Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mu-Shu Chicken and Shrimp

Mu-shu dish is one of my son's favorite dishes to order in a Chinese restaurant.  The idea of eating a spoonful of stir-fried morsels of meat, egg, and veggies and drizzled with hoisin sauce wrapped in mandarin pancakes, really delights his taste bud.  It's a tasty dish, no doubt about it, and there's some variations on how to include in the dish.

In a more traditional way, the dish is most often comprised of pork, dried daylily flowers or golden needles, and wood ear mushrooms, along with eggs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine and scallions.  The less authentic way would be to omit the dried daylily flowers and wood ear mushrooms but to add some vegetables, for example, cabbage, bell pepper, celery, or snow peas.  

Rice is the traditional way to serve the dish, but here in America, mandarin pancake is served as the medium to eat the dish.  And let's not forget about hoisin sauce which is used to drizzle the dish as it goes in the pancake.

The way I cook it is by combining the best of the two ways.  I grew up eating daylily flowers and wood ear mushrooms, so those two ingredients would be present in the dish.  My family prefers chicken and/or shrimp instead of pork and I'm happy to substitute that.  As with adding vegetables in it, my philosophy is that there's nothing wrong of eating more vegetables in a dish :)  I use whatever is available, in this case, I used green cabbage.

No matter what your preferred protein/vegetable choice to include in the dish, just remember that if you cook it the right way, it'll come out delicious anyway!

Mu-Shu Chicken and Shrimp

Serves 6

½ ounce wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted
1 ounce dried daylily flowers or golden needles, reconstituted
10 to 12 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast
6 ounces raw peeled, deveined, medium-sized shrimp
4 eggs
8 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 large scallions, sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated
1 tablespoon Shaohsing wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil

For the marinade:
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon soy sauce
Pinch of white pepper
1 teaspoon Shaohsing wine
1 teaspoon potato flour--can substitute with cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil

Mandarin pancakes 
Hoisin sauce

To reconstitute wood ear and daylily flowers, soak each thing in a separate bowl with boiling water, enough to cover it, for 20 to 30 minutes.  Drain and squeeze excess water but leave damp.  Split daylily flowers one lengthwise and if it's quite long, cut in half.

Slice the chicken into thin, even-sized rectangular pieces.  Put it into a bowl with the shrimp.

Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, pepper, wine, potato flour or cornstarch, and water to chicken and shrimp.  Let marinate for 20 minutes.  Stir in the oil.

Beat the eggs lightly with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around.  Add wood ear mushrooms and stir for about 30 seconds, lowering the heat if necessary.  Add daylily flowers and continue to stir and turn until very hot.  Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt, the soy sauce and the sugar.  Transfer to a warm dish and set aside.

Wipe the wok and reheat until hot.  Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around.  Pour in the egg, and sliding the wok spatula to the bottom of the wok, fold and turn until the egg forms into lumps.  Transfer to a warm plate and set aside.  Wash and dry the wok.

Reheat the wok over high heat.  Add the remaining oil and swirl it around.  Add the white parts of scallions, stir and let them sizzle for a few seconds.  Add the chicken and shrimp and turn and toss quickly for about 1 minute or until partially cooked and turning opaque.  Splash in the wine around the side of the wok, continuing to stir and turn as it sizzles.  Return all the ingredients to the wok.  Stir and mix for another minute, so that the chicken it thoroughly cooked, the egg firmer and all the ingredients piping hot.  Add the green parts of scallions.  Transfer to a serving dish.  Sprinkle with sesame oil and serve with the pancakes and hoisin sauce.

Source:  adapted from Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook

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