Sometimes when I’m trying out a new recipe, I have only a vague idea of how it is supposed to turn out. Because I only have a photograph of the final product, my mind doesn’t always trust the instructions when my eyes watch the ingredients changing into different shapes and textures along the way.
This weekend I had chosen to attempt Mu-Shu pork with curry-scented pancakes. One of my coworkers had pointed out the entree on the menu of a local Chinese restaurant, and a few days later I had found the recipes in an old Martha Stewart magazine.
After lining up all the ingredients to make sure I had everything necessary, I read the recipe for the pancakes. I had to go through the instructions several times, because it sounded like there were unnecessary steps. If it was a pancake you would think that you could just make a liquid batter. However, the instrucions said to form what sounded like a tortilla, brush one side with sesame oil, then put a second flattened disk of dough on top of the first. My dough was almost too wet, so I added enough flour that I could handle it.
While my fingers fought the sticky dough, I reflected on technical challenges that amateur bakers in the GBBO episodes face. The contestants are given a minimal amount of time to bake a (usually) unfamiliar product with just a list of ingredients and very basic instructions. My time limit was self-imposed rather than one given by a television show judge, though. Somehow the doubled-up disks made their way to the frying pan, and I could even peel them apart later when the pork-and-vegetable filling and the balsamic-plum sauce were ready.
If I choose to prepare Mu-Shu pork in the future, I think I’ll look at some other recipes to see if other cooks follow the same method for curry-scented pancakes, or if the sandwich method is something that can be improved upon.
Can you think of any reason not to just make a pour batter or a single layer tortilla instead?