Mu Shu was always my favorite Chinese dish to order when I was a kid. There was something special about it because you got to assemble it at the table and slather on the thick, dark and sweetly-rich hoisin sauce. Thing is, like the machaca, Mu Shu is traditionally loaded with animal proteins. Since that just wouldn’t do, I needed to figure out another way to create this classic Chinese dish. Once again, I turned to yuba because it has that wonderful chewy texture and takes on the flavors of marinades very well.
Another part of this dish that I wanted to reinvent was the wrapper. Rather than use a Mandarin pancake, which is simply white flour and water and brings nothing of nutritional value to the plate, I chose to use a supple steamed collard green leaf that is full of iron, calcium and fiber. I also added red bell pepper to the mix in order to add a healthy dose of vitamin C so that the iron and calcium in the collards would be more readily assimilated. This meal was fantastic and one that I shall make often.
Mu Shu Yuba with Collard Green Wrappers
1 block regular firm tofu [I used half a block of my homemade tofu]
2 oz dried bean curd sticks [Yuba], rehydrated in warm water and drained
1 large red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
1 large green bell pepper, cut into medium dice
1 cup finely sliced bok choy
6 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Juice of ½ a lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ inch fresh ginger, finely diced
2-3 dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced [@ a cup’s worth]
1 T tamari
1 tsp agave syrup
1 tsp dry sherry
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp turmeric
2-3 large collard green leaves per person
coconut oil for stir-frying the vegetables and tofu
For the Filling:
Cut yuba into thin shreds. Place in a zip lock bag. Add the tamari, sherry, half the sesame oil and the cornstarch. Mix well and marinate at least one hour.
Drizzle a bit of coconut oil into a pan over medium-high heat. Crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle the lemon juice and turmeric over it. Mix well and cook until slightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add another small drizzle of coconut oil to the pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook until slightly softened. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in the marinated yuba, wood ear mushrooms and bok choy and cook for a few minutes longer. Return the tofu to the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the bean sprouts and mix thoroughly until the entirety is heated through.
For the wrapper:
Cut the large thick part of the stem out of each leaf. Steam or blanch the leaves until tender [This only takes a few minutes]. Spread hoisin sauce on the leaf and add the Mu Shu filling. Roll it up and eat!
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