Friday, October 14, 2011

The daring cooks: october challenge: Moo Shu

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.
My second post this friday: Moo Shu. And honostly it wasn't a succes in my family. It looked great, the ingredients looked great on paper (although I never tasted bamboo shoots before) and while eating the taste.... As I wrote before I haven't cooked or eaten bamboo shoots before. The shoots I bought had a particular smell, which we (all of my family) didn't like. And it ruined the recipe, because we couldn't taste it with the right mindset. Maybe it was my can of bamboo shoots, I don't know if this was normal. On the forum of the daring kitchen I've explained what happened and some of my daring colleagues suggested to use carrot or another vegetable. Honoustly I haven't daring to try that one yet, but maybe it's a daring challenge for you????

For the recipe:

Thin Pancakes:
- 4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (193⁄4 oz) all-purpose flour;
- About 11⁄2 cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water;
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil;
- Dry flour for dusting.

Moo Shu Pork:
- 1⁄2 lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt;
- 3⁄4 cup (31⁄2 oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut;
- 3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut;
- 3 large eggs;
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt;
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil;
- 2 scallions;
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce;
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine;
- A few drops sesame oil.

Hoisin sauce
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce;
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste (I used (because of my allergy) cashewnut butter);
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses;
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar;
- 1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) garlic powder;
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil;
- 20 drops (1⁄4 teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce);

- 1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) black pepper.

Thin Pancakes:
 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. 
Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, 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.
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.
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.

Moo Shu pork:
Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. 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. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the 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. 

Hoisin sauce:
Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.
At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.

Final preparation and serving:
Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving. To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the stir-fry is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, similarly to a soft taco. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.


chef_d said...

Your Moo Shu looks great. So Sorry you didn't like the taste of bamboo shoots, I boiled mine before using them to get rid of that smell. Beautiful pictures!

Junglefrog said...

Yes I do think that bamboo shoots take a bit of getting used too. I do always rinse mine thorougly to get the smell out. Your moo shu looks great!

4pure said...

Thank you for you're nice comments. Maybe I'm going to try to boil them, or otherwise I go for the carrot version. We do love carrots.

shelley c. said...

Your Moo Shu certainly looks delicious. I definitely understand about the bamboo shoots. I have tried a couple of different brands, and they do differ a little, but you can absolutely feel free to use something else or omit them all together - that's part of the fun of Moo Shu! Thank you so much for cooking with us this month.

Renata said...

Sorry to hear about your experience with the bamboo shoots. It was my first time eating bamboo shoots and mine were not canned, they came in a vacuum sealed plastic bag. They were preserved though and didn't smell bad at all. Shoots aside, all your components look fantastic and your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for your lovely comment :)

The Garlic Press said...

Your Moo Shu looks great. Canned bamboo shoots do have a pretty strong smell. Like Juneglefrog I also rinsed mine before using them. The smell doesn't go away completely, though.

blepharisma said...

Too bad the taste of the bamboo shoots ruined it for you. Next time will be better - that's the best thing about learning to cook these things for ourselves, since we can make them exactly the way we like! Great job!

Suzler said...

I know what you mean about the bamboo shoots. The smell of mine (from the can) was very strong and quite pronounced in the dish. I noticed it more than anyone else, and I think it might have been because I was the one preparing it and had the smell in my nose already! I quite like it though, so it was okay for me. That's a good idea to try carrot instead. I imagine the taste would be quite different. Your moo shu looks beautiful regardless, and I love the light in your photographs. Great job!

Anonymous said...

You know, I've eaten a lot of bamboo shoots, but the can I used this time smelled a little funny too. Even though I rinsed them, they made the moo shu smell strange the whole time it was cooking, so I was worried it would taste funky. Mine ended up tasting good, though. Sorry you didn't have the same experience.

sawsan@chef in disguise said...

Your pictures are so appetizing and beautiful
I really like the one with the pancakes in the sun
sorry you didn't like the bamboo shoots..I didn't use them and I can tell you the carrot version tastes really good
maybe next time you can try it with carrots and enjoy the dish more

Anonymous said...

Bamboo shoots *do* have a bit of smell to them and if you don't like them from the smell, well, you won't like them in a dish either.}:P Been there, done that myself!

Lovely photos though! It looks great despite the unappetizing bamboo shoots.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear this didn't go down too well. Your photos look gorgeous though!

Don't Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys! said...

Beautiful photos. I get it about the bamboo, I always leave it out and put in the carrots instead. Your moo shu looks wonderful. Live and learn right? Great job!

Lizzy said...

It looks darn tasty! Sorry it wasn't to your liking!

Ruth H. said...

One of the best things about moo shu, at least for me, is that it is so adaptable. I hope that you do give this another try, using vegetables you like, so that you can feel the total enjoyment. I am so glad that you cooked with us this month, and I can't wait to see what you do next!

foodie @ Tasting Spot said...

i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

Lisa said...

Sorry that you didn't like it, but it looks terrific! I'd be more than happy to eat it up! ;)

My name is Andy. said...

Bamboo shoots do have a very peculiar taste that can take getting used to. I'm sorry it ruined your dish for you. It does look great though!

oggi said...

My husband also doesn't like the smell and taste of bamboo so I reserved a portion for him that doesn't have any.

Your moo shu and photos are beautiful.:)

Barbara Bakes said...

That's too bad you didn't care for it. We loved it. Maybe give it a try again without the bamboo shoots. Love the pretty dishes you served it in.