This is my version of san choy bau – stir fried pork mince served with lettuce cups. This version is similar to the second Peking duck course you get here in NZ with duck instead of pork mince. You could easily substitute Chinese roast/Peking duck instead of the mince if you like.
There’s something about Chinese food and fresh lettuce that reminds me of my childhood. Perhaps it’s because my parents used to give us lettuce leaves to wrap up fried rice in, which I always found delicious. Also, my father’s version of Singapore noodles used to include serving it up with finely shredded lettuce leaves, adding a different texture and a fresh dimension to the dish. Anyway, this dish is meant to be served with other Chinese dishes, but often when I cook it, hubby and I will happily tuck into it as the only course for our dinner.
San choy bau
1 carrot, finely diced
3-4 dried shittake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, then finely chopped
100g bamboo shoots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 spring onion stalk, finely sliced
1 tsp grated/finely chopped ginger
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 head of iceburg lettuce, leaves removed intact (discard any damaged outer leaves)
400g pork mince
20g rice vermicelli (strands broken up)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground Chinese five spice
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
ground white pepper
Put a frying pan or wok over high heat. Add the oil and once it is hot, add the broken up vermicelli strands. They should puff up quickly. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Set aside.
Pour off the oil, leaving about a tablespoon in the pan/wok. Add the garlic and ginger, fry quickly until fragrant, then add the pork mince. Stir fry the pork mince for about 3-5 minutes, until the pork is nearly cooked through. Then add the carrot, celery, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, spring onion, soy sauce and Chinese five spice. Stir fry for about another 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Season with white pepper.
To eat, scoop the pork mixture into the lettuce leaves and top with the fried vermicelli. Enjoy!