The Chinese name of the dish phonetically translates tomu xi rou—rouis meat andmu xiis sweet osmanthus, a plant whose delighful edible white and yellow flowers Idiscovered in a restaurant in Hong Kong. There are no osmanthus flowers in this dish but the yellow chunks of egg are said to resemble clusters of osmanthus. Quite a poetic way to describe the dish.
This isn’t the traditional Chinese moo shu pork though which, according to a blogger who grew up in northern China, is really a much, much simpler dish and rather different from moo shu pork served outside China. Call it fusion, call it evolution, I like the moo shu pork that we have become familiar with. From which country this adaptation came from, I have no idea. If you’re interested in what I think about “pure” cuisines, see my full post on the subject.
Back to moo shu pork. It begins with marinating thin slices of pork in a mixture of ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, starch and sesame seed oil.
Marinate for how long? If you’re pressed for time, just long enough for you to prep the rest of the ingredients. But if you want to see a marked effect on the texture of the pork, marinate overnight in the fridge.
The actual cooking starts with scrambled eggs seasoned with a bit of soy sauce. The eggs need to be stirred lightly so that it forms into lumps. Break up those lumps into bite-size pieces with a spatula then scoop out the eggs and transfer to a plate. Note that it is important not to overcook the eggs. You want them to be still a bit wet.
Now, the pork. Add more oil to the pan, cook garlic until you can smell it (but don’t allow to brown!) then spread the pork in the spiced oil. Leave to brown the undersides then flip them over. If froth forms, don’t worry. That’s just the heat trying to remove excess liquid from the marinade that the pork has soaked up.
When the pork pieces are all nicely browned, add wood ears or black fungus, cucumber slices, scallions and the scrambled eggs that you had set aside. Stir fry just until everything is heated through.
Then, pour in the sauce. Because there’s starch in it, it appears cloudy but, as the sauce starts to heat up and bubble, the cloudiness will disappear, and the sauce will become thick and clear. Your moo pork is now ready to be served.
Moo shu pork
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablsepoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup pork broth
- 1 tablrspoon cornstarch
- Place the sliced pork in a bowl. Add the grated ginger, a tablespoonful of soy sauce, a drizzle of rice wine, a tablespoonful of starch and a drizzle of sesame seed oil. Mix well. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, make the sauce by mixing together the oyster sauce, sugar, meat broth, a tablespoonful of starch and a tablespoonful of light soy sauce.
- Heat half of the oil in a wok or frying pan. Pour in the eggs. When partially set, stir around to break into rather large lumps. Scoop out and transfer to a plate.
- Pour the rest of the cooking oil into the pan and saute the garlic just until aromatic.
- Spread the marinated pork in a single layer. Do not move them for a minute or so until the undersides are browned. Flip over and brown the opposite side.
- Add the sliced black fungus, cucumber, scallions and eggs to the pork. Stir fry for half a minute.
- Pour in the sauce. Continue stir frying for another minute until the sauce is thick and glossy.
- Serve the moo shu pork at once.