Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and Plum Sauce

First let me start by asking, do you moo shu? I most certainly hope you will after reading this post!

So this is now my 4th post in two weeks.  It still feels odd, and I’m completely exhausted.  No idea how some cook/bake, photograph, write and post I have a new found respect for them; I kiss the ground they walk on.

 Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and a gorgeous, delicious, Plum Sauce!So here’s what happened.  Remember I told you all how sick I was in my last post? Well, I’m 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 that the Daring Cooks challenge was moo shu, one of my favorite Chinese take-out treats, I hadn’t checked the thread.  I was going to skip it once I got sick, but then I saw who was hosting.

Gorrgeous and delicious homemade plum sauce Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum Sauce

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 frying and sauce.

Gorrgeous and delicious homemade plum sauce Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum SauceThere was no way I could miss their challenge.  I’ve known them, especially Shelley, for some time and really, really like them! They’re both enthusiastic, talented, sweet gals, and are a lot alike in so many ways.  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.  Regardless, I found that info pretty cool.  I always got kind of a connected vibe from them.

 Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and a gorgeous, delicious, Plum Sauce!OK, so once I found that out they were hosting, about 30 hours ago, I knew 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, photo editing, and writing the post, which I’m doing this very moment, the 14th, at 9:35 am.

Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum SauceSpread 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 didn’t bother.

So I 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 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 sick sous chef and coxswain of my kitchen.

Fortunately, 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-fries.  Plus, the Wok I own he bought on one of our weekly jaunts to Chinatown when I was a kid, so it was sort of kismet. This is also why I don’t have stir-frying 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, Daddy!

 Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and a gorgeous, delicious, Plum Sauce!Before I continue with the recipe, a quick little yarn about moo shu pancakes.  I learned to make them 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 easily 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, and I thought history may repeat itself ..until this:

Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum Sauce

My first two (well, really 4) moo shu pancakes ended up like this.  Then the planets aligned, and I was back on the moo shu pancake train.

All was right in the world again.

Homemade Mandarin Pancakes for Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum Sauce

I halved the recipe; so in the end we had 8 moo shu aka Mandarin 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. AND, it’s also absolutely delicious! I got the idea from Suz of Serenely Full, but her recipe was metric, and I avoid metrics like the plague.  I searched online and found loads of recipes for it, and after reading through them, 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 may think it needs more savory than sweet, or vice versa, or 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, no.  Here’s how you make scallion brushes to use to brush the gorgeous plum sauce on the pancakes.

 Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and a gorgeous, delicious, Plum Sauce!I loved this moo shu challenge so much, and I’m so glad I managed to knock it out in such a short time. Thanks Shelley and Ruth!   To get the challenge recipes for moo shu pork, hoisin sauce, et al, click HERE.

Now I just have to figure out how to make the Perfect Cashew Chicken.

Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and Plum Sauce

Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes and Plum Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Preparation and cook time above is the total for all three recipes.
Moo Shu and Pancakes adapted from The Chinese Kitchen
Moo Shu Chicken
  • ⅔ cup (1 oz) (30 gm) dried mix of wild mushrooms
  • ½ lb (450 gm) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thinly cut
  • ¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
  • 3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
  • A few drops sesame oil
  • 12 thin pancakes to serve (recipe below)
  • Plum sauce (recipe below)
Mandarin Pancakes *
  • 4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all purpose flour
  • About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • Dry flour for dusting
Plum Sauce **
  • 1¾ 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
  • ½ teaspoon red chili paste, or more if you like it spicy hot
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 whole star anise (optional)
Make the Moo Shu Chicken
  1. Soak the dried wild mushrooms in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
  2. Thinly cut the chicken breasts or thighs, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
  4. Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.
  5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir and fry the shredded/thinly sliced chicken for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the wild mushrooms, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage, carrots and scallions. Stir and fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.
  6. To eat: Using a scallion brush (or any brush or spoon) brush each of your warm pancakes with the plum sauce (directions below) and place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot Moo Shu in the center of the brushed pancake, rolling it into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers. (See Final Preparation and Serving section below for more complete details.)
Make the Mandarin Pancakes
  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.
  3. Divide the dough 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 and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then, on a lightly floured surface, 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.
  4. Since this recipe makes double the amount needed for Moo Shu chicken, wrap remaining cooked panackes in freezer wrap, then place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months,
Make the Plum Sauce
  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.
Final Preparation and Serving
  1. Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving. To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of plum sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the moo shu is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, sort of like a burrito. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.
* You can make the pancakes with Gluten-free flour, if desired. OR, you can wrap the moo shu in your favorite lettuce leaves!
** If you don't want to make the plum sauce, pick up a jar of hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is commonly served with moo shu and pancakes and you can find it most supermarkets or Asian markets.

