Revisiting an Old Favorite: Moo Shu Pork

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Cooking trends go in cycles. And dishes that go around, eventually come around.

Recently, I’ve been revisiting recipes that I used to make in my 20s, when I lived in New York City. Lemon Chicken was one of them. And last week, I made Moo Shu Pork.

In those days when I made these dishes, everyone was cooking Chinese—not just Asians. People were starting to recognize that Chinese was not a monolithic cuisine and not just about cheap takeout. It was also a time of experimentation for average home cooks who were eager to try international dishes.

In those days, I didn’t mind taking time to cook because I was learning— Canard à l’Orange, paté and soufflés were some of the dishes I learned to cook by following cookbooks.

Today, I’m all about quick cooking, except for special occasions and company dinners. This Moo Shu Pork, in retrospect, is more time-consuming than most Special Fork recipes. However, it breaks down into simple steps. There are many recipes for Moo Shu Pork; this one is not authentic. I used ground pork instead of pork slices to speed up the prep time and flour tortillas instead of making the Chinese pancakes.

Moo Shu Pork
10 dried lily buds (optional)
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound lean ground pork
¼ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce plus additional sauce to add at the table
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
12 flour tortillas (6 inch size), microwaved to warm

  1. Rehydrate and prep the dry ingredients: Put the lily buds in a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Put shiitakes in a medium bowl and add hot water to cover. Set both bowls aside for a half hour. When softened, squeeze out water from lily buds and mushrooms. Trim hard ends of lily buds and discard; cut each lily bud in half, crosswise. Trim stems from mushrooms and discard; slice caps thinly.
  2. Cook the pork: In a large wok or heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until hot; add half the green onions, all the ginger and garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant. Add pork and salt; stir-fry until browned, breaking up pork with a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove pork and set aside.
  3. Scramble the eggs: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan and scramble eggs; remove eggs and set aside.
  4. Cook the vegetables: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan and add mushrooms and lily buds; stir-fry 3 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked. Add cabbage and remaining onion and stir-fry until cabbage is wilted.
  5. Season and combine the elements: Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce and wine to the cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Return pork and eggs to pan and stir gently to heat through.
  6. To serve: Spoon the Moo Shu Pork into a serving bowl. Bring warmed tortillas and a small bowl of hoisin sauce to the table. To eat, spoon Moo Shu Pork onto a tortilla and dribble with a little hoisin sauce. Roll up tortilla to encase filling and eat.
  7. Makes 4 servings, 3 tortillas each.

Note: Dried lily buds are available in Chinese groceries and some Asian markets.

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Posted: Feb 21st by Sandy_Hu