Happy first day of Spring everyone!!!
I told you I liked cabbage in my last post so here I am with another delicious recipe loaded with vegetables and another variety of cabbage - this time, Napa cabbage. Also known as celery cabbage, Napa is a type of Chinese cabbage which originated near the Beijing region of China, and is widely used in Asian cooking.
Mu Shu Pork is made with slow-roasted and shredded pork, an abundance of cabbage, carrot, green onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts and cooked egg, A wrapper is spread with hoisin sauce and the cooked medley is placed over the pancake with more green onion or chives added as a garnish. Roll up and enjoy. It is delicious!
If you think making Mu Shu takes too much shredding, slicing and preparation, do as I did and get most of the prep done the day before. I slow-roasted the pork, sliced and shredded all of the vegetables and made the Mu Shu pancakes on Sunday afternoon so I could put this meal together quickly on Monday night when my daughters came for dinner.
Mu Shu can also be made with chicken but Mu Shu Pork is a much more authentic Chinese preparation. You could use a rotisserie chicken if you need a time-saver. The dark meat would be tastiest in this recipe.
Some people even use flour tortillas as Mu Shu wrappers which is another shortcut and one I used when our girls were in high school and we were all very busy. I though making them from scratch was fun and much tastier - especially with the addition of chives. I had some chives left from my Colcannon Soup in my last post and though this was a great way to use them.
Click here to watch a great video on making Mu Shu Pancakes. The method in the video is very similar to the directions I've posted below.
It won't be too long before the chives in my garden start poking out of the ground as well as the first spring-flowering bulbs. Big smile.
Early spring is also a time of several back-to-back birthdays in our family, including our youngest grandson, me, my husband and our oldest daughter - in that order and all within 4 weeks of each other. Mr. Dane just turned two. We celebrate spring in a big way here :)
Mu Shu Pork with Chive Mu Shu Pancakes
Serves: 4 to 6
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 pound boneless lean pork, slow-roasted and shredded (see note)
4 dried black mushrooms, soaked for 20 minutes and thinly sliced (I used dried Shiitake mushrooms but use wood ear if you can find them)
2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage, hard stem removed
1 carrot, julienned
3 scallions, white and light green parts, slivered
1 cup bean sprouts, drained if using canned sprouts
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar (I omitted)
Hoisin sauce for serving
Notes: The day before, I slow-roasted a small pork shoulder which I had brushed with a Hoisin/Soy mixture (about 1/8 cup each) in my slow cooker for about 5 hours until tender and easy to pull apart. I shredded the meat and refrigerated in a covered bowl until ready to make the Mu Shu. I also sliced and shredded all of the vegetables (including the mushrooms and drained bean sprouts) the day before. I placed them all together in a tea towel and put that inside a plastic bag and refrigerated overnight. I prepared the Mu Shu Pancakes the day before also and when cooled, placed them in a plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator. Before dinner, I wrapped them in foil and into a warm oven for about 10 minutes.
Combine soy sauce, sherry and hoisin sauce in a bowl. Add the pork, toss to coat evenly, cover, refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in enough hot water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain and thinly slice.
Heat a wok or very large skillet over medium/high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and swirl to coat. Pour in the eggs, swirling and tilting the wok to form a thin film. Cook just until the eggs are set and feel dry on top, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter, let cool slightly and cut into strips about 1/4 inch by 1 inch.
Return the wok to high heat, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry to release the aromas, about 1 minute. Add the pork and stirfry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts, and scallions, along with the chicken stock, and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, and sugar, and cook, stirring until sauce boils, about 1 minute. Add egg strips and mix well.
To serve, spread a small amount of hoisin sauce on a warm Mandarin Pancake. Spoon about 1/2 cup mu shu mixture in center of pancake, wrap like a burrito, folding the ends to close, and serve.
Makes 16 pancakes
2 cups sifted flour
Pinch of Salt
1/8 cup finely snipped chives, if desired
3/4 cup boiling water
1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Place flour in a medium bowl and stir in the salt and chives, if using. Make a well in the center. Pour in the boiling water. Use a wooden spoon or chopsticks to mix until a soft dough is formed. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough gently until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a log, 16 inches long. Cut the log crosswise into 1 inch pieces, shape each piece into a ball, then use your hands to flatten each ball into a pancake. Brush the tops of the pancakes lightly with the sesame oil. Then, place one pancake on top of a second pancake, oiled sides together, so that there are 8 pairs. (Keep covered with plastic wrap until ready to roll). With a rolling pin, flatten each pair into a 6 inch circle. (A tortilla press also works well for this.) Cover the pancakes with a damp towel or plastic wrap to rest.
Heat an ungreased, nonstick skillet over medium heat (I sprayed the pan lightly with nonstick spray). Cook the pancakes, one at a time, turning them over as they puff and little bubbles appear on the surface, until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes on each side. As each pancake is finished, remove from the pan and gently separate the halves into 2 pancakes while still hot. Stack cooked pancakes on a plate, covered with a towel, while cooking the remaining pancakes.
Serve pancakes warm with Mu Shu Pork. Pancakes may be prepared up to 1 day in advance, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated. Pancakes may also be frozen. Reheat them by steaming for 5 minutes, or warming them in a 350 degree F oven, wrapped in foil, for 10 minutes.