My adaptation of classic Asian Mu Shu Pork is healthy, budget friendly and delicious. I like to double the recipe, cooking in a few small batches to use for super fast-fix dinners and lunches throughout the week. Mu Shu Pork is traditionally served over rice, and recipes call for wood ear mushrooms, Napa cabbage and pork. Served over lettuce, my Magic* version is a one-bowl meal created with the least expensive chicken, cabbage and mushrooms you can find.

8 ounces mushrooms
1 pound cabbage
1 bunch green onions
2 (4 ounce each) cans bamboo shoots
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
1/3 – 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1 – 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds

1 large head lettuce
1 jar hoisin sauce (in the Asian section)

This meal usually takes about 30 minutes to prepare. The recipe looks longer and possibly complicated because of prep and presentation options. It’s truly a simple fast-fix recipe.

Prepare the lettuce:
Decide how you want to eat the Mu Shu. Roll-ups are fun for younger ones and those of us who enjoy “hands-on” fare. A more refined and great brown bag approach is salad-style. Please prepare your favorite lettuce for roll-ups or salad-style eating according to instructions at the bottom of this recipe.

If you’re having roll-ups, transfer the hoisin sauce to a bowl and add a small spatula, spreader or teaspoon. Salad-style instructions are at the bottom of this recipe.

Prepare the vegetables:
Clean and trim the mushrooms, cabbage and onions. Drain the bamboo shoots. Slice the mushrooms and cut them into matchstick-sized pieces. Thinly slice the cabbage and green onions. If the bamboo shoots aren’t matchstick sliced, give them a quick rough chop. Set the vegetables aside in a large bowl.

Prepare the eggs:
Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and scramble with the salt. Heat a large skillet (such as a deep-sided chicken fryer) or wok with a bit of the oil and scramble the eggs over medium heat. You want the eggs set but not dry. Transfer the eggs to a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the chicken:
Trim and thinly slice the chicken. Alternately, you can use leftover chicken that has been boned, skinned and thinly sliced. The difference in using cooked or uncooked chicken is when it is added to the recipe during the cooking process.

Please read the Magic** Cooking Tip at the bottom of this recipe before proceeding.

Place your skillet or wok over high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When it is very hot, on the verge of smoking, add the uncooked chicken and stir-fry until it’s no longer pink.

Adding about 1/3 of the vegetables to the skillet at a time, quickly toss and stir to keep the food from sticking, adding a few drops of oil as needed. The total cooking time for the vegetables is only a couple of minutes. You’re keeping the pan hot, not attempting to thoroughly cook each batch before adding the next. Keep the pan hot and fairly dry while you work.

When the vegetables are lightly golden and tender-crisp, sprinkle with the soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil. Add the eggs and break them up a bit as you toss and stir for about a minute to reheat.

For a family roll-up feast, serve the mu shu in a large warmed bowl garnished with a generous sprinkle of the sesame seeds and a platter of lettuce leaves. Grab a lettuce leaf; smear a scant teaspoon of the hoisin sauce across the leaf. Pile some of the hot mu shu chicken into the leaf. Fold the sides over and roll the bottom up a bit.

For salad-style mu shu chicken, follow the directions below to prepare a bed of lettuce in a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls. Pile the hot mu shu chicken on top of the lettuce bed and garnish with a generous helping of sesame seeds.

Serves: 6 – 8

Roll-ups with leaf lettuce:
To make roll-ups with leaf lettuce, remove the leaves from the core and trim discoloration. Rinse the leaves with cool water and gently shake away excess. Place on clean toweling and place in the refrigerator, if you like.

Roll ups with head lettuce:
Head lettuce needs to be cored and outer discolored leaves removed. Simply run a knife around the core at the bottom of the head. Hold the hollow under cool running water for a few seconds and then invert the head to drain the water. Cut through the center of the hollow to cut the head in half. Place the halves down on clean toweling to drain; place in the refrigerator, if you like.

Salad-style mu shu:
Wash and trim your favorite lettuce according to instructions for leaf or head lettuce above.

To prepare lettuce for a salad-style meal, spread a scant teaspoon of the hoisin sauce on one side of each lettuce leaf and stack the leaves. For leaf lettuce, turning the last leaf of hoisin sauce-side down is a little less messy. Using a sharp knife, gently hold the lettuce stack with one hand and slice the lettuce as for salad.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

**Magic Cooking Tip:
The point of cooking smaller batches of food is to keep the skillet (or wok) smoking hot. By keeping the pan smoking hot, the natural sugars of the food are quickly cooked on the surface. This concentrates the flavor and preserves contrasting textures. If the pan is allowed to cool, juices are drawn out to pool in the pan. The result is boiled vegetables, which are soft with no distinctive flavor. Meanwhile, the protein/meat becomes rubbery.

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