Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moo Shu

This month Daring Cooks were making Moo Shu. Before, I had no idea what is that, I didn’t even come accross it at a numerous Chinese restaurants I’ve been. The dish itself resembles some kind of soft taco (here called pancake) filled rather with Chinese ingredients than Mexican and served with hoisin sauce. Personally, I liked pancake recipe for this dish, as I found out that boiling water makes dough very soft, supple, almost “buttery” to touch and easy to work with.
Also it was fun to make hoisin sauce from scratch, though I should say that store-bought one is no way worse than homemade sauce.

Here is the The Daring Kitchen original recipes for pancakes and for pork filling. As I like things simple, or do not have an ingredient on hand, I adapt recipe easily, so in grey are ingredients (and respectively directions) that I didn't use...therefore they are optional!



Thin Pancakes:

Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes' standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

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
  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. With your fingers flatten each piece into a three inch circle. Using a pastry brush or your finger (!), brush sesame oil onto the top of each pancake, then sandwich two of them together. Further roll the doubled pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle.
  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. Cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking - be carefull, it's hot! Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Moo Shu Pork:

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

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 cut3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (or regular cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) 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 (15 ml) 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 (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.

And here are my pictures.
I started with pork preparation. Here are pork pieces, mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil.

 Shredding of a cabbage was a breeze with my all-time-favorite tool, mandolin shredder/slicer. In my cooking, I tried to use different kinds of mandolins including expensive fancy stainless steel, this one made of rock-hard plastic is the best.

That’s a sin to throw food away, so I threw pork fat to the skillet and tortured it on a low heat until they become crunchy. In Ukraine, my granny called it “shkwarkie”.  They keep in a fridge for a long time and eventually I’ll use them to braise some potato or to fry some onion and drizzle it over the homemade pasta.

Just flour, boiling water and a spoon of oil, that’s it. No salt. Soft, pliable dough come out of it.

Dough is ready.

With fingers, I flattened each piece of dough and spread some sesame oil. I’m not huge fan of sesame oil flavor but surprisingly when pancakes were cooked flavor was really subtle.

Two pieces should be rolled out together into thin circle.

The fun part – splitting pancakes into two
Soft, almost see-through single pancake – beautiful.

Now it’s a turn for pork to cook. I wish  I would have smaller quantity, orI should’ve cook it in batches. In that case pork would come out crunchier. Nevertheless, my carnivores have approved it anyway.

Hey meat eaters - pork looks good, isn't it?

Cabbage is briefly stir-fried with eggs. At this point I become tired, or hungry or call it lazy but I had no desire to cook any additional filling at this point.

Building the moo shu.. and sooo  ready to eat it!

Another view – still looking good.

Collateral damage to surroundings may take place.

..and another indication of deliciousness.

…he liked it too!

Blog-checking lines: 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.