Mu Shu Pork

When my husband and I lived in bigger cities, like Dallas and Houston, we enjoyed dining at a variety of ethnic, hole-in-the-wall-type restaurants, including Indian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and Chinese. The food was fabulous, and wasn’t expensive for us young working folks.

My favorite item to order at Chinese restaurants was Mu Shu Pork, sometimes also spelled Moo Shu. I loved the pancakes with the hoisin sauce, the tasty pork, and the vegetables. And, mu Shu pork was fun to eat, because you rolled your own pancakes.

Plus, you get to eat fun ingredients like lily buds and wood ears.

They must be hydrated in hot water before using, then patted dry.

Mu Shu pork supposedly originated in Northern China, perhaps Shandong. To use an authentic recipe, I reached for my Shun Lee Cookbook written by Michael Tong, published in 2007. Shun Lee translates to “smooth sailing.” The recipes in the book are “from a Chinese restaurant dynasty.”

Mr. Tong moved to the United States over 50 years ago as an engineering student, but after moving to New York City, where he settled, He joined the restaurant business with his uncle.

He claims that Chinese food in the U.S. long ago was only Cantonese, and it was his mission to introduce Americans to the foods of Hunan, Sichuan, and Shanghai regions of China. His restaurant, Shun Lee Dynasty, eventually earned four stars from the New York Times Restaurant Guide. Craig Claiborne was a frequent diner.

Today in New York City, Shun Lee West still exists, as does Shun Lee Palace.

Mu Shu Pork
printable recipe below

4 ounces boneless pork butt, cut into thin strips 2” long, 1/4” wide, and 1/4” thick
2 large eggs plus 1/2 large egg white (beat a whole egg white until foamy and measure out half)
!4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Vegetable oil, for passing through
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
10 ounces, or about 12 leaves Napa cabbage, stem part only, cut into pieces 2” long, 1/4” wide, and 1/4” thick
1/4 cup dried tree ears, soaked in hot water until softened, drained, patted dry, and torn by hand into 1” pieces
2 ounces dried lily buds, soaked in hot water until softened
1/4 cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots, cut about 2” long
3 scallions, green part only, trimmed and minced
8 small Mu Shu (also called Mandarin) pancakes, about 4” in diameter
Hoisin sauce, for serving

Mix the pork with the egg white, pinch of salt, cornstarch, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water in a medium bowl until blended. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Fill the bottom of an Asian-style steamer with an inch or two of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come 1” up the sides of the wok, and heat it to 325 degrees F. Add the pork and stir gently until it turns light brown, about 30 seconds. Using a wide wire-mesh strainer, transfer the pork to a colander to drain.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok, and return the wok to high heat. Beat the whole eggs in a bowl until frothy, and add them to the wok. Scramble the eggs until they are quite firm and not runny, about 15 seconds. Transfer the eggs to the colander, separate from the pork, to drain.

Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl, and set aside.

Place the pancakes in the steamer and cover it. Heat until they are hot, about 2 minutes. (Or, gently use a microwave for this purpose.)

While the pancakes are warming, return the wok to high heat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute.

Add the tree ears, lily buds, and bamboo shoots, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. If the cabbage discards liquid, tilt the wok over a colander and pour off the liquid.

Return the pork to the wok, and add the scallions and the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.


At the last second, return the scrambled eggs to the wok and scatter them gently, so they remain yellow, among the pork mixture.

Place the pork mixture on a serving platter, surrounded by the pancakes. Serve immediately, with hoisin sauce on the side.

This is the hoisin sauce I prefer, but there are many brands from which to choose. Just don’t bother with an American brand.


Let each guest spread hoisin on a pancake, add some pork mixture, roll up and eat!

For perfect Mandarin pancakes, use the recipe from my Peking Duck post.

 

 

60 thoughts on “Mu Shu Pork

  • An American brand of hoisin sauce? Does that actually exist!? Either way, I totally know what you mean about ethnic food and larger cities. We were spoiled (and didn’t even know it) when we lived in Atlanta! There’s not so much in the way of good ethnic food…unless you count Italian. We’ve got some really awesome Italian places up here, but that’s a bit more mainstream now. Anyways, I love mu shu pork, but I’ve never made it at home. Thanks for the fun recipe, Mimi!

