On Saturday, I bought an Asian roasted duck at the local Vietnamese market. I usually call up and ask the cashier to reserve one for me. On these days, I spend the late afternoon before dinner making “wrappers” from flour, water and sesame oil. These wrappers are very thin, being half of a rolled out pancake that separates after cooking (sesame oil inbetween the layers.) I keep them warmed on a plate with a clean plastic bag around it and the wrappers stay warm and steamy inside.
Today, I made a mixture of ground pork, bamboo shoots, shrimp and sliced cabbage to eat inside wrappers along with the leftover duck. There’s about enough duck to make three roll-ups. The moo-shi pork and shrimp filling will also be tasty and crunchy in the wrappers, spread with hoisin sauce.
Here’s what I stir-fried together. In a skillet heated and coated with vegetable oil, add: about 1/3 cup of ground pork; a can of bamboo shoots, cut into small pieces; 3 extra large shrimp, shelled and cut up into bite size pieces. Stir together with cut up scallions and a swirl of soy sauce. When the pork and shrimp mixture is cooked, transfer it all to a bowl and hold aside.
In the meantime, slice thinly about half of a small head of cabbage (not Napa but regular cabbage.) Fry in more vegetable oil in the skillet until softened, then add the pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots back in. Stir together and hold until cooled and ready to eat.
When serving, spread some hoisin sauce on a wrapper crosswise and add filling, fold the pancake lengthwise together and bend the bottom up so the juices won’t spill out when you bite into it.
Footnote: making the wrappers is not difficult but messy and time-consuming. I boil some water and add it in a deep bowl to about 2-3 cups of flour. I stir it together and handle it when it’s not too hot until it is malleable. Here’s the tricky part – if the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it is pliable. If it is too stiff, it’s too dry. Sorry but I don’t have proportions – I do it by feel.
When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it gently and only enough to amalgamate the flour and water. Roll it out into a two inch thick snake and cut it into 2 inch pieces. On a well-floured surface, Take one of the pieces and flatten it slightly. Then brush on the entire surface some sesame oil. Place another piece on top of it and gently flatten it together. Then, gently roll out the two pieces together until it’s about 6-8 inches in diameter as evenly as you can. Heat a skillet on medium-hi heat and place the rolled out wrapper in the skillet. Check for small golden brown patches and turn it over. When it is slightly browned on both sides, pick it up and place it on the plate with the plastic bag over it.
Roll out and cook the rest of the flour dough wrappers in the same manner. When a cooked wrapper has rested a few minutes on the dish, open it up and gently peel the layers apart. Then place both layers back on the plate. Each wrapper that you cook this way yields two pancakes. I made extra yesterday so that we could use them for the moo-shi filling I made on this post.
The wrappers take a little getting used to making – just be sure to spread the sesame oil completely across the surface and gently place the other roll on top of it and press them down with your hand before rolling it out. If the dough is too sticky, this doesn’t work and you’ll have to add more flour to the dough before kneading it, rolling the snake and cutting up the pieces. Good luck!
It’s worth it – when you bite into the thin, chewy wrapper. Most restaurants don’t make their own because it’s too labor intensive and serve flour tortillas instead. On the second day eating the wrappers, I gently steam them with a plate of the leftover duck on top – covered until everything is warmed. YUM!