Daring Cooks October Challenge: Moo Shu Pork

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. 

"Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce.

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. As the dish became more popular, different restaurants adapted the recipe to meet their own styles, or to accommodate for expensive or hard-to find ingredients, so there is a lot of variation among recipes. Common among them, though, is a basis of cabbage and the inclusion of scrambled eggs."

The challenge recipe provided for the Moo Shu filling comes from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung. The pancake recipe comes from the same source, adapted from a variety of online demonstrations. The sauce recipe provided is from epicurian.com.

This is a really great & quick recipe - my pancakes landed in a zipper bag and followed me to work, where they were heated into a microwave oven and eaten with lots of joy. I had some leftovers, which I ate with some rice the day after. 

makes 24-30 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
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.
Alternative: Working two pieces at a time, roll each piece into a three inch pancake. Using a pastry brush, brush sesame oil onto the top of one of the pancakes, and top it with the other pancake. Further roll the doubled pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle and cook as the above method:
Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancake in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Hoisin sauce

  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon (⅔ 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 sauce)
Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon - or you can do as me, put it into a clean jar, close the lid tightly and shake until your arm stars to hurt ;)

Moo Shu Pork
Serves 4

  • 2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
  • ½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
  • 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
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 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 (about 2 tablespoons) 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.

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