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, HERETeam 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 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, whom I have partnered with for this promotion.

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59 Responses to Moo Shu Chicken with Mandarin Pancakes and Plum Sauce

  1. Jo says:

    Your plum sauce looks fantastic! I can’t wait for the recipe, I will have to try it myself. I love the smiling moo shu plate too!

  2. Megan says:

    I’m starting to think you’re superwoman. Glad you are feeling better. And this dish looks phenomenal, especially that plum sauce!

  3. Shelley C says:

    I am touched that you participated despite the sickies that are plaguing you. You are wonderful 🙂 And it sounds like your dad is, too! How great that he came and helped. Your (plural!) Moo Shu looks absolutely fantastic. And I’m glad I could rekindle the Moo Shu Pancake craze of yester-year 🙂 I hope you are feeling much better by the time you read the comments. As always, you are amazing and I love that you cooked with us this month!! <3

  4. Suz says:

    It’s funny you mention always getting that connected vibe from Shelley and Ruth. Me too! Though, like you, I had no idea they were related. How funny!

    Coooool, you made plum sauce too. 😀 I’ll have to give your recipe a go. The colour totally did it for me as well. Absolutely beautiful, and your plum swirls are stunning! Actually, the whole plate is a work of art.

    Glad you’re feeling a bit better. I hope the wooziness passes soon. You and your dad make a good team! I dread to think what would happen if I tried something similar with mine. Unless he was cooking steak. He does a mean steak.

  5. What a scrumptious dish! I like everything about it. I am particularly drawn to the plum sauce.



  6. Wow, your Moo Shu looks delicious. I love your food styling and photos!

  7. Anja janssen says:

    Love your last smile picture. The recipe sounds great with the plumsauce.

  8. mybigthirty says:

    Wow, that looks so deliciously inviting.

  9. Linda says:

    You deserve a huge WOW for this one!!!

  10. Glad you are feeling better 🙂 and I do hope you will be perfectly well soon
    I too always felt a connected vibe to Shelley and Ruth even though I am still somewhat new at the daring kitchen but I never knew they were twins! that was cool to know

    As always, you pictues, plating, styling is breathtaking..

  11. Jenni says:

    Plum sauce?! That sounds amazing!! Will there be leftovers if I come over? 🙂 Your pancakes look awesome, too – like, actual pancakes! Mine turned out more like little weird shaped fry bread. Haha. And yay for you Dad! I love cooking with mine! 🙂

  12. Wolf says:

    Your plum sauce is stunning, as well as your photos. I so need to make some myself.}:P

    Your dad maskes a great sous chef, even if you didn’t actually cook anything, lol.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Yum, that plum sauce looks delish, and love the last picture. Impressive that your Dad cooked, how nice of him :). I can’t believe you did all this in one short time great job. xoxox Suz~the other one 🙂

  14. chef_d says:

    Gorgeous plum sauce! And your pancakes are amazing, next time I will try making them that way. Now we know where you got your cooking skills…the stirfry your dad cooked looks so good! Great job, I hope you are much better now 🙂

  15. Glad to hear you’re doing much better and by looking at your photos one could hardly tell you’ve been sick! when did you have time to make all these deliciousness in less than 30 hours? You totally rock girl!

  16. AnnaB says:

    Your moo shu looks amaing, I love the sause! I’ll have to try it.

