If you haven’t had Moo Shu before, it’s sort of an Asian taco. A thin, tender pancake, much like a thin tortilla, is fried then rolled around a mixture of meat and veggies, and drizzled with a little hoisin sauce. Time consuming but delicious and very simple to make.
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 was having my kids over for dinner Sunday night, so I decided to jump right in and cook the challenge recipes early in the month. It was a big hit with everyone! I’d never had Moo Shu before so I didn’t make any significant changes to the recipes other than use fresh mushrooms. I was glad my husband was home to help cook – he did all the chopping!
Moo Shu Pancakes:
- 4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all-purpose flour
- About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
- Dry flour for dusting
Moo Shu Pork:
- 2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
- ½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt (I used boneless pork sirloin chops)
- ¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
- 3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 scallions
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
- A few drops sesame oil
- 12 thin pancakes to serve
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste (I used peanut butter)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon (? ml) garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
- 20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin
- 1/8 teaspoon (? ml) black pepper
Moo Shu Pancakes:
- 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. 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. 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 (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
- 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.
Moo Shu Pork:
- Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
- Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
- Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side. 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.
- To serve: place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) 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. (See Final Preparation and Serving section below for more complete details.)
- Notes: - Can use white mushrooms and dried black mushrooms in this recipe, but any variety of mushrooms, either fresh or reconstituted dry. - I did all of my chopping ahead of time and set all of the chopped ingredients aside in separate bowls. The cutting was the longest part of the process. Once I started cooking, it really came together quickly and beautifully. - In a pinch, you can use pre-chopped cabbage, usually sold as a cole slaw blend, as the basis of your Moo Shu. - If the stir fry is ready ahead of time, you can reduce the burner to low and cover the pan until you are ready to serve.
- 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.
Final Preparation and Serving:
- Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving.
- To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the stir-fry is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, similarly to a soft taco. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.
Visit the Daring Kitchen to see the all the great Moo Shu the Daring Cooks cooked up this month. Thanks Shelley and Ruth for a terrific challenge.