Mu (or Moo) Shu is a dish of northern Chinese origin and it is believed to have first appeared on the menus of Chinese restaurants in the United States in the 1960s.
In its traditional Chinese version, moo shu pork (木须肉 / mùxūròu) consists of sliced pork tenderloin, cucumber, and scrambled eggs, stir-fried in sesame or peanut oil together with thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms (black fungus) and enokitake mushrooms. One of the first restaurants in Manhattan to serve the dish was Pearl’s, one of the best known New York City Chinese restaurants at the time. A 1967 article in The New York Times states that another of the first restaurateurs to serve the dish in Manhattan was Emily Kwoh, the owner of the Mandarin House, Mandarin East, and Great Shanghai restaurants.
At the time of its introduction, the dish was prepared in a traditional manner, but, as wood ears and daylily buds were scarce, a modified recipe was developed. In this modified recipe, which gradually came to be the norm in North America, green cabbage is an ingredient, along with scrambled eggs, carrots, scallions, and bean sprouts, along with lesser amounts of daylily buds and wood ear mushrooms. The American version is more like the filling for Chinese Spring Rolls. Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, snow pea pods, bell peppers, onions, and celery are sometimes also used, and dry sherry is often substituted for the huangjiu.
Although most commonly made with pork, the same basic dish can be prepared by substituting another meat or seafood. Many Chinese families use chicken but shrimp and beef are less common in home cooking. The dish is served with rice or noodles and soft tofu in China. In America, the dish is served with hoisin sauce and several warm, steamed, thin, white tortilla-like wrappers made of flour, called “Mandarin pancakes”; these are similar to those served with Peking Duck.
Now, here is my version:
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced into ½-inch strips
1 cup sliced green onions (scallions)
4 cups sliced cabbage (½-inch strips)
8 oz can Bamboo shoots, drained
1 cup bean sprouts (mung beans for stir-frying)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Chinese Pancakes, recipe below
Mix together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, add the chicken, and mix to coat. Prepare the vegetables, and grate the ginger and the garlic so everything will be ready when it is time to cook.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, and stir-fry until just cooked through, probably 3 to 4 minutes depending on how thick you cut the chicken. Remove the chicken from pan to a bowl.
Add the celery, ginger, and garlic to the skillet. Saute for one minute.
Add the rest of the vegetables in the following order: mushrooms, green onions, cabbage, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, stir-frying for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition:
Add the soy sauce and the chicken. Toss to combine. Serve with warm Chinese pancakes and hoisin sauce.
Options for the Pancakes:
Use regular, low carb or gluten-free tortillas
Make Crepes – regular, low carb or gluten-free
Or make authentic Chinese Mandarin Pancakes
Mandarin Pancake Ingredients
1½ cups flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon oil
Mix the flour and salt in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water into the flour mixture and use chopsticks or a spatula to mix until a dough ball forms. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for 8 minutes until smooth, adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a dough ball, then flatten them out into a small disc about 2 inches in diameter. Lightly brush all areas of 6 of the discs with oil. Layer the remaining 6 discs over the 6 oiled discs so you have 6 pieces, each composed of 2 discs.
Use a rolling pin to roll the discs into 7-inch circles, turning the pancakes frequently so both of the dough discs are rolled into the same size.
Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-low heat, and place one pancake in the pan. After 30 to 45 seconds, you should see air pockets begin to form between the two pancakes. Flip the pancake; it should be white with just a couple of faint brown patches. Any more than that, and they are overcooked. After another 30 seconds, the air pockets should be large enough to separate the two pancakes. Remove the pancake to a plate, and let it cool for another 30 seconds. Now carefully pull apart the two pancakes at the seams. Place finished pancakes onto a plate and cover with a warm kitchen towel. Repeat until all the pancakes are done.