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  • Jo Jo Yee

Chinese "Sang Choy bau" mixed vegetable wraps recipe

Turn your bits and bobs from the garden into mixed vegetable wraps.

Sang Choy Bau is a classic Chinese dish commonly served as a starter all around Australia, where I grew up.  In Cantonese, it literally translates to "lettuce wrap" and in it's traditional form is simply a lettuce cup filled with minced pork and vegetables.  These days, you will find many variations of the original recipe, from minced beef or chicken or even duck.

I was keen to fill my Sang Choy Bau with lots of different vegetables from the garden and late summer/early autumn, I have butternut squashes, peppers, carrots and celery, all waiting to be picked. Earlier in the summer, I would have substituted the butternuts for summer squashes like custard white patty pan or sweet potatoes (if you're lucky enough to get any!).

Add butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potato to make this more substantial on non-meat days.

Traditional Sang Choy Bau is usually served in iceberg lettuce cups.  Carefully separate out each leaf and trim up the larger leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors.  If you find that you have accidentally ripped them apart, simply layer the broken leaves on top of each other.

From the garden, "Warpath" an iceberg/cos hybrid, "Little Gem" or any of the romaine types like "Valmaine" are perfect. Simply remove the outer leaves from the base of plants in a cut-and-come-again approach.

Serve Sang Choy Bau in individual lettuce cups, or for a more casual setting, spoon the filling into a large serving bowl placed in the middle of the table, along with the lettuce cups, spring onions and coriander, so everyone can help themselves.

Mixed Vegetable Lettuce Wraps ("Sang Choy Bau")

Serves 2 as a main

Serves 4 as a starter


150g skinless chicken breast meat, finely cubed or minced (optional)

Half a small butternut squash or equivalent of sweet potatoes or summer squash

2-3 carrots, peeled and finely cubed (150g/ 1 cup)

2 celery stalks, finely sliced (130g/ approx. 1 cup)

1 large pepper, finely diced (175g/ 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tablespoon root ginger, minced

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

freshly ground black pepper

3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

handful coriander, roughly chopped, for garnish

Hoisin sauce, to drizzle


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Add the ginger, chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add butternut squash or sweet potato and stir-fry for 4 minutes.  Add the cooking wine and soy sauce and allow to bubble together for 1 minute.

  2. Add the celery, mushrooms, pepper and garlic and stir-fry for a further 4 minutes, or until liquid has nearly evaporated and squash/sweet potato is tender.

  3. Add spring onions and half the coriander, combine well and season with pepper.

  4. Spoon the mixture into lettuce cups, sprinkle over remaining coriander and serve drizzled with hoisin sauce.


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