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Chinese Lettuce Wraps (San Choy Bow)

One of my favourite Chinese starters – Lettuce Wraps with pork or chicken, loads of hidden crunchy vegetables in a tasty savoury brown sauce, bundled up in fresh lettuce. Also known as "San Choy Bow" which is how it’s written in menus at Chinese restaurants here in Sydney, though the spelling varies widely from place to place and I’m yet to find a definitive answer for what the proper spelling is. I may not know how to spell it, but I do know you’re going to love them!


Prep Time

        Prep time: 15 minutes
        Cook time: 5 minutes
        Yield: Serves 4


For the Sauce:

    •    1 tsp sesame oil
    •    1 tsp white sugar
    •    2 tbsps oyster sauce
    •    1 tsp dark soy sauce
    •    3 tbsps water, separated
    •    1 1/2 tbsps light soy sauce
    •    2 tbsps Chinese cooking wine
    •    1 1/4 tsp cornflour / cornstarch

For the Filling:

        1 tbsp peanut oil
    •    1/2 tsp ginger, minced
    •    300g / 10 oz pork mince
    •    1/2 onion, finely chopped
    •    1 clove large garlic, minced
    •    1 small carrot, finely chopped
    •    5 mushrooms, finely chopped
    •    5 baby corn, canned or fresh, finely chopped
    •    100g / 3.5 oz canned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

For Serving:

    •    crushed peanuts
    •    finely sliced scallions / shallots
    •    8 leaves large or 16 - 20 small lettuce, preferably soft


  1. Mix cornflour with 1 tbsp water until lump free. Then add remaining Sauce ingredients and mix.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and ginger, give it a quick stir then add onion.
  3. Cook for 1 minute then add pork. Cook pork until it turns white.
  4. Add all the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes until the carrot is softened and pork is cooked through.
  5. Add Sauce and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until it thickens and glossy, coating the Filling.
  6. Transfer Filling into serving bowl. Lay out lettuce leaves, peanuts and scallions on the side.
  7. To serve, spoon some Filling into a lettuce leaf. Top with peanuts and scallions, bundle it up and enjoy!

This great family recipe is thanks to Recipe Tin Eats at


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