Mu Shu Pork (木须肉)

Mu Shu Pork(木须肉)

This Chinese restaurant classic takes a bit of extra work to make at home, but it is well-worth the effort. Mu shu pork is a Northern Chinese recipe, possibly originating in Shandong province, that gained popularity in America during the 1960s. The recipe below is a fairly typical modern version of the dish- however, if you wish to give your dish a more authentic, traditional Chinese touch, you can add some dried day lily buds to the stir fry. If you don’t care for pork, you can substitute thinly sliced chicken or flank steak in its place. I recommend using  Kadoya sesame oil, and either Lee Kum Kee or Pearl River Bridge oyster sauce. If your grocery store doesn’t carry some of these brands, seek out an Asian market or shop online (Amazon is a great place to find some ingredients).

For pancake dough:

  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

To cook pancakes:

  • 1 tablespoon Asian toasted-sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil

For pork stir-fry:

  • 1 lb. pork butt, trimmed and thinly sliced across grain
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons  Shaoxing rice wine (dry sherry is an acceptable substitute)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ oz. dried Chinese black mushrooms (also known as black fungus or wood ear mushrooms; about 2/3 cup rehydrated)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian toasted sesame oil
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

To cook pork:

  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
  • 8 oz. Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 8 oz. bamboo shoots, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

Make pancake dough:

In large bowl, stir together flour and 1 cup boiling water until water is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup cold water and knead until a smooth dough forms. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 1 hour.

Prep stir-fry:

In large non-reactive bowl, toss together pork, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice wine, pepper, and cornstarch. Let marinate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine dried black mushrooms and boiling water to cover. Let stand until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, squeezing out excess liquid, rinse to remove any grit, discard stems, and coarsely chop caps. Set aside.

In small bowl, stir together remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine, oyster sauce, and sugar. Set aside.

In small sauté pan over moderate heat, heat sesame oil until hot but not smoking. Add eggs and scramble until softly set, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Cook stir-fry:

In wok or heavy large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat peanut oil until hot but not smoking. Add ginger, garlic, half of scallions (reserve remainder for garnish), and pork and stir-fry until pork is cooked through and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add black mushrooms, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry until vegetables are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and soy sauce-rice wine-oyster sauce mixture and stir-fry until heated through, about 1 minute.

Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with remaining scallions. To serve, divide pork mixture among pancakes and roll up to enclose mixture.

Make pancake dough:

In large bowl, stir together flour and 1 cup boiling water until water is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup cold water and knead until smooth dough forms. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

Cook pancakes:

On lightly floured work surface, roll dough into long, even cylinder 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Using sharp knife, cut cylinder crosswise into about 30 (3/4- to 1-inch) slices. Using rolling pin, roll each slice out to 3 1/2-inch-diameter circle (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush 1 circle with sesame oil and top with 2nd circle. Repeat with remaining circles to form 15 “sandwiches.” Roll each “sandwich” out to 6-inch diameter. (Pancakes can be made ahead up to this point and frozen, layered between parchment or waxed paper, up to 1 month.)

Heat wok or heavy large sauté pan over moderate heat. Brush pan lightly with peanut oil and cook pancake “sandwiches” in batches until lightly golden, about 3 minutes per side, brushing pan with oil between each batch. Transfer each “sandwich” as done to large plate and immediately peel apart 2 halves. Cover with moist towel while cooking remaining pancakes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serves 4