Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recipe: Home-style MuShu Pork (or Chicken)

I remember this dish being my sister's favorite chinese take-out food. I also remember it being a bit on the greasy side--you know, that feeling that it's coating your mouth and lips? This recipe is pretty easy to make, and it's a lot healthier than take-out. The only downside is that take-out comes with pancakes. If you can find some at an Asian food store, you'll be set, but tortillas make a decent stand-in, especially if they are Aztec brand (we don't have those here).

Start with cabbage (a great powerhouse veggie!). The recipe calls for six cups, but I just used a quarter of a head, then added two cups shredded carrots for color and variety. Cut the cabbage head through the stem, then again. You'll end up with something like this:Cut the core of the cabbage out, then just thinly slice until you're out of cabbage. Cabbage can get pretty watery, so we're going to salt it to try and help draw some of the water out. Put the sliced cabbage in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes (or however long it takes to get everything else ready).
In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbs. hoisin sauce, 1 Tbs. soy sauce, 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil, and 1 tsp. rice vinegar. The hoisin sauce is what gives this dish its characteristic taste.Unless you're used to doing things on the fly, it's a good idea to have everything ready for stirfry before you start. Things can cook very fast, so let's prep the rest of your veggies. The recipe calls for green onions. If you have those, clean and trim them, thinly slice the white part, and cut the green parts into 2-inch pieces. If you're like me, and you decided to make this on the spur of the moment, you may have onions instead. Just take a medium one (cleaned and peeled), cut it in half from root to top, and slice it thinly. The recipe also calls for shiitake mushrooms, which I didn't have...if you do, clean and stem them, then thinly slice. Put 2 tsps minced ginger (fresh, please), 2 tsp. minced garlic, and 1 tsp vegetable oil in a small bowl. You'll also want to break two eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.
Once your cabbage has salted enough, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and blot it dry with a few more. If you use carrots, you can julienne them (I use my handy julienning tool from pampered chef). If you shred them with a grater, you may want to blot them dry with the cabbage.Okay, I think we're set. Take a large non-stick pan and heat 1 Tbs vegetable oil over medium high heat. It should be shimmering slightly. Add the pork or chicken and cook it till it's lightly browned, about three minutes. Transfer to a plate. If your pieces of meat look big (like mine did), you can shred them or chop them more after you cook them.Add 1 Tbs oil to the pan and once it's shimmering again, add the scallion whites and mushrooms (or just add the onions). Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt (or don't--I don't think I did, but the recipe calls for it), and cook until they are brown and soften, 2-3 minutes. You'll want to stir occasionally so they don't burn. Push the veggies to the sides and add the eggs. Let them sit for a few seconds until set, then break them up. Stir until cooked through, then dump everything on the plate with the pork.Add 1 Tbs oil to the pan (shimmering) and add the scallion greens (if you're using them), cabbage, and carrots (if you're using them). Cook, stirring occasionally, till softened, about two minutes. Push the cabbage to the side and dump the bowl of ginger and garlic into the center. Let it sit for 15-30 seconds (until it smells tasty), then mix it into the cabbage. Adding the ginger and garlic at the end prevents it from getting burned--I make all my stirfry this way, regardless of what the recipe says.Add the hoisin mixture and the pork plate back into the pan, then stir and cook for about 1 minute. This lets the flavors 'meld' together.Put it all together: take a heated tortilla (or pancake if you're lucky) and spread about 1 Tbs. hoisin sauce down the center. Add some of the pork mixture to the tortilla, fold as you like it, and chow down!

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce (essential for getting the right flavor--look in the asian section)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 lb pork or chicken, cut into thin strips (you can also used cooked, shredded pork or chicken, about 2 cups)
1 bunch scallions
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly slice (about 4 cups)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp minced garlic
6-8 pancakes or flour tortillas

1 comment:

  1. Okay couple of things.
    First off, how hard would it be to make your own pancakes, kind of like crepes? Is it hard to replicate the wanton factor?
    Second, my friends in China when they were doing stir-fry would cup the meat kind of when it was frozen. This was mostly because they didn't take it out in time. But, except for freezing their fingers, the results were great because they got a very thin, shaved meat for stir-fry. This fall when I'm cooking more, I'm going to try that.
    Third, could you do a short post about mushrooms? A little about the key kinds, what to look for when buying, how to prepare, etc?