San Choy Bow

I was all set to post a (long overdue) update in The Nigella Diaries this morning, but then along came Donna and Deb’s inaugural #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge and of course I had to join in. Besides, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post this recipe.

Sang Choy Bao/ San Choy Bow/San Choy Bao – however you say it or spell it – is a Chinese restaurant classic. It’s a dish that’s on high rotation for weeknight dinners in our house because it’s quick and easy to make and is accidentally healthy – my favourite kind of healthy.

It’s also one of those recipes where the quantities listed below are an indication only, which means you can chuck in pretty much whatever vegetable is lying about forgotten and lonely in your fridge. We usually have a sad red capsicum that can be diced and included. In the pic above we’ve tossed in some vermicelli noodles that we had leftover from the Thai beef noodle salad we’d done the previous night.

The water chestnuts give it all a really good texture, but feel free to leave them out if you don’t have any in your pantry. Another option for crunch is to sprinkle some chopped peanuts across the top to serve.

The only hint I would give you, is to have everything chopped and ready to go before you begin cooking. Okay, without further palaver, here’s the recipe:

What you need

  • 1 iceberg lettuce, separate the leaves into cups
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 12 green beans, chopped into 1cm lengths
  • 5 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 100g canned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (to serve)

What you do with it

  • Mix the pork with the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, cornflour, pepper, garlic and ginger
  • Heat a pan (I use a wok, but any large fry pan will be fine) until very hot and add the oil.
  • Add the pork mince and stir-fry until lightly browned
  • Tip in the vegetables and stir-fry for about a minute
  • Add the oyster sauce and dark soy sauce and stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the veg tender.
  • Serve in lettuce cups drizzled with hoisin

Notes on the ingredients

  • In the US I think you refer to pork mince as ground pork. Chicken, turkey or lean beef mince all work really well too. If you want to make it meat-free simply amp up the mushrooms.
  • Shaoxing wine is a Chinese cooking wine. If you can’t get it you can substitute dry sherry, Japanese rice wine, or mirin.
  • Cornflour is the same as corn starch in the US
  • What we call capsicum in Australia, the US refers to as red pepper

I’m sharing this post with Donna from Retirement Reflections and her co-host Deb The Widow Badass Blog in their inaugural #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

11 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – Thank you so much for joining in What’s On Your Plate. I was hoping that you would.
    I love all Asian food (okay, almost all), and this dish is high on my list.
    I hadn’t thought of simply amping up the mushrooms for a meatless version of this classic – I will give it a try and let you know how it works out!


  2. Ooooh, that looks delicious! Haven’t had this in a long while.
    We make a vegetarian version of this using jicama & carrots – I think I will try adding the water chestnuts next time (soon) – I like the idea of the extra crunch!


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