BaoBao’s Birthday and American-Chinese Food

BaoBao, the giant panda cub at the National Zoo, turned one year old over the weekend! And besides the levels of squee something like this elicits, I decided I should make a panda-inspired recipe to celebrate the occasion. Since googling the phrase only turned up cute food-craft ideas of how to decorate desserts to look like a panda, I decided to make some kind of Californian-Chinese recipe, and I decided on trying to make moo shu vegetables. Now, I am totally aware that Californian-Chinese food is not what they eat in China (I was in China last fall and have had a few lectures and delicious foods from a close friend of mine), but that doesn’t make it bad. I treat it as a separate cuisine entirely from Chinese food. And since BaoBao is a Chinese-American panda, making Cali-Chinese food seemed totally appropriate.

Moo Shu Veggies
small knob of ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small daikon rashish (same size as the carrot)
5-6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
Hoisin sauce
tortillas/rice pancakes

Prepare all the vegetables – all the chopping and mincing – first. Beat the eggs and cook them as a flat omlette, and set aside. Pour some peanut oil on a large frying pan. Once warm, fry the scallions, garlic, and ginger for a couple minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook a couple minutes, then add the cabbage, daikon, and carrot. Cook for a couple minutes, and add the vinegar, soy sauce, and a tablespoon or so of hoisin sauce. Mix all together and cook until the veggies are done. Chop up the omlette and add it to the veggies. Heat up some tortillas, smear with a generous dollop of hoisin sauce, add the veggies and eat.

moo shu veggies

The result was awesome. Super delicious. I used corn tortillas, because I didn’t see any flour ones. And what’s more Californian that a fusion of Chinese and Mexican ingredients? They actually were ‘soft’ corn tortillas, and tasted like a half-way point between corn and flour, and it worked incredibly well. I was out of green tea, so I served this with beer, a saison from a local microbrewery. Wine never really seems to go with Chinese food in my opinion. Song of the week: Ventura Highway by America. I absolutely love this song, and listen to it a lot as a relaxing thing, and it has a cool, very distinctive guitar riff. And of course, Ventura is in California.

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