I am usually terrified when starting the monthly Daring Cooks’ Challenge, but this month I was really excited to jump right in and get started. 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. I love to stir fry, flip pancakes, and experiment with sauces. In addition, I love Chinese food, but I rarely make it myself. This challenge would give me an excuse to enjoy all of this in one meal.
I don’t eat pork, and I wanted to try a vegetarian version of the Moo Shu, so I replaced the pork with portobello mushrooms. The deep earthy taste blended beautifully with the rest of the ingredients.
I was a little nervous about the thin pancakes, because I knew I’d have to figure out a way to make them gluten-free. But substituting one of my favorite gluten-free all-purpose mixes from the Aherns did the trick.
Stir frying in my favorite wok is always a great experience. I’ve learned that cooking is so much more enjoyable when you have the right tools.
It really couldn’t have been easier, unless I had a prep cook to do the chopping. (Sadly, the Husband was out of town.)
Vegetarian Moo Shu:
adapted from Chinese Kitchen
by Deh-Ta Hsiung
- Serves 4
- Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
- Cooking time: 6-8 minutes
- 3 large portobello mushrooms cut in large slices
- 3⁄4 c. bamboo shoots
- 3 c. Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 T olive oil
- 2 scallions, sliced in 1 inch pieces
- 1 T gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine
- A few drops sesame oil
- 12 thin pancakes to serve
1. Thinly cut the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and cabbage.
2. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until they set. Remove and keep to one side.
4. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage, and scallions. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce, and rice wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes.
5. 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 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. Dip in hoisin sauce, and eat with your fingers.
Now for the thin pancakes. The recipe was surprisingly simple, and substituting the gluten-free flour didn’t seem to make a difference at all.
I was a little hungry and didn’t quite care about perfectly round pancakes.
I halved the original recipe to fit the serving size of the Moo Shu.
adapted from Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung
- Makes 12-15 pancakes
- Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes’ standing time
- Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
- 2 c. Ahern’s gluten-free all-purpose flour
- About 3/4 c boiling water
- 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
- Dry flour for dusting
1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water while stirring and add the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If the 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 small balls that would fit in the palm of your hand. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.
3. Press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
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. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
So, where’s the sauce, you ask? After my meal was perfectly plated, and thoroughly savored, I reread the challenge and saw that we were required to make a sauce to compliment the Moo Shu! Thankfully, there were plenty of leftovers with which to try a hoisin sauce. Sadly, no pictures though.
adapted from epicurean.com
- 4 T gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 tsp. peanut butter
- 1 T molasses
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil
- 1⁄4 tsp Chinese style hot sauce
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together by hand. Be patient. At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.
So, what did I think? The Moo Shu filling was delicious. That recipe is definitely a keeper. The thin pancakes worked, but the taste was rather bland. After all, they’re just made from flour and water. I think next time I make Moo Shu, I’ll be wrapping it in a brown rice tortilla. And the hoisin sauce? Rich and yummy.
Thanks for the challenge, Shelley and Ruth! I can definitely say that I never would have made Moo Shu without the support of my Daring Cooks Family!
What’s your favorite Asian-inspired dish?
Have you ever made Moo Shu?