Asian Beef

San choy bau

‘Keep it simple’ was the push that I needed to hear – wise words from the Godfather of modern cuisine, Marco Pierre White, on Masterchef a couple of weeks ago. Up until that point, the food and recipes I created were hit and miss and I’ll be the first to admit it! Overcomplicating dishes, using too many ingredients, this is not the way I usually cook. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, my food couldn’t even look good in photos! That’s the reason for not too much sharing going on this past month. To me, food needs to not only look great but taste amazing and the dishes that make my husband and family smile is the food I will enjoy sharing with you.

As you know, my passion is Asian cuisine, which is not complicated, it’s not hard for everyone to try and the flavours & ingredients are simple. As this is the food I enjoy cooking the most you will be seeing a lot more of it from now on. I’m going back to basics and keeping the food I cook simple. This recipe makes me happy and I really hope it puts a smile on your face too.

San choy bau #6 @MissFoodFairy

San choy bau is fried pork or chicken mince with a couple of ingredients and wrapped in lettuce leaves. Ready in 25 minutes, this meal is simple, quick and very, very tasty – a great mid week dinner that everyone will love. San choy bau is very different to Thai larb – larb uses fish sauce and is served more as a salad.

Not only are there many variations to spelling san/sang choy/choi bau/bow but finding any information on where san choy bau originated from wasn’t easy. From what I could find, san choy bau is a popular entree in many Thai, Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants. What you should know about san choy bau is that however you spell it or wherever you’ve eaten it, there’s nothing like fried mince in lettuce cups. Enjoy.

For a complete vegetarian alternative, use a mixture of mushrooms, zuccini and tofu instead of mince.
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Add mushrooms (Shiitake work well), crushed peanuts or any vegetables to your liking.
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Add rice noodles for a complete meal – kids will love the noodles!
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Use iceberg if you don’t like Cos.

PREP: 15 minutes COOK: 10 minutes SERVES: 2 hungry adults

INGREDIENTS:San choy bau #7 @MissFoodFairy
1 tablespoon peanut oil
500 grams pork mince
1 garlic clove, minced/grated
2½cm piece fresh ginger, grated (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ tablespoon sesame oil
6 spring onions, finely sliced on diagonal
¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Cos lettuce leaves, whole
Birdseye chillies, finely sliced
½ cup fresh bean sprouts

On medium heat, place the oil in a frypan. Once hot, add the mince and fry until no longer pink. Stir through the garlic, ginger and sauces until well combined. Fry for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in the lime juice, sesame oil, spring onions and coriander. Drain any excess oil with a slotted spoon before serving.

Place the lettuce leaves, chillies, bean sprouts and mince mixture in the middle of the table and let everyone make their own san choy bau – spoon mince mixture into lettuce leaves, top with bean sprouts and chilli then fold lettuce in half and eat with a smile and messy hands – it’s hard to stop at four 😉

San choy bau #2 @MissFoodFairy

12 comments on “San choy bau

  1. Pingback: The Top 10 recipes of 2015 | missfoodfairy

  2. Elizabeth

    This is one of my favs… my local chines also does a duck one which is very nice for a treat 🙂 Thanks for sharing your recipe! Liz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Duck san choy bau sounds delicious! Is it shredded duck or is it more like Peking duck? Don’t tell my husband, he’ll want some 😉


      • Elizabeth

        It’s more like finely diced duck… You can choose to have that or duck chow mien at the restaurant when you have the Peking duck 🙂 very yummy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had a craving for san choy bau all week so your recipe is perfectly timed! I think I will need to buy some mince over the long weekend and make some a for a delicious work lunch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perfect timing Dani! Please let me know what you thought of this recipe, would love to see a photo too. Make sure you double the batch to take some for work 😉


  4. Looks so fresh tasty and very appetizing. I love asian flavors too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lizzygoodthings

    Looks delicious and sounds perfect xox

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My family would devour a whole table full of these “little boats”. They look amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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