Monday, March 11, 2013

Mu Shu Veggies with Perfect Little Pancakes and Hoisin Sauce

I can't believe how good this is. No really. Like I just want to eat this same meal over and over, every day. I actually did make it two nights in a row, just to be sure I wasn't mouth-halucinating when we ate it the first time, and no, I wasn't. This is officially one of my favorite things to eat, ever.

You have to make all three parts of this dish, but they're all simple to put together, and much of it can be done ahead of time. Make the sauce early in the day, or the day before, and just let it wait in the fridge until show time. Mix up the dry ingredients for the pancakes, and set them aside until it's time to cook them. Then all you have to do is add the water and vinegar and stir it up. And veggies can all be prepped any old time, and kept chilled until you break out the skillet.

This recipe makes enough for dinner for 3 or 4. You'll get about 24 small (1/8 cup) pancakes, almost 3/4 cup of sauce, and as many veggies as you choose to cook. This dish is vegan (of course), gluten free, and oil-free. Yes, there is fat in the nut butters used in the sauce, but we need some fat, and it's best to get it from whole foods, rather than extracted oils, which are pure fat with very little nutritional value.

Hoisin Sauce
2 T peanut butter
2 T sesame tahini
1/4 cup low sodium tamari
1 T molasses
1 T maple syrup
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or hot sauce

Whisk all ingredients together and store in a jar in the refrigerator. The sauce will thicken a little when it's chilled.

You can buy hoisin sauce, but this is easy to make, and really, really tasty.

Mandarin Pancakes
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 T baking powder
1 T vinegar
2-2 1/2 cups water

Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the vinegar, and stir in the water gradually until you have a very thin batter. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes, then add more water as necessary. You want thin, fast-cooking pancakes.

A non-stick griddle makes fast work of these, but you can use a non-stick pan if that's what you have. Heat the griddle to 400ยบ, or the pan to medium-high. If you have a good smooth non-stick surface, there's no need for oil. If you have some sticking, use your Misto for a very light coating of oil on the pan.

Use a measuring cup to pour about 1/8 cup for each pancake. They will sizzle and bubble instantly. Flip them when they look dry on top. It only takes about 1 minute. Cook the other side for 20-30 seconds. The pancakes will only brown a little bit, and they'll be nice and soft and flexible.

Layer them  in a spiral, rather than piled directly on top of each other, inside a folded dish towel, and keep them warm in a barely heated oven while you cook the veggies.

If you stack the pancakes like this, they'll stick together a little bit.
(But see how nice and flexible they are?)
 It's better to arrange them in a spiral, overlapping about half of each pancake.
Cover them with a towel to keep them warm and moist.

Mu Shu Veggies
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
2 carrots, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced or grated
4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1 T tamari

This is really just a simple steam-fry. The flavor in this dish comes from the hoisin sauce. The mushrooms are the super-star ingredient here, giving the dish body and a wonderful richness. Use any kind of mushrooms you like, and throw in some fancy ones if you can get them.

Pre-heat the skillet or wok to medium-high. Throw in the mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes. You can add a tiny bit of water if the veggies start to stick, but it shouldn't be necessary since there's so much water in the mushrooms. (Alternately, you can cook them in very hot oil if you prefer.) If the mixture is very wet, cook most of the water off before adding the cabbage and sprouts.

Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, and tamari, and continue to cook for about 1 minute.

You'll get a lot of steam because these are very wet vegetables.
If you need to pour some water off at the end, that's okay.
To serve, make little tacos with the pancakes, veggies, and a spoonful of sauce, and prepare to stuff yourself.


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Jean said...

This is the one I am passing out over!!! I LOVE this! xox jean

Kim Miles said...

Jean, you have to make this. At least you and Ian will love it!

Nicole Bird said...

Can't wait to try this recipe! I love mu shu but am GF, so this will be a nice addition to my kitchen :-). Thanks!

Kim Miles said...

My pleasure, Nicole. Enjoy!