Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moo Shu Pork

I hardly ever make Chinese food, so I had to ask myself why? I thought the answer might lie at the Asian grocery store, so off I went. I felt utterly lost and instantly realized my problem. It's the Chinese characters, they're impossible for my pea brain to comprehend! I can muddle through Spanish or Italian, but that Chinese is Greek to me. So I just shut down and stood there, totally intimidated and frozen. Determined to press on, a mere hour and a half later, I left feeling victorious with my one bag of groceries (probably some kind of record at that store). 

I've always loved moo shu, so that was an easy choice. And I totally planned on making the pancakes from scratch. But while at the store, I came across these pre-made moo shu pancakes and figured I'd better buy a package (merely as a backup in case things didn't go according to plan). And just like you're already thinking...I had them, so I used them. Call me a lame food blogger. It's okay, because like I told myself in the mirror this morning...I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me.

Makes 5-6 servings

12 oz. pork butt, trimmed and thinly sliced across grain
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons Shaoshing rice wine
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 oz. (2/3 cup) dried Chinese black mushrooms (aka black fungus or wood ear mushrooms)
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Asian toasted sesame oil or peanut oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup Asian toasted sesame oil or peanut oil (or combination)
1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated or finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
8 oz. Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 small English cucumber, cut crosswise into 2” lengths, then thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon Asian toasted sesame oil or peanut oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

10-12 moo shu pancakes/shells/wrappers (if it's flat, round and says moo shu, buy it)

1.      In large nonreactive bowl, toss together pork, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice wine, white pepper, and cornstarch. Let marinate 30 minutes.
2.      Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine dried black mushrooms and boiling water to cover. Let stand until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, squeezing out excess liquid, rinse to remove any grit, discard stems, and coarsely chop caps. Set aside.
3.      In small bowl, stir together remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine, oyster sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
4.      In small sauté pan over moderate heat, heat sesame oil until hot but not smoking. Add eggs and scramble until softly set, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.
5.      In wok or heavy large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat sesame oil until hot but not smoking. Add ginger, garlic, half of scallions (reserve remainder for garnish), and pork and stir-fry until pork is cooked through and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add black mushrooms, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and cucumber and stir-fry until vegetables are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and soy sauce/rice wine/oyster sauce mixture and stir-fry until heated through, about 1 minute.
6.      Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with remaining scallions. To serve, divide pork mixture among pancakes and roll up to enclose mixture.

barely adapted from Chef Shirley Cheng
pork with soy sauce, rice wine, white pepper & cornstarch
(I couldn't find pork butt, so I used tenderloin.)
dried wood ear mushrooms
wood ears soaking in hot water
soaked wood ears
soy sauce mixture (set aside for later)
napa cabbage
sliced napa cabbage
sliced English cucumber
grated ginger
cabbage, cucumber, shiitakes and wood ears
scrambling the eggs
sesame oil, pork, garlic, ginger and scallions in the wok
adding the chopped vegetables
mixed and cooked down a little
adding the scrambled eggs and soy sauce mixture
moo shu pork in wok
moo shu pork, garnished with scallions

Turns out there was no reason to be nervous, it came out great!
And not as oily as moo shu from a restaurant. Fresh and yummy.
moo shu pancakes

Brilliant or the loser's way out?
(I think you know which way I'm voting.)
moo shu on a pancake (I warmed the
pancakes a little first to make them softer).

The pancakes are like flour tortillas, only thinner (as a
matter of fact, you could probably use tortillas in a pinch).
folding up the bottom
folding in the sides
folding down the top (it looks a little
awkward because I'm also taking the picture)
It's like a Chinese burrito
. Or maybe burritos are like
Mexican moo shu? I have no idea which came first.

Here is the recipe for the moo shu pancakes that I didn't make (for anyone out there, less lame I am, who wants to try making them). If you make these, let me know how they turned out.


3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
water (1 cup boiling water, 1/2 cup cold)
3 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil or peanut oil

1.      In large bowl, stir together flour and 1 cup boiling water until water is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup cold water and knead until smooth dough forms. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.
2.      On lightly floured work surface, roll dough into long, even cylinder 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Using sharp knife, cut cylinder crosswise into about 30 (3/4- to 1-inch) slices. Using rolling pin, roll each slice out to 3 1/2-inch-diameter circle (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush 1 circle with sesame oil and top with 2nd circle. Repeat with remaining circles to form 15 "sandwiches." Roll each "sandwich" out to 6-inch diameter. (Pancakes can be made ahead up to this point and frozen, layered between parchment or waxed paper, up to 1 month.)
3.      Heat wok or heavy large sauté pan over moderate heat. Brush pan lightly with sesame oil and cook pancake "sandwiches" in batches until lightly golden, about 3 minutes per side, brushing pan with oil between each batch. Transfer each "sandwich" as done to large plate and immediately peel apart 2 halves. Cover with moist towel while cooking remaining pancakes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

from Chef Shirley Cheng

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