Don’t you just love recipes that get ready in 15-20 minutes, taste like gourmet meals and feed the whole family! Vegetable Moo Shu is one such life saver for me. Most Chinese stir fry dishes are quick preparations but Moo Shu is not just convenient, it’s a very comforting and wholesome meal in one pot.
This delicious recipe from Northern China is prepared as a stir fried mix of meat, eggs, cucumber, wood ear mushrooms and day lily buds, flavoured with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar. In the modified version outside China, where wood ear mushrooms and day lily buds are not easily available, other ingredients are included instead, like cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms and mung bean sprouts. Hoisin sauce becomes the main flavour enhancer in such versions.
Hoisin sauce is a sweet, salty and sour sauce, kind of like western BBQ sauce or Japanese Teriyaki. It’s very easy to whip up a good hoisin sauce at home by mixing together soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, vinegar, garlic powder and Chinese hot sauce. If refrigerated in a clean airtight jar, it stays good for almost a month.
In China Moo Shu is served with rice, noodles or soft tofu. In the American Chinese style restaurants it is served over thin pancakes. My version of vegetable moo Shu is with a little gravy made with shiitake mushroom stock. It’s very comforting, flavourful and light when served over a steaming bowl of rice or egg noodles. From breakfast to dinner, we enjoy eating Vegetable Moo Shu any time of the day!
-For a complete vegan moo Shu, replace eggs with tofu.
-discard mushroom stems because they are too chewy to eat.
-always save the mushroom soaking water (stock). It adds a lot of flavour and depth to soups and stews.
-you can add almost any of your favourite vegetables to the stir fry mix. I used up everything in the vegetable drawer to make this recipe while cleaning the refrigerator.
-prep the ingredients beforehand but cook Vegetable Moo Shu right before you need to serve.
2 tablespoons sesame, peanut or sunflower oil
6 shiitake mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 bell peppers
1/2 head cabbage
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 table spoons vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
This Is What You Do:
Soak mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes or till you prep other ingredients.
Prepare all vegetables. Peel and cut carrots in thin strips or slanted pieces.
Cut bell peppers and cucumber in thin strips. Finely shred cabbage.
Crush and chop garlic. Grate ginger.
Beat eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cut mushrooms in thin strips, discard the tough stem parts. Reserve the water you soaked them in.
Arrange all ingredients near the stove.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or nonstick frying pan. Add beaten eggs, allow them to cook till just set. Scramble roughly into big chunks and flip to cook the other side. Remove in a plate and set aside.
Add 1 more tablespoon oil to the same pan. Add ginger and garlic. Sauté on medium heat for a few seconds.
Add the carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, cabbage and cucumber. Pour in a splash of reserved water from mushrooms. Cover the pan for a couple of minutes till the vegetables are crisp tender.
Add soy sauce and vinegar. Toss in the cooked eggs. Add hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup more of mushroom water. Cook another minute. Turn off heat. Add bean sprouts and spring onions. Mix everything.
Season with salt and pepper if required. Serve immediately over plain rice, noodles or with thin pancakes.