San Choy Bau

CIMG0188[3].jpgThis is a favourite dish of chinese and non-chinese alike. It’s so versatile. This recipe uses chicken mince, however you can substitute it with diced barbeque duck, pork mince, add in some prawns and omit the bamboo or water chestnuts. It’s great to cook for groups as you can make the filling ahead of time and prepare the lettuce - your food processor is your best friend. I made it as part of a 3 course meal for 90 people, as well as part of an 8 course chinese banquet for 8.

 Ingredients (serves 8 as an entree)

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 500g chicken mince
  • small can of water chestnuts
  • half a 440g can of bamboo shoots
  • Half a cup of oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry or chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 8 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked for 3 hrs in water
  • 2 stalks of spring onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. With a sharp knife, carefully remove the core from the lettuce.  Under a running tap of cold water, place the upturned lettuce under the tap so that the water goes into the hole, and you can carefully peel a leaf away, one at a time. Repeat for each person.
  2. Finely dice mushrooms, bamboo and water chestnuts and spring onions.
  3. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, and sautee garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  4. Cook the chicken mince, and then add all the other ingredients, stirring. Add seasonings.
  5. Spoon filling into lettuce cups and serve with hoisin sauce.

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