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Moo Shu Tofu

The October Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood.  They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

Okay, I’m days late with this challenge, but wanted to complete it because 1) I’ve missed a couple of recent ones, and 2) I can’t pass up Asian recipes.  I’m glad I did it because it is SO good!!!

Traditionally moo shu is made with pork, so being vegetarian, I went with a different stir fry recipe than what was provided for the challenge.  Otherwise, I used the hoisin and pancake recipes from Shelley and Ruth!

all by hand....

This is an easy dinner to make, but the prep can be pretty time-consuming.  If you chop the veggies and make the sauce the day before you want to eat it, I would approve of that (it’s what I did)!  The pancakes are a little high-maintenance as most doughy things can be, but aren’t complicated.  

If I were to make moo shu again in Slacker Mode (translation: for just myself), I would probably buy homemade tortillas from the grocery store.  I know they’re not even the same cuisine, but I enjoy both equally!  Whatever you do though, MAKE the sauce. Don’t buy a jar of it.  It was the fastest, easiest, and tastiest part of all!

By the way, I bought my very first bottle of Sriracha thanks to this challenge. Verdict? I have 29 years to make up for its absence.  Wait, small children don’t eat the stuff, do they?  Let’s say…20.

Moo Shu Tofu

Moo Shu Vegetables
adapted from the Washington Post

I just added the mushrooms and tofu (recipe follows).  This was my first time cutting carrots into matchsticks!

4 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh, peeled ginger, minced
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 pound green beans, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 small bell pepper, diced
3 medium mushrooms (I used Cremini), cut into strips
1/2 Napa or Chinese cabbage, shredded
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, and ginger.  In a large bowl, combine the rest of the vegetables.  Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. When hot, add the oil, then the contents of the small bowl.  Stir with a wooden spoon for about 20 seconds.  Dump in the vegetables and stir fry for about 2 minutes.

moo shu veggies

Simple Tofu
I’m not sure which book this is from, but it’s a Moosewood recipe.  Someone had posted it in the moo shu vegetable recipe comments as a suggestion!  If you don’t usually like tofu, give this a try; it has a nice texture and lots of flavor.

extra firm tofu, pressed and drained (I only used half of a package)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 375F.  Cut the tofu into strips and arrange in a baking dish. Mix together the soy sauce, oil, and water, then pour over the tofu.  Bake for 30 minutes.  That’s it!

homemade hoisin!

Hoisin Sauce
from Epicurean.com

I used peanut butter, molasses, and minced garlic (instead of the powder).  If you want to keep things vegan, go the molasses route, too!

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
20 drops (1/4 teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce) – I used Sriracha for this
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Just mix it all up!  I don’t keep any of the ingredients in the fridge, but for some reason I put the sauce in there…

pancaaake

Pancakes
from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung (using Shelley and Ruth’s second alternative method for rolling out/cooking)

(You say pancake, I say Chinese tortilla… )  Half of this recipe would have been plenty, but I guess I wasn’t thinking about how I didn’t need 24 – 30 pancakes. For real.  If you do make the full thing, only roll out and cook as many as you expect to be eaten at that time and store the rest of the dough in a plastic bag in the fridge.

4 cups all purpose flour
about 1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
dry flour for dusting
sesame oil for brushing dough

Sift flour into a large bowl.  While stirring, slowly pour in the water, then add the vegetable oil.  Knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a mass.  Cover bowl with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead for 6 – 8 minutes or until dough is smooth.  Divide into three equal parts and roll each into a long sausage.  Cut each piece into 8 – 10 pieces.  Return all but two of the dough pieces to the bowl and recover with the damp towel while you work.  With a rolling pin, flatten the two dough pieces beside each other.  Lightly brush one with sesame oil, then place the other on top.  Roll the two pieces together until very flat.

Heat a skillet over high heat.  When hot, turn down to low.  Place a pancake on the pan and when bubbles start forming underneath, flip it over.  When both sides have bubbles, remove.  Carefully peel the pancakes apart, but be careful not to burn yourself!  Set on a place and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out while cooking the others.

To serve the moo shu: put the veggies, tofu, and hoisin on a pancake, the fold the ends in and roll up the sides like a burrito.  You’ll want to keep the hoisin (and maybe some hot sauce) handy in case you or anyone else wants more!  You/they will.

Moo Shu Tofu

One of my roommates and my landlady helped me eat some of this last night and they both raved!  I always get a little more nervous cooking as opposed to baking for others, but this helped build up my confidence.

Of course, thanks to Shelley and Ruth for this tasty challenge!  It’s always fun to make things that you probably wouldn’t have made otherwise, and even better when it turns out easier and yummier than imagined.  Here is the link to the challenge recipe write-up, including the original with pork!

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