Meatless Monday: Moo Shu, Hold the Oink
I’ve become a regular at Real Food Has Curves, the latest Web venture for cookbook duo Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. Last week, the guys threw something together that I knew would be perfect for this meatless space, something they’re calling Moo Shu Vegetables, a slimmed down version of the Mandarin pork, egg & pancakes classic, but with no less flavor or zing.
What makes this dish a league beyond the same-ole stir fry are a few key components: the sauce, the aromatics and the crunch. Hoisin sauce, often referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce, gets an extra boost with sesame oil and black pepper, plus an aromatics trio of scallions, garlic and fresh ginger. Nothing fancy here, but the combination is truly tongue popping.
The vegetables in question are all crispers -- stuff that doesn’t wilt easily and needs just a short stint in the hot wok to soften and sweeten but without losing their crunchy personalities. The list of veggies below is a guideline, but I highly recommend the cabbage, which bulks up the dish and makes it feel quite substantial, even without rice.
Total cooking time is 25-30 minutes, most of which is spent chopping, which means this dish is a no-brainer for last-minute supper at the end of a crazy day. It is totally delicious – and oh, by the way, you’re getting those five-a-day servings of vegetables right in one bowl. Score!
P.S. The add-on possibilities are many – diced tofu, toasted cashews, a scoop of rice or quinoa, cellophane noodles. Add what you like, keep me posted on what you create.
Moo Shu Vegetables
Adapted from Mark Scarborough and Bruce Weinstein
4 scallions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh, peeled ginger, minced
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
½ pound green beans (I substituted sugar snap peas), sliced into ¼-inch pieces
1 small bell pepper, diced
½ Napa or Chinese cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Asian chile oil (optional, in my opinion; you could substitute vegetable oil or chili garlic paste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Get everything together in advance -- this means all chopping, measuring and grouping into bowls. Place aromatics -- scallions, garlic and ginger -- in one bowl; veggies in the second bowl; and all sauce ingredients in a third, smaller bowl.
Heat a wok over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add oil and aromatics. With a wooden spoon, stir fry for a quick 20 seconds. Then add veggies and stir frequently, cooking for about 2 minutes. You want to reduce moisture (you’ll begin to see some shrinkage) but you also want to maintain a certain degree of crunch. Add sauce and stir quickly to thoroughly coat veggies, cooking for an additional 30 seconds or so.
Eat immediately, by itself, with rice or another side companion.
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