Let me introduce you to an Asian classic. This delicious pork dish, wrapped in a lettuce leaf, is all about texture, flavour and simplicity. There is an allure to sung choi bao that everybody seems to love, but strangely few people seem to make this at home. It’s a great way to introduce young ones to basic Asian flavours, helped by the fact that it’s a fun way to eat – yes, no knives and forks! These simple ingredients will either be in your pantry or can easily be found at your local supermarket. Fast and easy to make, enjoy this famous taste of China!
1 iceberg lettuce
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely-chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 red chilli, chopped (optional)
500g pork mince
150g water chestnuts, diced
1 carrot, peeled then cut into matchsticks
4 mushrooms, finely-chopped (optional)
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (or 1 tsp kecip manis,if you have it)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Shao Xing cooking wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 teaspoon cornflour, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Good handful coriander
1 red chilli, sliced
Peanuts, roughly crushed (optional)
1. Gently pull leaves off iceberg lettuce to create cups to hold mince mixture. I prefer the smaller leaves closer to the centre, but you can use either. Soak the leaves in very cold water and pop in fridge until ready to use (you may need to use two lettuces if you prefer the smaller leaves).
2.Pour peanut oil into a wok or large fry pan and heat to a medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for a minute until starting to soften, then add garlic and ginger. Cook for a further minute, ensuring they do not brown.
3.Next, add pork mince in 2-3 batches, cooking until lightly-browned. Use wooden spoon to break up clumps.
4.Add chopped mushrooms, water chestnuts, half of the spring onions and carrots and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
5.Pour in sauce and bring back to the boil before adding cornflour and continue stirring until it has thickened – another 2-3 minutes.
6.Take lettuce leaves out of fridge and drain as much as you can. Place on a large serving platter.
7.Transfer mince filling to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander, chilli and peanuts if using.
8.To serve, spoon the filling into the lettuce, enclose the mince with the leaf and eat immediately. You can leave a little extra garnish for your guests to add to each parcel.