How do you properly describe Mu-Hsu?
I can’t say I would have expected to hear the phrase “Chinese fajitas” come out of my mouth, and yet that was how I described this month’s challenge to J.
Mu-Hsu is basically a stir fry (usually containing pork) wrapped inside a wheat flatbread “pancake”. This month’s Daring Cooks’ challenge asked us to make the stir fry, make the pancakes from scratch, as well as a home made Hoisin sauce. For my take on the challenge, I opted to take my usual route and veggify the recipe. If I had some of my homemade seitan on hand, I probably would have used that. Since I didn’t, I grabbed a package of vegetarian chicken strips – a pretty convenient option.
The “pancakes” were the thing that caused me the most grief. It’s my own fault, really – I’m terrible at rolling things out. Unlike the pancakes that we know, these are made of a dough that is rolled out into circles. Again with the comparison to fajitas – you could compare these to wheat tortillas.
The highlight for me was certainly the Hoisin sauce. I’ve seen a few different ingredient lists, so I’m sure there is no single way to make it. All I know is that I never need to buy any again. It’s so easy to make up a batch, and so delicious. This is totally in line with one of my food stocking goals: to limit the number of condiments I buy, and try to make small batches of things as I need it. The key is keeping the right staple ingredients on hand – and this recipe for Hoisin sauce is made up of some of the most common things in my pantry.
Would I make this again?
Yeah, definitely! The stir-fry and hoisin sauce were really easy to make, and very satisfying. The pancakes were the only things I had trouble with, and were the most time-consuming. In a pinch, I could see using some soft wheat tortilla shells, or even serving this over rice. As much of a hassle as the pancakes were while making them, they really made the dish fun – and more interesting than “just” a stir-fry. I can see myself mixing it up a little, and adding more veggies and things.
… and don’t forget to add a squirt of sriracha, for a little extra spice! I forgot to add this when I first made the Mu-Hsu, but added it to my leftovers. AMAZING!
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.
Adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung
- 2/3 cup dried mushrooms/fungus, preferably ‘wood ears’ (I didn’t have this, so I used dried shiitake.)
- ½ lb of your favourite veggie protein pieces, shredded (tofu, seitan, vegetarian chicken or pork pieces) (I used veggie chicken strips)
- 3½ oz bamboo shoots, thinly cut (if using canned, be sure to rinse and drain well)
- 3 cups Chinese/Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine
- A few drops sesame oil
- 12 thin pancakes, to serve
- Hoisin Sauce, to serve
- Soak the mushroom/fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
- Heat 1 tablespoon 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 veggie protein for about 1 minute or until lightly browned on the outside. Add the mushroom/fungus, bamboo shoots, 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.
- To serve: place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot Mu-Hsu in the center of a warm pancake, top with some Hoisin Sauce, then roll into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers.
Adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung
Makes 24-30 pancakes
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (plus more, for dusting)
- 3/4 cup boiling water (more, as needed)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 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.
- Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 2 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 6 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 circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
- 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.
Modified from this recipe on epicurean.com
- 2 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ground cayenne pepper (or other hot pepper or sauce), to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Start by mixing half of the soy sauce into the peanut butter, to make it a bit thinner and easier to work with. It will look lumpy at first – almost curdled – but keep stirring and it will come together. (I find a small fork works really well for this step).
- Once the peanut butter and soy sauce have come together into a smooth paste, add the remaining soy sauce and mix completely. You should now have a smooth, thick sauce that will easily mix with the remaining ingredients.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the sauce is smooth, and consistent. Taste, and add more cayenne or black pepper as needed.