What's for Dinner: Mu Shu Pork

February 29, 2012 12:00 am

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Mu Shu Pork

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There is something inherently fun about eating with your hands. This quick and easy dish comes from my favorite go-to Chinese cookbook, "The Shun Lee Cookbook." The original recipe calls for dried tree ears (a black Chinese fungus) and hard-to-source dried lily buds, neither of which I had on hand. No worries: I substituted sliced fresh mushrooms and julienned carrot.

You can find mu shu pancakes in the freezer section of most Asian markets; I got mine at Lotus Foods in the Strip District. But in a pinch you also could use flour tortillas. I doubled the recipe to satisfy three growing teenagers.

  • 4 ounces fresh ham or boneless pork loin, cut into thin short strips
  • 2 large eggs, plus half a large egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Vegetable or peanut oil for stir-frying
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 10 ounces Napa cabbage, stem only, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup dried tree ears or 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 2 ounces dried lily buds, soaked in hot water until softened
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots, about 2 inches long
  • 3 scallions, green part only, trimmed and minced
  • 8 small mu shu pancakes, also called mandarin pancakes
  • Hoisin sauce for serving

Mix the pork with the egg white, pinch of salt, cornstarch, and 11/2 teaspoons water in a medium bowl until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come 1 inch up the sides of the wok and bring it to 325 degrees. Add the pork and stir gently until it turns light brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a wide wire mesh strainer, transfer the pork into a wire colander and allow to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok, and return wok to high heat.

Beat the whole eggs in a bowl until frothy. Add to wok and scramble eggs until firm but not running, about 15 seconds. Transfer eggs to colander, separate from the pork, to drain.

Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Warm pancakes in a bamboo steamer (about 2 minutes) or in the microwave (1 minute).

While pancakes are warming, return wok to high heat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. Add tree ears, lily buds and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for 20 seconds. If cabbage sweats liquid, tilt wok over a colander and drain. Return pork to the wok and add the scallions and soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. At the last second, return scrambled eggs to the wok and scatter them gently, so they remain yellow, among the pork mixture.

Place pork mixture on a serving platter with pancakes. Serve immediately. Let each guest spread the hoisin sauce on the pancake, add the pork mixture, then roll up to eat.

Serves 4.

-- "The Shun Lee Cookbook: Recipes From a Chinese Restaurant Dynasty" by Michael Tong (William Morrow)

First Published 2012-02-28 23:07:15

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