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Entries in Asian (2)


Moo-Shu Chicken with Pancakes - Better "Take-Out" "In"



Mark Bittman's Pad Thai recipe  was a game changer, for me, in the whole scheme of it's possible to make a better "take-out" In, than "taking-out" take Out.

So, when I came across the America's Test Kitchen recipe for Moo-Shu Pork I was intrigued. But when I made it I was like "meh," This. Is. Bland.

I'll get right down to what I did to unbland the Moo-Shu. Added grated ginger and garlic at every step. Obvi substituted chicken thighs for pork, and cut the hoisin sauce with lots of fresh lime juice. 

One thing I'll suggest, don't substitute tortillas for the super thin pancakes that the recipe calls for. They're a little fiddly, but SO easy to get the knack of making, and well worth it. They turn out fresh and light, rather than chewy, and rubbery.  


 For the pancakes – will make 12 super thin pancakes

1 ½ cups flour

¾ cup boiling water

Vegetable oil for frying


Mix the flour and water together, in a large bowl, until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out on a floured surface and kneed until smooth, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.


Roll dough into a 12 inch log, cut into 12 one in pieces. With cut side up, press each piece into a 3 inch round. Brush 6 of the rounds with sesame oil, place one plain one on each of an oiled one and roll out to a 7 inch round on a floured surface. Heat ½ teaspoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan, when oil shimmers, wipe almost clean. Cook each pancake about 1 minute on each side. The edges should be crispy and a few brown spots should appear. Let cool slightly and pull apart. Stack moist side up and cover with plastic wrap.


For the chicken marinade

12 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and sliced thin

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon grated garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine


For the vegetables 

2 tablespoon grated garlic

1 oz dried shitake mushrooms

8 oz fresh shitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon rice wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons grated ginger

2 tablespoons grated garlic

2 teaspoons cornstarch

8 oz sliced bamboo shoots

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups shredded green cabbage

6 green onions, sliced, white and light green parts separated


Lime Hoisin sauce to serve


Marinate the chicken with the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, toss to coat, cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water until reconstituted and soft. Drain reserving 1/3 cup of soaking liquid. Add 1 tablespoon rice wine, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons cornstarch to soaking liquid, set aside.

Trim tough stems from mushrooms and thinly slice. Add a little oil to a wok or non stick frying pan, add eggs and scramble lightly, until moist, about 15 seconds. Set aside in a large bowl and mash with fork. Add fresh shitakes to pan, sauté until dark brown in color, add to eggs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in same pan, add whites of green onions, cook until well browned. Increase heat, add chicken and spread out in an even layer. Cook until brown, about 1, toss until cooked through. Add chicken to the egg and mushroom mixture. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in pan, add bamboo shoots, dried mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant and heated through, about 1 minute. Add cabbage, 2 tablespoons of greens from onions, and mushroom soaking liquid. Continue cooking until the cabbage has wilted, but still crunchy. Return chicken and egg mixture to pan, reheat. Top with additional green onions. 

To assemble: spread a little hoisin sauce on a pancake, add filling. Fold bottom of pancake up to filling, fold in sides against filling, then roll up into a package.





Pad Thai - what took me so long?


I was always a little scared of making Pad Thai – never thought I could duplicate that kind of sweet kind of tart sauce especially with the absence of tamarind paste here on the Island (heck I had a bit of a struggle finding thick rice noodles – I mean come on local grocery store peeps! I can overlook tamarind paste but thick rice noodles?  Thank you Fresh Market for coming through on that front). 

Really, when it comes down to it, Pad Thai is just a stir fry with rice noodles, eggs, fish sauce, tamarind paste, red pepper flakes, bean sprouts, cabbage, shredded carrots -always something crunchy, also a combo of shrimp and or chicken, or tofu, then garnished with chopped peanuts, coriander and lime.  Easy right?  Well yes it is.  Especially when you watch the calming influence of Mark Bittman in his Minimalist webcast.  He whips this up in less than five minutes, with the most difficult thing being the shopping. 

But what about the sauce?  Well come to find out if you mix lime juice with a little brown sugar you get something pretty similar to tamarind-ish so my fears have been put to bed. I’ve made this two nights in a row!  The first time with just chicken (Soph, my daughter, doesn’t like tofu).  Then the next time with chicken, shrimp and tofu (Soph had gone back to University - big sd face but still thriled for her). 

So here you have it…Pad Thai.  One tip from Mark – don’t replace the fish sauce with soy if you do you’ll change a Southeast Asian dish to a Chinese stir fry.  Also, Mark’s so right – this is much better and fresher tasting than anything a take out will get you! 



Serves 4-6

1/4-cup fish sauce

1/3-cup honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tablespoons lime juice

1-tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 bunch cup chopped green onions, white and light green parts

1 garlic clove, minced

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ large head of Napa cabbage, shredded

5oz fresh mung bean sprouts

1 cup shredded carrots

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, slicked thinly into 1 inch strips

8oz Pad Thai rice stick noodles (the thicker ones)

Peanut oil for frying

1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime cut into wedges

Whisk honey, vinegar, red pepper flakes, limejuice and sugar together in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 5 minutes until tender not mushy.  Drain and toss with a few tablespoons of peanut oil to prevent from sticking.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium- high heat.  Add garlic and green onions.  Cook for a minute, add eggs and scramble them until slightly under done.  Add cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts continue cooking until cabbage starts to wilt, then add chicken.

When chicken turns opaque add drained noodles and sauce.  Toss to coat, continue cooking until chicken is done and noodles are warmed through.   Squeeze a little limejuice over Pad Thai, then garnish with peanuts and cilantro.  Serve at once.

Adapted from:  The Minimalist – Pad Thai, an Easy Stir-Fry by Mark Bittman