What an ingenious invention this is: a quick, simple stir-fry served in a crisp lettuce-leaf cup. I’m using minced pork belly here, but really, chicken, quail, prawn or fish will all work very well; just make sure whatever meat you use is minced or very finely diced. If you need more bulk than a lettuce leaf, this stir-fry’s equally delicious served on rice. Since I like my sang choy bao spicy, I add a little chilli sauce to each wrap, but you could just as easily add a tablespoon of chilli paste to the pan.
Serves 4 as a shared dish with another main
1 iceberg lettuce
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 dried Chinese sausage
2 tbsp peanut oil
250g pork belly, minced
8 water chestnuts, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp shao hsing wine
¼ cup fresh chicken stock
2 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ cup oyster sauce
1. Wash and drain the lettuce, then carefully separate the leaves and trim to form small cups.
2. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop finely. Discard the stems.
3. While the mushrooms are soaking, steam the sausage for 10 minutes, then chop finely.
4. Heat the peanut oil in a wok until it’s just smoking. Stir-fry the pork quickly until the meat just begins to brown. Add the sausage, mushroom, water chestnut and spring onion and stir-fry over moderately high heat to combine the flavours. Add the salt and pepper to taste, shao hsing wine, chicken stock, soy and oyster sauces and combine well. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly (about 8 minutes).
5. Pile the meat into a large bowl, and serve accompanied by a bowl of the lettuce leaves. Each person spoons some filling into a lettuce-leaf “cup”, then rolls it up with their fingers to eat.