BOO Shu Chicken (I had to, it’s almost Halloween) With Plum Sauce and PancakesOctober 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Asian, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Fruit, Lunch, Poultry, Vegetables | 57 Comments
Tags: Cabbage, Carrots, Chicken, garlic, Ginger, Moo-Shu Chicken, Pancakes, Plum sauce, Plums, Soy Sauce
First let me start by saying, this is now my 4th post in two weeks. Still feels odd. I’m completely exhausted. No idea how some cook/bake, photograph, write and post every.single.day. I have a newfound respect for them – I kiss the ground they walk on.
So here’s what happened. Remember I told you all how sick I was in my last post? Well, better now, but still a bit woozy. At least I have my appetite back, though. I want to thank everyone for the ‘feel better’ wishes. SO, during the past month a lot has been going on, and even though I knew what the Daring Cooks challenge was, I hadn’t checked the thread. I was going to skip it once I got sick, but then I saw who was hosting.
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.
There was no way I could miss their challenge. I’ve known them for some time and really like them! They’re both enthusiastic, talented, sweet gals. A lot alike in fact. Now I know why, they’re sisters, but not just sisters, twins! I had no idea..well, I think I had no idea, since my brain has been in a fog on and off the past year or so. Regardless, I found that info pretty cool. I always got kind of a ’connected’ vibe from them.
Ok, so I find out they’re hosting like 30 hours ago. I was going to pull this out no matter what, and I did. I made the pancakes immediately after I found out, the moo shu chicken yesterday afternoon, and the gorgeous plum sauce you see, last night, right before our moo shu dinner. Then, of course, photos..post processing..writing this post, which I’m doing this very moment, the 14th, at 9:35am.
Spread the sesame oil all over each flattened dough ball before you press them together - don’t just drizzle it on like you see in the photo. I was sick and rushing photos, so I actually forgot.
Phew, made it..and it was amazing – BUT, I didn’t completely make the moo shu chicken. You see, I’m still kind of weak and woozy, so I called my Dad yesterday afternoon to pick up the ingredients for the plum sauce ( I got the idea from Suz of Serenely Full..and hers is so beautiful, I had I try it) and moo shu chicken, for me. When he came by with the stuff, I was feeling lethargic and queasy again. WE decided I would chop, dice and measure everything at the table, and he would stand at the stove and cook it as I called out directions. I was the coxswain of my kitchen.
Truth is, I didn’t have to say much because he’s a really good cook and knows what to do..especially when it comes to stir-fry. Plus, the Wok I own he bought on one of our trips to Chinatown when I was a kidlet, so it was sort of kismet. This is why I don’t have stir-fry photos – I wasn’t about to ask him to carry the Wok over, mid-cooking, to my little Lowel Ego Light nook. Look at the beautiful moo shu chicken he turned out. I swear, mine never would have looked that good. Thank you, Dad!
Quick little yarn about moo shu pancakes. I learned to make these when I was in college. My roommate received a Chinese cookbook over the holidays our sophomore year, and it was the first thing I tried. I was obsessed. I think I made them twice a week for a month or so. I loved that it was a quick easy dough that you cut into pieces, then sandwich those pieces together with sesame oil and roll the two together into one big pancake. Into a hot, dry pan, and within minutes, you could pull them apart. Voila, two pancakes in one! Loved the ‘magic’ of it.
I was super annoying.
“You’re making hamburgers? Forget the buns..we’ll wrap them in moo shu pancakes!”
“Lasagna tonight? I’ll bet nobody has ever wrapped lasagna in moo shu pancakes!”
..and so on and so forth. I know everyone was happy when it finally wore off. BUT, here we are again – history may repeat itself..until this..
My first two (well, really 4) pancakes ended up like this. Then the planets aligned, and I was back on moo shu’s good side. All was right in the world again.
I halved the recipe – so in the end we had 8 pancakes. That was more than enough, so no whining today.
Finally, can we talk about the amazing plum sauce you see above? Oh, how I wish I had natural light for photos that really show off how gorgeous it is. It’s absolutely delicious too! Like I mentioned above, I got the idea from Suz, but her recipe was metric..and I avoid metrics like the plague. I searched online..and found loads of recipes for it. I ended up compiling a bunch of those recipes into one, then adding my own tweaks upon cooking and tasting. You should do the same if you end up making this..in fact, I strongly recommend you do. Although I love my take on it, you never know..you may think it needs more savory than sweet, or vice versa, more spice etc. Regardless, you will get that gorgeous shade of magenta.
A friend just asked me if I used scissors on the scallions, like you do with ribbon, to make the curls in my scallion brushes. Ummmm, errr..no. Here’s how you make scallion brushes to use to brush the sauce on the pancake.
Loved this challenge, and I’m so glad I managed to knock it out in such a short time. Thanks Shelley and Ruth! To see all the other moo shu creations by many other Daring Cooks, click on the links to their blogs, HERE. To get the challenge recipes for moo shu pork, hoisin sauce, etc, click HERE.
Thin (Mandarin) Pancakes
Recipe from The Chinese Kitchen
Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes’ standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
4 cups all purpose flour
About 1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting
1.Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.
2.Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.
3.Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
4.Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
Alternate method for preparing the pancakes (the one I used):
Once the dough has rested and been kneaded again, divide it into an even number of small pieces, rolling each into a ball. Working with two balls of dough at a time, dip the bottom of one ball lightly into sesame oil (Lisa Note: I pushed each ball flat, and painted one side of both with sesame oil before pressing together – makes them come apart easier once cooked) and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then roll the doubled pancake layers into 6 to 8 inch circles. In a dry pan, cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking.
Amazingly Gorgeous and Delicious Plum Sauce
1 3/4 to 2 lbs pounds plums
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili paste, or more if you like it spicy hot
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 whole star anise (optional)
1. Split the plums, pit them, then cut each half vertically down the center. Cut each side of each split half into two or three pieces, or just hold split half together and cut into two or three pieces (the most logical choice lol)
2. Place the chopped plums, plus all the rest of the ingredients, in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring. then reduce the heat and simmer until the plums are soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 -20 minutes. Taste as it cooks, add to it, play with it, until the taste is to your liking. Remove star anise, if using.
3. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. If the sauce is too thin for your liking, cook over low heat with a little cornstarch and water (a slurry) until thickened. Too thick, slowly add water until it reaches your desired consistency. Makes about 4 cups.
Note: I used the challenge recipe for my moo shu stir-fry, linked to the challenge recipes above, except I eliminated the wood ear mushrooms and used a mix of wild mushrooms. I also substituted chicken for the pork, and added bean sprouts and shredded carrots.
Until next time, which could be another 3 or 4 days, instead of the usual two weeks, at the rate I’m going!
Update: I just found out, via foodieblogroll, about Team Continuum’s “Team CAN Challenge” event being held October 22, 2011 in NYC. You can register and/or donate, plus find out more about the charity, HERE. Team Continuum is a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping cancer patients and their families minimize the disruptions and difficulties of life so that they can focus solely on crucial and much needed medical care. This is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, having experienced it within my immediate family. This sponsorship is brought to you by Team Continuum who I have partnered with for this promotion