Lettuce cups


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a starter

Appears in

Another popular starter at Chinese restaurants, san choy bao is a joy to assemble and devour! The intense, savoury filling piled inside the lettuce cups is studded with little chunks of water chestnut, which give a lovely crunch and a burst of freshness.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (80 g) soy mince, prepared
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 x 227 g tin whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • sliced red chilli, spring onion (scallion) and crushed roasted peanuts, to serve


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the drained soy mince and cook until it starts to look dry and fluffy, about 3–5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, water chestnuts, spring onions, sesame oil and pepper. Continue to fry for 4–5 minutes until the garlic and ginger have softened. Remove from the heat.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of this mixture into the centre of a lettuce leaf, scatter with chilli, spring onion and peanuts to taste, then roll up and eat taco-style.