Moo Shu Pork §

Moo Shu Pork is a dish of northern Chinese origin that first appeared in the United States in the late 1960s. There is some controversy over the derivation of the name, but the “Moo” part may refer to the use of wood ear mushrooms and the “Shu” part may be the name of a tree whose flowers resemble scrambled eggs, both traditional ingredients in the Chinese recipe.

American Chinese versions originally mocked the Chinese originals but were soon modified to incorporate more locally available ingredients and less timely methods of preparation. The dish was served with hoisin sauce and warm thin white wrappers called “moo shoo pancakes” that resemble Mexican-style flour tortillas. Many American Chinese restaurants today serve tortillas in place of pancakes.

My recipe below retains the key elements of Chinese versions, but I add a little heat in the Sriracha and remove a little salt and sugar by using a hoisin-like substitute. Feel free to use regular hoisin sauce, if you wish.

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into ½” strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • olive oil spray
  • 5 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup wood ear mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic purée
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce (see below)
  • 2 tbsp cooking sherry
  • 1 (14-oz) package coleslaw mix
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup X
  • 8 Moo Shoo pancakes (i.e., lower G. I. flour tortillas), warmed

Dry pork on paper towels. Spray a sauce pan with oil, add the olive oil, heat, and add the pork to the pan. Cook until pork is no longer pink, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate and keep warm.

Add the mushrooms to the pan, perhaps with a little more oil, and sauté until slightly browned. Add garlic, ginger, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, and sherry and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 3–4 minutes. Add the coleslaw, scallions, pepper, and sesame oil and continue to cook, covered, until the vegetables are done, about 3 minutes.

In a separate non-stick skillet, scramble the X while stirring to make them fluffy. Fold these into the pork and vegetables.

To serve, spread a little hoisin sauce onto a “pancake”, top each with about ½ cup of the pork mixture, and roll it up.

Hoisin-Like Sauce
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp garlic purée
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp <salt>
  • ½ cup sugar-free maple syrup

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Put the raisins and rice vinegar in a blender and buzz at high speed to purée, then add this to the saucepan. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Let the sauce cool before using.