Authentic Moo Shu Pork: The Original Recipe
This is the real moo shu pork, a traditional Chinese dish with eggs, wood ear mushrooms, and lily buds. Follow this simple recipe to make it at home.
150 g of pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips (see note 1 below)
1 tbsp of Shaoxing rice wine
2.5 tbsp of neutral cooking oil, divided
3 medium eggs, lightly whisked (or 2 large eggs)
50 g of wood ear mushrooms, soaked and shredded (5 g when dried; see note 2 below)
20 lily buds, soaked and cut in half (see note 3 below)
80 g of cucumber, sliced
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp of minced ginger
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1/4 tsp of salt (or to taste)
A pinch of white pepper
- Slice the pork thinly against the grain (if you find it difficult, place the pork in the freezer for 1-2 hours until it’s semi-frozen, then slice it). Add Shaoxing rice wine and mix until fully absorbed
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Pour in the beaten egg. As the edges cook, push the cooked portion to one side to allow the uncooked part to flow to the center of the wok. Use a spatula to break the cooked egg into bite-sized pieces. Place the cooked egg onto a plate.
- Afterwards, introduce another tablespoon of oil into the wok. Stir-fry the pork until it turns pale, but do not overcook it. Transfer the pork to the plate with the cooked egg.
- Drizzle the remaining half tablespoon of oil into the wok. Stir-fry the scallions and ginger for about 20 seconds, then add the wood ear mushrooms and lily buds. Stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds, and then add the cucumber.
- Once the cucumber begins to wilt, add back the cooked egg and pork. Add light soy sauce, salt, and white pepper for seasoning. Stir-fry for another 10 seconds, then remove from the heat. Serve immediately.
- Pork tenderloin is suggested due to its tenderness, but alternative cuts can be used. If using different cuts, I recommend marinating them in a mixture of water and starch to enhance tenderness, following a similar process as I do for Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce.”
- Wood ear mushrooms (Mu Er/木耳) are typically sold in dried form and need to be rehydrated to their original size. Place them in a generous amount of warm water for 10 minutes; they will expand significantly during this time.
- Lily buds (Huang Hua/黄花) are also available in dried form. Soak them in warm water for approximately 30 minutes until they become soft and lighten in color.
What Does Authentic Chinese Moo Shu Pork Look Like?
If you’re accustomed to enjoying Moo Shu Pork at Chinese restaurants or takeaways outside of China, today’s recipe might come as a bit of a surprise. I felt the same way when I came across some online recipes for this dish. The ingredient composition and seasonings were quite distinct from the Moo Shu Pork I grew up with in China.
Food continually evolves, and it’s only natural that classic dishes incorporate new flavors and welcome different ingredients over time. I’m not here to pass judgment on which version of Moo Shu Pork tastes better. Instead, I’m delighted to introduce you to how my dad, like many home cooks in northern China, would prepare this signature dish from Shandong Cuisine (Lǔ Cài, 鲁菜) for his family.
The name “Moo Shu” (Mù Xī/木樨 in Chinese) originally referred to sweet osmanthus, and it is used to describe small pieces of scrambled egg because they resemble the tiny yellow flowers of sweet osmanthus trees. Therefore, the two primary ingredients in Moo Shu Pork are egg and pork. Wood ear mushrooms, lily buds, and cucumber are added not only for additional color but also to enhance the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the dish.