Sang Choi Bao 生菜包

Sung Choi Bao I have always been slightly obsessed with Sang Choi Bao, but in a world gripped by LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) & Banting diet fever, this classic Chinese dish has found a renewed appeal. Literally translated as “lettuce package”, Sang Choi Bao is made with fatty pork mince which is then eaten encased in crisp lettuce leaves, making it a great option for those of us who are avoiding traditional carbs like rice – something that is quite hard to do with Asian food!

Like most Asian recipes this one does have a few specialist ingredients, all of which are readily available from good Chinese supermarkets, but feel free to leave out whatever you can’t source. The key to the dish is actually in the sauce and the various vegetables, rather than the recipe’s more exotic inclusions. Okay, so this recipe does call for a small amount of sugar (not strictly Banting, I know), but you can just leave it out if you are so inclined.

Substantial and satisfying, this tasty dish scarcely feels like a meal that forgoes anything; and although it certainly isn’t conventional, Sang Choi Bao is also delicious when eaten with rice.

Traditionally eaten with your fingers, Sang Choi Bao is great fun to eat, making it a good dish for sharing. I suggest serving it up in a big bowl surrounded by the lettuce leaves and just let everybody tuck in. You can expect lots of sticky fingers after dinner!

Sang Choi Bao: Serves 2 as a main meal, or 4 as part of a banquet

  • 500g fatty pork mince
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
  • 3cm peeled fresh ginger, julienned
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 3 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. Chinese wax sausage (lup cheong), thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped salted radish
  • 2 tbsp. Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely julienned
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 large spring onion, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely sliced
  • A dash of ground white pepper
  • Fresh Coriander leaves and some extra sliced spring onions for garnish
  • Lettuce leaves for serving (iceberg or baby gem)

Method:

  1. First start by soaking your dried Chinese mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes, after which remove the stalk and slice thinly
  2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, soya sauce, sesame oil and oyster sauce
  3. Heat your wok and pour in the oil. Carefully swirl the oil around so that it coats the sides of the wok
  4. Add the ginger and garlic, fry for a couple of seconds until fragrant. Add the minced pork and fry for a couple of minutes
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms, wax sausage and radish, fry for another minute
  6. Pour in the Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry) and fry for 30 seconds. Add the prepared sauce and stir-fry for another 2 minutes
  7. Add the carrots, bean sprouts and chopped spring onions. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds and then take off the heat.
  8. Top the pork with sliced red chillis, white pepper, coriander leaves and sliced spring onions
  9. Serve with the lettuce leaves
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