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
- 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.
- 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.
- Scramble the eggs: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan and scramble eggs; remove eggs and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Makes 4 servings, 3 tortillas each.
Note: Dried lily buds are available in Chinese groceries and some Asian markets.
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