    • I don’t miss big cities at all, especially the ones I didn’t enjoy living in (Houston) but there are so many benefits, and the choice of restaurants is certainly one, plus the variety of regular and ethnic grocery stores. At my age though, I’m happy with no traffic and noise. Mu Shu pork is as fun to make as it is to eat!

    • I love that too! In fact it’s on the blog. So so good. Pancakes and hoisin sauce and just about anything yummy on top! I love clouds’ ears. Not as fond of the lily buds…

  • We don’t have that here so I’ll definitely give it a go. Rolling on the floor with laughter at the idea of going in to a UK butcher and asking for pork butt…. that’s definitely not what we call it here 😀

  • I have never had Mu Shu Pork but I’m so intrigued now, which is interesting because I absolutely LOVE Chinese food. I’ll have to try this recipe. Also, I am envious of all you cookbooks.

    • Oh you have to try it! It’s delicious, but also fun to eat. Just like peking duck, cause you get the little pancakes! I’ve been collecting cookbooks for a long time. And some times I have to get some old ones out and give them their due!

  • Mu Shu Pork is something I always order in a Chinese restaurant if they have it. I never ever thought about making it myself. I pinned your recipe so I can make it later.

    • It’s my favorite. I haven’t really been to a Chinese restaurant in years. When we visit our daughter in NYC we head straight for dim sum. Which I would never change, but we should also go to a regular Chinese restaurant!~

    • Hahahaha! Recently I made 8 different Chinese dishes for a girlfriend’s birthday. I just couldn’t stop picking out recipes to make. I could have stopped eating after the egg rolls and hot and sour soup, but we all kept eating and were so full. And miserable. So obviously I can overeat at home as well!

    • Really? I’m kind of surprised. I thought it was pretty standard fare. I would double the amount of pork in the recipe. Otherwise it’s a lot of flowers and fungus in every bite!!!

      • I thought sushi with omelette is standard. It appears menus of Chinese or Japanese restaurants are not the same around the world. Thanks for the suggestion for the pork.

      • Well, I haven’t exactly eaten sushi around the world. My husband doesn’t eat it, so I get to enjoy it when I travel with my daughters, sans husband. I’ve been to Nobu in Dallas, and some amazing restaurants in New York City, but never in Europe. And I’ve never been to China or Japan.

      • Let me know if you can recommend any restaurants in San Francisco or Napa. Going there late August for a sous vide conference where I will be speaking. Now that I think of it, you should come to the Sous Vide Summit 😀

      • That is so impressive Stefan!!! Congratulations! That would be really fascinating. We’re leaving on the 27th for South Africa… It’s been too long since I’ve been to San Francisco, so my recommendations would be outdated. There’s a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown that we’ve been to multiple times, and is probably still around. It probably won’t be hard to figure out the best restaurants at which to dine. In Napa, you must go to the French Laundry. Still one of the best restaurants, with consistently 3 Michelin stars.

  • Mu shu is one of my faves! I try to make it myself, but nice to have a real recipe! This looks so appetizing! And deserves a trip for the Asian market!

    • Well these are definitely not breakfast pancakes! Mandarin pancakes are also served with Peking duck, if you’ve ever had that. They’re just so fun to eat!

  • Mu shu pork is also one of my favorite dishes, and for the same reasons. I love the sauce, and I love the pancakes. And I love putting the whole thing together. And, it’s delicious! I’ve never seen a recipe for it, though. It sounds pretty doable. Thanks for sharing it!

    • It’s very doable, especially if you can find all of the ingredients. I had to order a couple things from Amazon. I discovered that the Mandarin pancakes freeze well.

  • Chinese pancakes are good with anything in them in my opinion. But, Mu Shu Pork is perfect way to eat them. I remember ordering Mu Shu Pork in Linyi, China and the waitress rolled the Mu Shu into perfect rolls for you with their chopsticks. Thanks for a great recipe and a great memory.

