May 19, 2013

Vegan San Choy Bau Lettuce Cup Recipe

makes 10 lettuce cups

Jerome and I were going to our family dinner party the other night and we had no idea what to take. I wanted to make something new that was interesting and finger-foody so that it could easily be shared around. So, I decided to create a vegan san choy bau recipe and I am so glad that we did. These are absolutely delicious and our whole family scoffed them down like there was no tomorrow! While I was making it, Jerome kept creeping over and stealing them and eating the mince... tsk tsk! They truly are tasty. These would be great for dinner parties or barbeques or anywhere you would like to impress others with delicious vegan food! Use our vegan mince recipe in other Asian dishes too, such as in gyozas. Add any desired dipping sauces. We normally make a tasty sauce by combing lime juice, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce and adjusting it until it tastes yummy. If you are short on time, you can always purchase hoisin sauce or other bottled sauces if needed. So, give this a try and tell me what you think! I guarantee that you will enjoy it ^-^

Vegan Mince:
   350g extra firm tofu, drained and finely crumbled
   200g mushrooms, finely diced
   20g ginger root, minced
   4 garlic cloves, crushed
   2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
   2 tablespoons (40ml) sesame oil
   4 tablespoons (80ml) soy sauce
   big pinch freshly cracked black pepper

   crushed peanuts
   thinly sliced green onions
   thinly sliced red chilli
   coriander leaves

Dipping Sauce*:
   lime juice
   sweet chilli sauce
   soy sauce

   10 iceberg lettuce cups

  1. Prepare the dipping sauce if you are making your own. Combine lime juice, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce in a bowl and whisk until combined. Keep adjusting the flavours until the combination is perfect to your own taste. Or, purchase a premade dipping sauce such as hoisin sauce. Set it aside.
  2. Prepare the iceberg lettuce cups by removing the best lettuce leaves and washing them. Trim them if desired. Make sure your iceberg lettuce is fresh and crunchy. Set them aside.
  3. Make the vegan mince by adding all of the "mince" ingredients and stirring until combined.
  4. In a frypan on high heat, add the vegan mince.
  5.  Sauté for 15 to 20 minutes until the mushrooms wilt, the tofu browns and the liquid is absorbed. Keep tossing and moving the mixture to ensure that it browns and use your spatula to keep crumbling the tofu.  The smaller the mixture, the better! You want a dry mixture rather than a wet mixture. The dipping sauce at the end will add the moisture.
  6. Once the mixture is crumbly and browned and has reduced to about 1/3 of the original size, take it off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Distribute the mince mixture into the lettuce cups.
  8. Garnish each lettuce cup with: a pinch of crushed peanuts, thinly sliced green onions, thinly sliced red chilli and coriander leaves.
  9. Serve each with a side of dipping sauce and enjoy!

  • *Make a dipping sauce out of lime juice, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce to your own taste. You could even add garlic and ginger. On the other hand, you could purchase hoisin sauce which is a common side to lettuce cups.

The nutrition information above is an approximate guideline and does not include the optional dipping sauce. Each san choy bau is only 68 calories and is high in calcium  iron, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and vitamin B6. Wowee!


  1. It must be a whole lot warmer where you are than down here in sub-arctic Northern Tasmania! To think of eating lettuce isn't on the cards... might make the filling and serve it with some brown rice ;)

    1. Hello! Hehe it is 12°C here at the moment. I see that it is about 3°C in northern Tasmania? Wow! That is crazy. Hehe :)

  2. Definitely going to make these. Thanks Madison.

  3. What a great idea for a dinner party. I love lettuce cups!

  4. Definitely going to give this a go!

  5. I made these last night for dinner and were so delicious!!! Thanks so much for the fantastic recipes! My husband who is a meat eater gave them 10/10 and wants more and more of it :)

    1. Thanks Laura! I am so happy that you loved them. Jerome and I absolutely adore them :D

  6. Made these tonight!! Really good-first week living out of home and these recipes make it so much easier and cheaper thank you! :)

  7. Hi there, I just wanted to tell you I made this and it is bloody fantastic! I made it for my friend and I to eat and we couldn't stop eating it. Thank you so much for posting this and your other recipes. Cheers