  17. Renata says:

    Oh, it must have been so much fun to cook with your dad! You both sure make a great team 🙂 The sauce looks so delicious indeed! I made a scallion brush to garnish my Moo Shu, but forgot about it completely, and only found it at the time I was putting the empty (used) plates in the sink :/ Fantastic work on the challenge, and always fun to read post. Great to know you’re feeling better now 🙂

  18. You are amazing! I knew your desserts were incredible, but this savoury dish looks delicious too. Love the look of that plum sauce 🙂

  19. Simone says:

    You’ve done so well and in such short time too! Applause! I mean it could not have been ofcourse that I finally manage to do a challenge and you then end up not, that would have just been impossible.. I totally totally love that plumsauce and I wish I had made something like that instead of the too salty hoisin.
    But double applause for doing this while still feeling sick! Hurray for you! And it looks fabulous too (ofcourse having an extra cook in the kitchen helps..:)) Glad you made it!

  20. andy says:

    Your photos are beautiful! Great job.

  21. Liz says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you recovered in time to make and share these beauties with us! And you made your own plum sauce??? WOW! How I would love this on my dinner table tonight 🙂 Have a great weekend!!

  22. this looks absolutely delicious! i’ve never had this dish, but now it’s definitely on my menu this week! thanks!

  23. Jo Ann says:

    Appreciate your efforts in getting this done. And thanks for the plum sauce recipe. YUUMMMYY! Hope you fully recover soon!

  24. Wow! Your Moo Shu is beautiful! After looking at your pictures, my gf version would never have wrapped as beautifully without falling apart. You are an amazing photographer! Love the colors.

  25. How great that your dad came over and cooked for you. Love the way you styled the Moo Shu. Hope you’re feeling all better soon!

  26. Mokeyshines says:

    Wow! you pulled out this chalenge just in one day?! amazing. Of course, I’d also do that for Shelley and Ruth too – interesting how we get so close to these virtual friends.

    Fantastic job with the challenge. How nice that you and your father could team up on it! The photos are so inviting – I could just reach through the screen adn take a bite!

  27. Makey-Cakey says:

    The colour of your plum sauce is beautiful, and the wrapped pancake cut in too is so neat and precise! Mine tasted good by looked a bit of a dogs dinner in comparison! Brilliant 🙂

  28. Sophie33 says:

    Your plum sauce looks so appetizing & is easy to make too! a real winner! beautiful pictures too, Lisa-Michele!

  29. Wow you made your own plum sauce and pancakes! Bravo to you! 😀 I can see how gorgeous it is-you are being modest! 😉 And I would be exhausted after making this too! 😮

  30. Katrina says:

    Glad you’re on the mend.
    That is what I want for dinner.
    Fabulous as always.

  31. I’ve just discovered your blog… you have awesome, professional looking photos, wow! And I love Moo Shu but have never tried to make it!

  32. these are so awesome! The blog is looking spiffy. Love the photos and everything. 🙂

  33. Oggi says:

    Wow! I love your plating and that plum sauce is divine. I’ve never made it before and will surely make it soon. Thanks for the recipe.

    BTW, I’m sorry for being forgetful (my age is showing, heheh). Thank you so much. The book is fantastic. I’ve made a few of the recipes but haven’t blogged about them yet.:)

  34. Lisa~~ says:

    You and your Dad did a wonderful job and glad that you have your appetite back so that you were able to enjoy what you made. Another fabulous looking post. Hope that you’re back 100% now.

  35. Krista says:

    Girl, you’re amazing. 🙂 Cooking up a storm when you feel so dreadful. It looks fantastic, and bless your Dad for helping you out. 🙂

  36. arimou0 says:

    Yes, blogging is hard work! hehe. I love how this dish looks. It’s always good to bring the flavors of the east to our kitchens 🙂

  37. Mary says:

    Your dad did an awesome job! I can see where you get your talent.
    Great photos, and I must try this with plum sauce next time. Hope you’re feeling 100% again.

  38. Dinavia says:

    I made the plum sauce today for homemade egg rolls. I didn’t have enough plums so I added in one apple, skin on. So delicious and pretty! Can I freeze the leftover? I have about 2 cups left.

    • Lisa says:

      An apple added sounds great! Will have to ty that! Yes, you absolutely can freeze it. Put it in a tupperware (freezer safe) or plastic container, then place the container in a freezer bag 🙂 I’d say 6 months maximum.

