Thai-style san choi bao

Main Meals (Dinners)
Prep   20 min
Cook   10 min
Other   30 min (Soaking)

This classic Chinese dish served in lettuce cups is given a Thai twist with the addition of fish sauce and lime juice. Soaking the whole lettuce in cold water helps the leaves to separate and come away without tearing. Use a pair of scissors to trim each lettuce cup to an even size.

  • Iceberg lettuce, 8 leaf(s), whole lettuce, cored
  • Peanut oil, 1 tablespoon(s)
  • Garlic, 4 clove(s), finely chopped
  • Red chilli, 2 chilli(s), seeded and finely sliced, plus some extra to serve
  • Ginger, fresh, 2 tablespoon(s), finely chopped
  • Coriander, ½ bunch(es) stems and leaves, stems and roots finely chopped, leaves reserved
  • Pork mince, lean, raw, 800 g
  • Green beans, 150 g, trimmed and finely sliced
  • Carrot, 1 medium carrot(s), cut into thin matchsticks
  • Mushrooms, 100 g, sliced
  • Fish sauce, 2½ tablespoon(s)
  • Lime juice, 2 tablespoon(s), or lemon juice
  • Palm sugar, 2 teaspoon(s), or brown sugar
  • Bean sprouts, 160 g, 2 cups
  • Lime, 4 lime(s), wedges to serve


  1. Soak the lettuce in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Gently separate the leaves, drain and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the pork filling, heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat and add the peanut oil. When hot, add the garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander stems and roots and stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the pork mince and cook, stirring and breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, for 2–3 minutes until the mince changes colour. Add the green beans, carrot and mushroom and continue to stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the pork is cooked. Stir through the fish sauce, lime or lemon juice and sugar, then season lightly with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  3. Remove the wok from the heat and toss through the bean sprouts and coriander leaves, reserving a small amount to use as garnish.
  4. To serve, divide the pork filling among the lettuce cups and garnish with the remaining bean sprouts and coriander. Offer lime wedges and sliced chilli to the side.

TIP: For extra crunch, add 4 tablespoons chopped Pickled Randish (Budget Recipe Book) or 4 tablespoons chopped water chestnuts along with the bean sprouts at the end.

Nutrition facts per serve
Makes 4 serves

Note: If food units vary from the book, be guided by the following food units.

Meat & Protein 2
Bread & Cereals0
Healthy Fats & Oils1
Protein47.6 g
Total fat13.2 g
- Saturated fat3.5 g
Total carbohydrates9.1 g
- Total sugars7.3 g
Fibre7.4 g
Sodium1310 mg