Moo Shu

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.  When I saw this I was a bit worried… I had never even heard of Moo Shu before!!!  But then I read on and thought it was a challenge worth taking!  Here is how our hosts describe Moo Shu: “Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce”.  Sounds yummy, right?  When I read more about the history of this dish I was totally sold… it is really fascinating.  So much so that I thought I would quote some of it from the Daring Cooks’ site: “Moo Shu pork (the protein most commonly used in Moo Shu dishes) originates in Northern China (commonly attributed to the Shandong province, though sometimes attributed to Beijing), rising in popularity in Chinese restaurants in the West in the 1960’s and 70’s. As the dish became more popular, different restaurants adapted the recipe to meet their own styles, or to accommodate for expensive or hard-to find ingredients, so there is a lot of variation among recipes. Common among them, though, is a basis of cabbage and the inclusion of scrambled eggs. […]  The history and etymology of the dish are widely disputed […]. Many […] suggest that the Chinese characters, read as mu xi, refer to a tree that blooms with small, fragrant blossoms. They suggest that the scrambled egg in this dish is reminiscent of these blossoms, and thus a variety of egg dishes are referred to as mu xi. An alternative suggestion uses the Chinese characters reading mu xu, roughly translating to wood whiskers or wood shavings. The dish is thus named, it is said, due to the appearance of the shredded vegetables and meat, resembling wooden whiskers, or wooden shavings that were used as packing materials”.  How cool is that??
Having never eaten it before, I decided to pretty much stick to the recipe and made only minor variations (marked in red).  Probably the only thing I would change next time is the Hoisin sauce.  I did not have any black bean paste, so I used peanut butter as suggested and found the final result tasted too much like peanut butter and was not very similar to the store bought Hoisin sauce I had in my pantry.  It was still good, just not the same.
So… here you have it… MsM’s Moo Shu with steamed pancakes and home-made hoisin sauce.  Enjoy!


Recipes adapted from the Daring Cooks

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) garlic powder – I used 1 teaspoon to get closer in taste to my pantry Hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your Hoisin sauce) – I substituted this with ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a spoon.


Thin Pancakes

Chinese Steamed Pancakes

Ingredients (makes 24-30 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
Dry flour for dusting
Sesame oil – to lightly brush the pancakes (optional – I did not use it)


Sift the flour into the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. Gently pour in the boiling water, and oil and 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 cling wrap and rest for about 30 minutes.

Lightly dust the surface of a benchtop with flour. Knead the dough 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 cling wrap to keep it from drying out.

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 flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin.

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.


Moo Shu Pork

Moo Shu

Ingredients: (for 4 persons)
2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus (‘wood ears’) – I used dried Shiitake mushrooms
½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
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

Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.

Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.

Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.  Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-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.

To serve: spread a small amount of hoisin sauce onto a warm pancake, put 1 or 2 tablespoons of hot Moo Shu on the top and roll the pancake into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out (like a soft taco).

Moo Shu

Eat immediately with your fingers.

Moo Shu

Moo Shu

Moo Shu

Moo Shu

Moo Shu

To see all my fellow Daring Cooks post… click here!

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  1. says

    Between the picture at top and the list of ingredients, this makes me want to just dig right in!

    You have some of the most interesting recipes I’ve seen!

  2. says

    Moo Shu is one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes! I have wondered about its authenticity, since I rarely see it on Chinese menus these days. Thanks for the recipe, now I can make it at home! :)

  3. says

    This looks amazing!!!! I have heard of Moo Shu Pork before but never paid attention since we don’t eat pork. Can it be made with chicken or beef instead?

  4. says

    I am so glad that you enjoyed the challenge and the Moo Shu! Your photos are outstanding and your Moo Shu (all three components) look amazingly delicious. Thank you so much for cooking with us this month!

  5. says

    Welcome back! Hope you had a wonderful vacation. We missed you! :) One of my favorite restaurants here has a Dim Sum for lunch. I ALWAYS get the Moo Shu Pork. I LOVE it! I’ve never made it, but that can always change. I can’t believe you made your own Hoisin sauce! I’ll probably take the easy route there and buy it. :) But the pork and pancakes – definitely doable!

  6. says

    La cucina cinese mi piace tanto, così come l’idea di provare sapori di tutti i paesi, ma in Italia – nei ristoranti – è un po’ troppo standardizzata… con questa ricetta mi è tornata voglia di cinese!!

  7. says

    Welcome back, Manu! You and your family must have enjoyed so much during your trip! We missed you SO MUCH! Tks for your very thoughtful thoughts of having those three great guest posts during your absence. 😉
    I’ve never heard of Moo Shu but it does looks very appetizing and I love your beautiful pics as always! 😀
    I shall try making this in future and I’m sure my girls would have fun rolling their own Moo Shu rolls! :)

  8. says

    Wow, I’m impressed! I would have been overwhelmed by such a task, but you made it seem rather simple. Looks delicious. I love all of the pictures you post as a tutorial.

  9. says

    Manuela, I saw this dish on Foodbuzz and it has completely captivated me. Your step-by-step photo guide takes the preparation from ambitious to attainable. Your Top 9 nod is well deserved…congratulations!

  10. says

    Never heard of this dish but i can say it will taste awsm and will be a perfect meal. The hoisin sauce is something I have to try.. sounds so flavorful!

  11. says

    Manu, I am very impressed with your effort making hoisin sauce since it is so readily available in supermarkets. I am curious to try the taste since you used peanut butter and honey as the traditional hoisin is mainly blackbean and sugar.

    Even the pancakes can be bought at Asian grocers and you’ve done it from scratch. This dish might give even some good chinese restaurants a run for their money!

  12. says

    I absolutely love moo shu! It is the first Chinese dish my husband and I shared together :) I have never even thought to make it at home, but now living where there is NO Chinese take out I think I will have to try it. Yours looks like it came out wonderful!


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