PORKY san choy bau

Porky San Choy Bau

  • Servings: 2
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Acknowledgment: Kudos to The Nutrition Guru and The Chef!  Note, I adapted their recipe by not using bamboo or chestnuts (they can be hard to find and you only use such a small quantity). Instead, I just used cashews, or you can use peanuts too (that’s what Jaime Oliver recommends). Plus, I added fish sauce and chilli!


  • 500 grams lean mince. Try pork (favourite), chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or your favourite cooking oil)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 whole spring onions sliced thinly plus one extra spring onion to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 small carrot (either diced finely or, grated if you wish to hide it from little people)
  • ⅛ cup Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey (then, more to taste. I probably end up using 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or you can substitute with cornflour)
  • 1 baby lettuce, should have around 8-10 lettuce cups (use the best 6 cups)


  1. Lightly toast the peanuts or cashews in a dry frying pan, then crush in a pestle and mortar and put aside.
  2. Remove your lettuce cups from the lettuce, keeping them whole.
  3. If you are using straight away then don’t do Step 3. If you are prepping the lettuce ahead of time, then place in a bowl of cold water while you are making the san choy bow.
  4. Slice the 2 whole spring onions, onion and dice the carrot finely. You can also grate the carrot which works well if you want to make the dish kiddie friendly. Set aside
  5. Grate your ginger and garlic and set aside.
  6. In a large pan, on high heat put the oil and let the oil heat.
  7. When hot, place the onion, carrot and spring onion in the pan and cook until light brown stirring frequently.
  8. Add the minced garlic and ginger and continue to stir.
  9. Add the mince meat to the pan, breaking it up with a fork or knife to ensure it cooks evenly. You may need to add more oil to the pan to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan.
  10. Continue to stir and cook until meat browns.
  11. Add the Chinese rice wine. This is to deglaze the pan. Quickly using your wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to lift up all the delicious caremelised flavours from the bottom of the pan.
  12. Now add the peanuts or cashews and continue to stir. If you find the mixture sticking to the bottom, turn the heat down to medium.
  13. Now it is time to add the sauce – Add the soy sauce and honey and stir.
  14. Mix the arrowroot powder into the ¼ cup water and stir until the powder is dissolved.
  15. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir thoroughly. Your san choy bow mixture will start to thicken and go glossy. Be careful now that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  16. Your dish is ready when the meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened. If you take it too far and the sauce dries out, simple add a splash of water to the pan.
  17. Taste your mixture. You may find you would like it to be saltier in which case add more soy. If you find it salty, add some more honey. If you find it needs more flavour, simply add another ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari and 2 tbsp of honey.
  18. Drain the lettuce cups and remove excess moisture with a towel.
  19. Take the dark green section of your extra spring onion and slice very finely on the diagonal. Set aside as your garnish.
  20. To serve, place ¼ of your meat mixture inside a lettuce cup, garnish with the spring onion and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish.