Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mu Shu Chicken

After mentioning mu shu chicken on my blog a couple of days ago, I began craving the stuff and decided I needed to make it. I've never attempted mu shu at home, but it was time to give it a try. Mu shu used to be one of my favorite meals in Chinese restaurants but I had completely forgotten about it until about 2 months ago. I bookmarked a few recipes back then and was ready to make these, but as usual, I forgot about it. This last time I finally remembered and am so glad I did.

Mu shu can be done in a pretty easy way if you have an Asian shop nearby where you can buy the mandarin pancakes (I couldn't find them in a regular grocery store). I decided to go the homemade route and make these pancakes, which are more like an Asian tortilla, from scratch. They're not difficult to make, just time consuming. But ultimately the effort was worth it since this mu shu tasted exactly as I remembered.

When making the filling, you can use all kinds of veggies that go well with an Asian stir fry. I took the flavors from an Emeril Lagasse recipe, but had a variety of veggies that were not listed in the recipe. The bok choy in my grocery store looked pretty sad, so I replaced it with napa cabbage. I couldn't find any bamboo shoots, so I skipped those and threw in some grated carrots. So really, anything goes.

Serves 3 to 4
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 pound chicken thighs, cut into this matchstick strips
2 tablespoons sake (dry vermouth, sherry, or dry white wine should all work too)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
up to 4 tablespoons oil (for frying)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
5 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup bean sprouts
4 ounces mushrooms (I used enoki, but wood ear, chanterelle, or similar all work)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Hoisin sauce (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Mandarin Pancakes (recipe follows)

In a bowl whisk together the sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, corn starch, garlic and ginger. Add the chicken strips and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I left mine overnight).

Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and scramble. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat another 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in your pan over high heat. Drain the marinade from the meat and stir fry the chicken until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

 Add the cabbage, green onions, carrot, bean sprouts, mushrooms, garlic, soy sauce and sugar to your pan. Stir fry until wilted and everything has combined. Add the chicken to the pan and allow to re-heat. Add the eggs to the pan. Mix well and make sure everything is heated. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.

To serve your mu shu chicken, take 1 pancake and spread about 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce inside. Top with filling and roll up. Serve immediately.

Mandarin Pancakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Pour the flour in a medium or large bowl and create a well in the middle. Add the boiling water to the well and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with a damp dish towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Put the sesame oil in a small bowl. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4" thick. Cut out 3" circles from the dough. Using your finger, daub a little bit of oil on the surface of one pancake. Place another pancake on top of it. Using a rolling pin, roll out the 2 pancakes together until they reach about 6" to 7" in diameter. Cover with a damp kitchen towel until ready to cook. Continue cutting out 3" rounds and rolling them out until all the dough is used.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook one pancake (which is really 2 rolled together) at a time until just golden on each side. This takes about 1 to 2 minutes per side. When the pancakes are still warm, peel the 2 pancakes apart. Serve these warm (you can re-heat in the oven or in a steamer if necessary).
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