San Choy Bao

First of all, apologies for the lack of regularity posting new recipes. It has been a very busy time over the last 6 weeks. I have been working frantically, as well as juggling everything else in my life, to get my book to the printers in order to be available for Mother’s Day – something which I am pretty certain we have achieved. So I am thrilled to say that as of last Thursday, my book is officially at the printers!!

Moving on…this San Choy Bao recipe is one that I have been making for years and one which I have been meaning to post since the start of the year. Even though San Choy Bao is a delicious, light and fresh meal that is great for a hot Summer’s day, it is also pretty darn tasty all year round.

The colourful and flavoursome ingredients

The beautiful flavours that really sing in this meal include; ginger, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint and kaffir lime leaves, some of my favourite flavours. Traditionally San Choy Bao is made from a lettuce leaf, used as a cup or bowl, and filled with a sweet and salty mince meat concoction. I have used pork mince, but beef and chicken mince also work well. I’ve also added in some vermicelli noodles, more as a filler for the kids.

The kids actually really enjoy San Choy Bao even there is a lot going on in the flavour department. Mark happily helps himself to several, Claire usually has one or two and Elise can be hit and miss, often enjoying the noodles more so than anything else.

San Choy Bao ready to be assembled

This filling for the San Choy Bao can be made ahead of time, and reheated when ready to eat, making it a great mid-week meal when you’re short on time.

Enjoy xx


Serves 4

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 spring onion, finely slices
  • 2 tbs ginger, finely grated
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 500g pork mince
  • 3 tbs Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs tamarind paste
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 12 green beans, finely chopped
  • 15 mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 100g vermicilli noodles


  1. Heat a large skillet, frypan or wok over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, garlic, spring onion, ginger and carrot and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add pork mince, breaking up as it cooks to ensure no large chunks.
  3. Add Chinese cooking wine, fish sauce, lemongrass, tamarind paste, soy sauce and brown sugar leaves and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli by covering with boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Set aside.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves and green beans to the pork mixture and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with peanuts and mint leaves.
  6. Assemble the lettuce cups, top with vermicelli noodles and pork mixture.
  7. Enjoy.