Moo Shu Pork (木须肉, 木樨肉, 木犀肉) is the transliteration of the three Chinese characters which means Osmanthus (桂花) and meat.
This shredded egg pieces in this cuisine resemble the Osmanthus 桂花, and hence how it gets the name. Moo Shu Pork is originated from Shandong, which is prepared with eggs, pork, wood ear fungus, and also included bamboo shoots. When it starts to get populated at Beijing, chefs find that it is hard to get bamboo shoots, and therefore begins to substitute it with dried lily flowers and cucumbers.
When it starts to introduce to America, The American Chinese find that it is hard to get dried lily buds and wood ear fungus, the cuisine is once again changed by substituting them with cabbage, carrots, scallions and bean sprouts, and sherry instead of Chinese wine. The recipe is also adapted to become the filling of Chinese pancakes. The vegetables are also generally slices into long, thin strips instead of slices.
An unusual combination of ingredients
Imagine the taste of stir-frying pork, egg, wood ear fungus and with carrot and cucumber.
At a glance, it does not seems like a logical combination, especially for a Cantonese like me.
But once I taste it in a restaurant, I am completely convinced by this seems to be a weird combination, and decided to make it at home once I got back from New Zealand.
Again, what an unusual to have the first taste of this typical Shandong cuisine in a Western country 🙂
Therefore, there is no standard recipe for Moo Shu Pork. This recipe is trying to use as many original ingredients that are available in Chinese cooking. Most of the traditional Chinese food ingredients are now be able to obtain from the Asian grocery shop and online. If you are not able to get any of the ingredients in the recipe, feel free to substitute with other ingredients as I mentioned above or omit what is not available.
How to prepare Moo Shu Pork- A step by step guide
1. Marinate the pork
I prefer to use pork loin with a little bit of fat for this recipe. It is smoother compared to lean pork and more tender than pork belly. You may substitute the pork with chicken breast meat to make Moo Shu Chicken. I have made that before which turned out as good as by using pork.
Cut the pork into thin slices, and combine the pork with some cornstarch, egg white, and light soy sauce. Cornstarch and egg white help to smoothen the texture, and soy sauce add additional umani to the pork. Marinate for fifteen minutes should be sufficient as the pork are already cut into thin slices.
How much oil is required to stir-fry the pork?
We usually fry the pork with lots of oil in the restaurant and then pour it into a strainer to remove the excess oil. This method has two advantages:
- Since the pork slices are evenly cooked in the oil.
- The pork slices will not stick to the bottom of the wok due to the excess of oil.
If you do not want to use this method because it consumes too much oil, pan-fry the pork over low heat, either omit the cornstarch or use a non-stick pan to avoid the pork slices from sticking.
If you use the restaurant method, be generous with the amount of oil as the remaining can be used to stir-fry the vegetables and making the omelet.
Here is the steps to be taken
- Add the oil into the wok.
- Add the ginger slices, garlic and scallion. Stir-fry briefly for about fifteen seconds and then add the pork.
- Stir fry the pork until the color has changed Remove the pork.
- Leave the remaining oil in the wok to fry the egg.
2. Make the omelet
Beat two eggs in a bowl and mix with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of wine. The cornstarch would mix with the wine to form a slurry before adding to the egg to avoid forming lumps. You can use water instead of wine, but wine gives a better flavor.
Fry the egg with the remaining from frying the pork as it is very flavorful. Add some extra oil if necessary. This oil has a flavor of pork, scallion, garlic, and ginger. Swirl the egg in the wok to form an open omelet. Cut the egg into large pieces with the wok spatula. Set aside.
3. Prepare the vegetables
Cut the carrot and cucumber into thin slices or fine julienne. I have seen both presentations in different restaurants. It is your personal preference, which will not affect the flavor.
Soak the wood ear fungus and dried lily buds until they are fully hydrated, which takes an hour or two. You can soak it even overnight to ensure that they are well hydrated. If this is the first time you encounter these items, I can assure you that they will not have any problem to soak it for even the whole day!
Remove the stem of the wood ear fungus, and cut it into smaller pieces.
4. A quick five minutes stir-frying
Now let me break down the stir-frying steps in detail.
Stir fry the carrots in the wok with the remaining oil after making the omelet. Add some water if necessary.
Start with cooking the carrot since it takes a longer time to turn soft. I usually add some water little by little into the wok to cook the carrot after half a minute of quick stirring. After that, add the bamboo shoots, soaked wood ear fungus and dried lily buds.
You do not need more oil at this point. Add one or two tablespoons of water from time to time if it becomes too dry. There is already sufficient oil in the pork and omelet.
Add the seasoning (oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper) to the vegetables in the wok. You can omit the dark soy sauce if you want the vegetables to look brighter. Add the cucumber and egg pieces and mix well.
Now it has come to the final part of cooking. Turn up the heat and give it a few quick stirs and flips, to reduce the liquid if it is too wet. Turn off the heat. Add some sesame oil and wine. Mix well and serve.
Some chefs would prefer to add some cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce at the end of cooking. I prefer to leave it out but make it less watery instead.
(A) Marinate the pork
- 200g pork
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 egg white
- 1 tbsp Chinese wine (or sherry)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
(B) The egg
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1tsp of wine
- 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
(C) The vegetables
- 15g wood ear fungus (dry weight)
- 15g dried lily buds (dry weight)
- 60g bamboo shoot
- 100g cucumber
- 80g carrot
- 2tsp oyster sauce
- 2tsp light soy sauce
- 1/4tsp dark soy sauce (optional)
- 1tsp sugar
- 1/4tsp ground white pepper
- (E) Others
- 5 ginger slices
- 1 stalk of scallion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1tsp sesame oil
- Cut the pork into thin slices.
- Marinate the pork with the ingredient in (A) for fifteen minutes or more.
- Stir-fry the ginger slices and scallion with some oil. Add the pork and stir-fry until it is just changing the color and cooked.
- Beaten two eggs in a bowl and mix with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of wine.
- Fry the egg like making an open omelet. Cut the egg into small pieces.
- Cut the carrot and cucumber into thin slices.
- Soak the wood ear fungus and dried lily buds until they are adequately hydrated. Remove the stem of the wood ear fungus, and cut it into smaller pieces if it is too big.
- Stir fry the carrots in the wok. Add some water if necessary. When the carrot slices turn soft, add the bamboo shoots, soaked wood ear fungus and dried lily buds.
- Season with the ingredients in (D). Add the cucumber and egg pieces and give it a few quick stirs and flips.
- Add some sesame oil and wine. Mix well and serve.
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Serving Size:2 servings
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 422 Total Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 274mg Sodium: 1085mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 6g Protein: 35g