Moo Shu Mushrooms
Joyce Chen put moo shu (or “moo shi,” as she calls it) pork on the menu of her restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., in 1958. The classic version of this Chinese-American restaurant staple combines slivered pork with scrambled egg, wood ear mushrooms and day lilies, stir-fried together, then served with paper-thin Mandarin pancakes and hoisin sauce. For this version, I like to flip the ratio of mushrooms to pork on its head, loading up with an assortment of mushrooms and just a bit of pork. For the fresh mushrooms, I love using a mix of Asian mushrooms like shimeji (beech), shiitake, enoki, oyster and maitake (hen of the woods), aiming for a mix of flavors and textures, but cremini or button mushrooms will also do in a pinch. If you cannot find dried day lily buds, you can substitute canned bamboo shoots in their place; use 4 ounces sliced bamboo shoots and omit the soaking step.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ⅓cup dried Chinese wood ear mushrooms (about 10 grams)
- ¼packed cup dried day lily buds (about 15 grams)
- 1tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1tablespoon light soy sauce or shoyu
- 1teaspoon cornstarch
- ½teaspoon white pepper, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt
- 2ounces pork loin, pork sirloin, chicken breast or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch slivers
- 4tablespoons roasted sesame oil
- 3eggs, thoroughly beaten with a pinch of salt
- 2slices fresh ginger
- ½pound mixed sliced fresh mushrooms, preferably Asian mushrooms such as shimeji, shiitake, enoki, oyster or maitake
- 2scallions, thinly sliced on a sharp bias
- ¼teaspoon MSG (optional)
- Mandarin pancakes or warm flour tortillas
- Hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce
Step 1Rehydrate the dried ingredients for the filling: Place wood ear mushrooms and day lily buds in two separate medium bowls or measuring cups large enough to allow for them to expand about fourfold. Cover with very hot water, and set aside until rehydrated, about 15 minutes. (I use hot tap water, but you could also use water heated on the stovetop or in the microwave.) Drain thoroughly. Remove tough centers from the wood ears, then thinly slice them. Cut day lilies into 2-inch pieces.
Step 2While wood ears and day lilies rehydrate, prepare the pork marinade: Combine 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl, and whisk with a fork to combine. Add pork and stir roughly with fingertips or chopsticks until thoroughly combined, then continue stirring for 10 seconds. Set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Step 3Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, 2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until no lumps remain.
Step 4Cook the eggs: Heat wok over high until lightly smoking. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Pour the beaten eggs into the center and cook without moving for 10 seconds. Continue to cook, breaking up the eggs with a spatula until they are barely set, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer eggs to a large bowl.
Step 5Wipe out wok and return to high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and swirl to coat. Add 1 ginger slice and let sizzle for 5 seconds. Immediately add pork and stir-fry until pork is no longer pink and mostly cooked through, about 1 minute. Discard ginger slice, then transfer pork to bowl with eggs.
Step 6Wipe out wok and return to high heat until lightly smoking. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Add remaining ginger slice and let sizzle for 5 seconds. Immediately add the fresh mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms are lightly browned around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallions, sliced wood ears and day lilies, and stir-fry until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Step 7Add the pork and eggs back to the wok. Stir sauce to combine again, then add it to the wok along with the MSG, if using. Stir-fry everything to combine and season to taste with salt and more white pepper, if desired. Discard ginger. Transfer moo shu mixture to a serving platter and serve immediately with Mandarin pancakes and hoisin sauce.