Vietnamese-Style Moo Shu Chive Pancakes With Turkey Leftovers
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://peaslovecarrots.blogspot.com/2009/11/vietnamese-style-moo-shu-pancakes-mu-xu.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Mathea Tanner
Vietnamese food is all about the five senses: the visual explosion of colors in green basil and red chilies, the crunching sound of fresh carrots and bean sprouts, aromatic mint and fish sauces, the variety of textures for mouth-feel, and... oh yeah, taste is pretty important, too. In fact, Vietnamese dishes rarely leave out any part of the tongue with spicy/sweet/tangy mixed with bitter herbs and salty condiments... commence Homer Simpson drool... NOW.
It seemed a natural progression for leftover turkey or any roast fowl (I used chicken, duck would probably be fantastic if I'd had some... doh!). Turkey not being the most flavorful of meats on it's own, the kick of some cilantro and ginger sounded pretty good. Since the leftover meat is easiest to remove from the carcass in shreds, I also thought some moo shu would work, and that would mean pancakes. I didn't have the ingredients on hand to make Vietnamese pancakes like bánh xèo, which require rice flour and coconut water. Therefore, I decided I'd have to go rogue and mix some Chinese moo shu pancakes (mù xū bǐng).
I know technically this dish is a "fusion" dish, but I'm not a fan of this term, mainly because I see it over-used by restaurateurs looking to up the hip-o-meter in their menu. I am not hip - I don't own an iPod since my last one was stolen over a year ago and I don't even miss it, I don't wear jeans that cost more than $40, and I don't get my hair cut into a style named after a celebrity. Therefore, I feel as ill-suited to the term "fusion" as I do to, say, diet pills or Red Bull/vodkas.
So okay, the "fusion" part will stay in sarcastic little quotes, if that's okay with you guys. Now, about these pancakes. I found the basic recipe from Emeril Lagasse and I must not've read thru it properly the first time because I didn't realize I was essentially making pastry dough pancakes. If I'd known that before making them, I probably would've closed the page and looked for something else to make. Why? Because I'm afraid of pastry dough. Everyone makes it sound like some huge ordeal of rolling and buttering and layering... as someone who cooks way more than bakes, I just imagined myself collapsing in a tearful mess about halfway through - covered in flour with bits of dough mashed into my hair. I'm wearing a chef's hat in this dream sequence, and it's slumped in defeat, too...
I'm glad I didn't read the recipe through properly as it turns out. By the time I got to the layering part, I was having too much fun to care. Yes, again this might be because I am not hip, and therefore have fun doing not-hip things like rolling dough on a Friday night, but who cares? I was giddy with the realization that this was far from "work"; I was humming and I rolling out little disks, brushing them with sesame oil, and sticking some chives in between the layers... then a little sizzle on the griddle pan and there they were!
Pastry dough, watch out, cause I'm coming for you next...
For my filling I used some leftovers from the original dinner: and onions and yellow heirloom carrots.... even Brussels sprouts! I added cilantro on the side and made a chili/garlic sauce for dipping. Since the recipe is designed to be a vehicle for tasty leftover turkey dinners, I didn't include a set-in-stone ingredient list for the filling, more of a formula. The results are a five-sense explosion you don't get in a typical turkey...