  39. Irina says:

    If there were not enough reasons to redo this recipe – at least one of which being it was almost eaten out of the pan – your sauce definitely is one more! Looks just gorgeous and I have to try it while the plums last.

  40. Juliana says:

    Wow Lisa, you are amazing…homemade pancakes, homemade plum sauce…they look amazingly delicious. Love the pictures as always.
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead and thanks for this delicious recipe 🙂

  41. I have to try making moo shu pancakes! This looks like fun, and that sauce looks amazing. What a great challenge.

    Hope you’re feeling back to 100% soon!

  42. FOODESSA says:

    So glad to read that you’re getting heathier by the minute. Yes, how do bloggers post so often? Thank goodness I don’t feel inclined to do the same…things around here would truly fall apart. LOL
    I loved your twist in this challenge and of course the accompanying sense of humour…imagine if you’d be in full health…watch out, that would be dangerous. LOL

    Keep yourself well and take it easier this week ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  43. Jamie says:

    Oh now I get it! Now I see why you are such an amazing cook! Your dad! They always talk about Jewish mothers but you gotta love the Jewish dads! Your pancakes and sauce are gorgeous and yum yum I always loved this… haven’t had it for years. Terrific! I cannot wait for the day that I come and spend a couple weeks at your house; how well I am going to eat! I am glad you are feeling better, babes, but woozy is still not perfect… xoxo sending hugs!

  44. So glad you are feeling better…and better enough to make these yummies! I love the flavour combination…mmmmmmmmmmm

  45. Everything looks amazing! And dads can be awesome for sure,always ready help out their little girls….although mine is useless in the kitchen. The plum sauce looks so beautiful too. I hope you will fell100% soon! Oh I thought of you today while I was shopping when I saw a high quality leather purse shaped, in a classy way,like a baseball lol. I am so behind in my comments.

  46. Jessica says:

    Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever had plum sauce that didn’t come out of a packet. That must be as phenomenal as it looks! Love the way you plated this (especially the smiley!) and that your dad stepped in to help his sick daughter. 🙂 Excellent job! (I didn’t know the hosts were twins…fun!)

  47. I’m glad you are feeling better!! These look absolutely amazing. I love moo shu chicken and have never thought to make it! I will now. That is so sweet of your dad to help 🙂

  48. Cheryl says:

    I made your plum sauce last night and oh my gosh, we wanted to lick the bowl we put it in to dip eggrolls.. clean!! I only made half the recipe, next time i’m making all of it! Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  49. Dan says:

    Well nothing like having daddy help you out. My dad cooks great Chinese food as well. Would love to have that plum sauce…. looks like it would go well with many things. Great photos too!

  50. How lovely, what an exotic chicken dish, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything like it before. Another masterpiece daaaaahling. When are you going to invite me over for dinner alreadY????
    *kisses* HH

  51. That plum sauce looks so luscious, I went and made the recipe! Sooo good! Thank you! (I served it over turkey).

  52. Maggie says:

    I’m bookmarking this as it looks sooooo good.

    I’m a firm believer in NOT posting everyday, but in posting when you have something really worth others time to look at. If folks subscribe/follow in Twitter, FB, RSS, whatever then they know when you’ve put something up and can come on by. The everyday targets can yield a bunch of internet noise that folks get lost in and are left uninspired. (and this post was definately worth my time to look at 🙂

  53. griffinsgrub says:

    Looks great. Amazing plate up job.

  54. Carole says:

    I just love this plum sauce. And your pics are fab. Thanks for adding to the plummy collection. Cheers

  55. Chileanfoodie says:

    I love Mu Shoo chicken. This takes a lot of patience to accomplish and you did a great job. I definitely will attempt to make, but I will require assistance to roll all the pancakes.

    • Lisa says:

      Oh, I had so much fun making the moo shu, marylou, especially the pancakes! The method of oiling two flattened pieces of dough together to get two cooked pancakes at once, is awesome and actually quick and easy! If you do try it, I would love to hear about your experience! 🙂

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