, though sometimes attributed to Beijing), rising in popularity in Chinese restaurants in the West in the 1960’s and 70’s…The history and etymology of the dish are widely disputed, as indicated by Mr. Hsiung’s anecdote above.
There are two primary theories as to the origin of the name. Many, including the author of our challenge recipe, suggest that the Chinese characters, read as mu xi, refer to a tree that blooms with small, fragrant blossoms. They suggest that the scrambled egg in this dish is reminiscent of these blossoms, and thus a variety of egg dishes are referred to as mu xi. An alternative suggestion uses the Chinese characters reading mu xu, roughly translating to wood whiskers or wood shavings. The dish is thus named, it is said, due to the appearance of the shredded vegetables and meat, resembling wooden whiskers, or wooden shavings that were used as packing materials
Whoa! Wood whiskers! Palatable sounding or no, I am all about the fragrant blossoms with this one, from the delicately scrambled egg to the shreds of cabbage. Names won’t ever do this one justice, so forgo the conventions, fire up your wok and go to town on some deliciousness.
Moo Shu Pork with Homemade Pancakes
4 c. of flour
1 1/2 c. of boiling water
1 tsp. of canola oil
Pork and Marinade
1 lb. of pork loin, sliced into thin strips
4 tbs. of soy sauce
3 tbs. of sherry
1 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. of ground white pepper
2 tbs. of cornstarch
3 tbs. of oyster sauce
2 tbs. of sugar
1 tsp. of sesame oil
1 oz. of tree fungus (wood ear mushrooms), reconstituted in boiling water and slivered into matchsticks
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. of sesame oil
1/4 c. of vegetable oil
2 tsp. of minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, white and light green parts slivered into 1 in. matchsticks and green parts chopped
10 oz. of shredded cabbage
1 c. of bamboo shoots, sliced into thin matchsticks
4 tbs. of soy
3 tbs. of black bean paste
1 tbs. of molasses
2 tsp. of rice wine vinegar
1 cl. of garlic, minced
2 tsp. of sesame oil
1/4 tsp. of sambal olek
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
Add the flour to a standing mixer fitted with a dough blade. With the motor running, stream in the boiling water. Add the oil and let mix until a smooth dough forms, about 6-7 minutes. Wrap dough in saran wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the pork with all marinade ingredients and combine well. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While you wait for the pork and the dough, heat a small skillet on medium. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and crack in two eggs. Scramble vigorously with a spatula and then continue to cook until just set and the curds are soft. Set aside.
Take the dough out and flour a cutting board. Cut the dough into four pieces and roll one piece into a skinny log. Cut into 8 even chunks. Roll out one chunk of dough into a 6 inch wide circle, adding more flour if the dough sticks. Roll a second small piece of dough into a 6 inch circle and when finished, brush the surface of one circle with a bit of sesame oil. Stack the other circle on top and roll with the rolling pin to squish the two together. Repeat with the remaining dough, forming sandwiches out of all of the dough.
Heat a dry skillet to medium and brush with a bit of sesame oil. Cook pancakes until blistered on both sides, about 2-3 minutes. Separate the pancake sandwich once cooked and roll loosely. Cover with a towel while you cook the remaining pancakes.
Once all pancakes are cooked, heat a wok on high. Add the 1/4 c. of oil and allow to heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork from its marinade and add to the hot pan. Allow to sear on one side and then toss around the pan to cook almost through. Next add the garlic, ginger and cabbage. Cook until garlic is fragrant and then add the bamboo shoots, white scallion matchsticks, scrambled eggs and tree fungus. Pour marinade over all and cook through. Top with a drizzle of sesame oil and remaining chopped green scallion.
Mix all ingredients for hoisin sauce. Serve pancakes with moo shu pork and drizzle or dip in hoisin sauce.