I love San Choy Bow. I find the contrast between the crisp lettuce leaves and the soft, salty filling addictive, although I have yet to master a way of eating the stuffed lettuce cups without half the juices running down my arms. Maybe I should add less filling, but where is the fun in that? Despite my fondness for this dish, I had not made it myself until quite recently. It turns out San Choy Bow is both quick and simple to make, and I am kicking myself for not learning to do so sooner.
Mr Grumpy has been complaining of late about the amount of money we spend on takeaway. Mind you, most of his complaints came the weekend after our nephew came to stay, so not only did we have an extra mouth to feed, but the mouth of a teenage boy. I don’t think we’ve been eating all that much takeaway, but in an effort take make Mr Grumpy just a little less grumpy, I’m trying to cook a bit more on weekends.
Weekends to me are a time for slowing down, so anything I cook has to be simple, delicious, and pulled together quickly with minimal effort on my part. As I am sure I am not the only one with this problem, I’ve decided to start a new monthly Take-Out, Fake-Out series. My plan is to include meals capable of rivalling any takeaway. First up – San Choy Bow.
Now that I have mastered San Choy Bow, it has started to creep into my everyday repertoire. The meat can be served over rice for the simplest of dinners, although I like to toss it with udon noodles for an even speedier meal. Make it with either pork or chicken mince, and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Do not, however, miss the water chestnuts. They add crunch and texture to the dish.
I know what we are having for dinner this weekend. What about you?
Take-out, Fake-out: San Choy Bow
I prefer to serve this as a main meal. I make the filling as detailed below, and rather than serve in lettuce cups I toss the meat through softened udon or egg noodles. This will serve 4 as a main meal, assuming you add loads of noodles.
- 2 Tablespoons peanut sesame or olive oil
- 500 g pork or chicken mince
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger 20ml
- 1 chilli finely chopped (optional)
- 150 g mushrooms finely chopped
- 80 g green beans finely sliced
- 3 spring onions finely sliced
- Small tin water chestnuts finely chopped*, approx 140g drained
- 3 Tablespoons oyster sauce 60ml
- 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce 40ml
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 leaves iceberg lettuce separated, washed and dried to serve#
- Mix the garlic, ginger and chilli together. I usually do this just on the chopping board.
- Mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil together, and set aside.
- Heat a small amount of oil in a wok (or large fry pan) over a high heat.
- Add a third of the garlic mixture, and a third of the mince, to the wok.
- Cook the meat, stirring frequently to avoid it catching on the bottom of the wok, for 3 minutes or until the meat is just cooked. Remove the meat from the wok and set aside.
- Cook the remaining meat, using the same method, in two batches.
- Place the chopped mushrooms and spring onions in the empty wok, and stir fry over high heat for 2 minutes until softened. Add a little more oil if necessary to stop the vegetables sticking.
- Add the beans and chopped water chestnuts, and fry for a further 1 minute.
- Add the meat and any juices back to the wok.
- Pour in the oyster sauce mixture.
- Toss the meat and vegetables together for a minute, until everything is well coated in sauce and heated through.
- Remove from the heat.
- Serve in a large bowl accompanied by the lettuce leaves.
Recipe Notes* I have found it difficult of late to buy small tins of water chestnuts. There seems to be a shortage. To get around this, I have been buying the large tins (with a drained weight of 240g) instead. I drain the tin, use half of the water chestnuts, and freeze the remaining half for another meal. Freezing does not appear to affect the texture of the water chestnuts.
# Omit the lettuce leaves if you are serving this as a main meal with rice or noodles.