  • Mimi,
    When I lived in L.A., a Chinese woman told me that Mu Shu Pork is one of the most authentic and delicious dish to order in an American Chinese restaurant. I started enjoying it in 1984 and it’s still my fave today. Not always easy to find though. I’d love to try to make it at home and use your recipe! Thanks for sharing!
    Ciao,
    Roz xo

    • Very interesting. I know there’s a lot of Americanized Chinese food, I go to my authentic Chinese cookbooks for recipes just for that reason. This recipe is wonderful. Just a little time consuming, but so worth it!

      • With your endorsement and the use of authentic Chinese cookbooks, I will certainly make this and let you know. I can’t get enough Asian food, but am not the best at preparing it, so I go to Chinese restaurants to get my fix! Have a wonderful day, Mimi!

  • Mimi, your posts are always such a lovely read. :-) Mu Shu Pork is one of my favorite Chinese dishes, too. So ambitious to make it at home and yours looks delicious. I’m never without Hoisin sauce — love it! :-) ~Valentina

    • Aw, that’s so sweet. Hoisin is the best, isn’t it?!! I don’t care if you’re Italian or whatever, Chinese food is fabulous. Mu Shu pork isn’t terribly ambitious, but it does take a little time. But so worth it!

  • Hmmm. I think I will seek out these ingredients. I have some hoisin sauce left over from a failed (and horrible) chicken taco instant pot recipe. This looks much more delicious and appetizing. Beautiful photos, Mimi.

    • Uh oh. Why in the world would hoisin sauce be in a taco recipe?!! Yikes. Well, you will definitely love this! But definitely not tacos!

  • Your point is very good — I haven’t seen mu shu pork on a menu in a long time. The Chinese restaurants in our town just aren’t very good so we don’t go there. Making it myself is an interesting thought.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • We’ve lived in a small town for 31 years now and I’ve gotten used to not being able to have ethnic food at a restaurant, unless we travel. Before Amazon.com and all of the wonderful food websites out there, I couldn’t make much, but now just about everything can be shipped. A lot of fresh Thai ingredients, like galangal, I’ve never been able to get my hands on, but maybe soon!

  • Now that I have made my own hoisin sauce (sans G) I am ready to take on Mu Shu Pork! Yay. I loved this when I was young and haven’t had it since the onset of the allergy. Did you make your own pancakes? I haven’t seen the for sale, but wasn’t necessarily looking, either. So excited, Mimi!

    • Yes, there’s a link to the pancakes in the post, for when I made them for Peking duck. It’s foolproof. I forgot you’ve made your own hoisin. That’s really exciting for you I bet! Have you looked into garlic oil yet? I’m so curious as to whether you could use it or not.

      • I totally missed that link to the pancakes – sorry! No, I haven’t gotten up the courage yet to try the oil. I’m weighing the risk factor as liquids and their opposite (dried or granulated) go into the system so much stronger and faster. It’s bookmarked for me and maybe i will be brave enough to bite the bullet soon!

  • There was an excellent Chinese restaurant called “The Mandarin Garden” in Dundee, where I was brought up. They served fantastic Mu Shu Pork. I have to say my favourite there was the Crispy Duck Pancakes though. I know what you mean about getting a good Hoisin sace too. I don’t bother with the own brand supermarket version here, I tend to go for Blue Dragon Hoison sauce, which I find OK. Love your recipe and thanks for bringing back some good memories. Been ages since I had a good Chinese meal!

    • Aw, well you’re very welcome. I love food memories!!! There are a lot of supermarket brands for ethnic food here as well. They’re just not good.

    • It’s so good. Personally, I’d use more pork in the recipe. I guess it’s less about the pork to the Chinese, but it seemed a bit out of balance, even though I do love those cloud ears!

  • Hi Chef Mimi, I’ve actually never tried Mu Shu Pork, although I certainly seen it on menus at restaurants. Thank you for this detailed post on how to make it, it looks delicious! I will have to try it soon. Really cool to know about Michael Tong and the Shun Lee Restaurants in NYC!

    • I thought that part was really interesting. What a dynasty! I’m sure you have your favorites you order at Chinese restaurants, but maybe get an order to share, and you’ll really love it. It’s just different from Kung pao chicken or some of the “standards.”

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