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.
I was intrigued by this month's challenge. We eat lots of Chinese and go to lots of Chinese restaurants and I have never heard of Moo Shu. I don’t think it is a thing in Australia. But I love pancakes of any description, so I was keen to give it a go. In fact on the day I made this I also made pancakes for breakfast - a truly excellent day.
So this challenge had three components – pancakes, filling and sauce. The pancake dough was easy to work with and I found I could roll it very thin, but I was not completely happy with the results. In short, the pancakes were hard. I found they were only pliable enough to wrap after a short zap in the microwave. A minute or so in a steam basket would probably have the same effect. Also the favour was quite bland. Next time I would follow the suggestion of some of the other Daring Cooks and add salt to the dough.
The stir-fry was very simple to prepare, but I had never used wood ear fungus before, so that was fun. It is amazing how much it puffs up when re-hydrated and I loved the unique rubbery texture. I still have most of a bag of dried fungus in the cupboard so I am on the lookout for ideas to use it up.
When it came to the hoisin sauce recipe I was very sceptical. Why would you make your own hoisin sauce, especially with inauthentic Chinese ingredients like peanut butter and honey? But I am a (mostly) obedient Daring Cook, so I gave it a whirl.
The overall effect was a perfectly tasty dinner, but for me it didn't quite have the wow factor of other challenges. I would love to try Moo Shu in a good Chinese restaurant and see how it compares.
Thanks to Shelley and Ruth for introducing me to something new. I especially enjoyed reading about the history and etymology of Moo Shu.