Wednesday, July 13, 2011

San Choi Bow!

I dunno how many different ways there are to spell san choi bow.

Who cares though, I made it last night, and it was great! Whats even better though, it took about 15mins from start to finish, I think the most fiddly part was breaking off the lettuce leaves, washing them, and placing them carefully in a bowl.

I found a recipe online somewhere, but true to fashion I didnt use it once I was home... another typical thing for me to do, is to eat everything before taking a photo. We were starving, we didnt wanna wait.

This is a really forgiving recipe though, and the quantities, in my opinion can be adjusted according to your taste. Im sure there are some SCB purists who believe things must be put in the pan at the right time, with the right things otherwise its been bastardised.

However, I believe that food is there to be eat, enjoyed, and plates licked clean. So ill include here a rough guide, to the ingredients I used, in roughly the quantities I guesstimated. However as I said, they're there to be changed. If you like more chilli - add more. I need not explain this concept further!!

San Choi Bow

250g mince (I used beef, its what we had, however its traditionally made with a mix of pork/chicken. So suit yourself to your tastes, what you have and whats on special!)

2 garlic cloves (grated/blitzed/chopped/crushed)

1 chunk of ginger (prepared like the garlic, I grated it, skin on. Throwing caution to the wind me)

1 green chilli (we used green cos we like the freshness, and took the seeds out)

3 generous tsp of sambal (indonesian chilli sauce - delicious, buy some, use it, love it)

1 tsp chinese 5 spice

1/4 cup chinese cooking wine (or thereabouts. I didnt measure, just splashed)

1/4 cup oyster sauce (free pour - I love this stuff)

1 tbspn thick soy sauce

Quantity of noodles of your choice (good way to bulk out this meal, with cheap noodles. Makes it uni student suitable)

Sliced spring onions/water chestnuts/bamboo shoots


1) Get ready to wok. Heat oil in your wok, and have everything already good to go, cut up and sorted. This is a fast meal to make, but easy to screw up if youre leaving things to burn in your smoking hot wok while you catch up on prep. Depending on which noodles you have, prepare them now (I had rice noodles, that needed to be soaked in hot water for 5-10mins).

2) Add your sambal, garlic, chinese 5 spice, and ginger, and stir it. Alot. Hot wok = burnt garlic, which tastes crap. Keep it moving. It smells good, doesnt it.

3) Add your mince, give it a stir to coat it all in the chilli/garlic/ginger goodness. Depending on your wok, and how much you're cooking (if you're like me, you havent followed the ingredient list and are reading this with a kilo of mince in your hand... never fear, you can make this work), cook the mince in batches, in another pan, or in the wok, it doesnt matter. If you have too much meat in a pan, it brings the temp of the pan down. High temp = sizzle
Sizzle = flavour.
If the temp of the wok is reduced too much, there isnt enough sizzle. You dont want the mince stewing in the juices it releases cos the wok isnt hot enough, you want it sizzling, and the meat should become brown, not a pallid grey being simmered in mince water.

4) Once youve tackled the mince, and its all in the pan, add your sauces, chopped chilli, spring onions, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots. Get stirring, keep it moving. Make sure its all covered in deliciousness.

5) Cooked noodles are drained, and chucked in. Stir. Make sure its all coming together - have a taste, add anything you feel is lacking. This is your dinner, not mine, add what you like!

6) Serve in iceberg lettuce cups, fold them up and prepare to make a mess!

Allow about 1 or 2 serving spoons full of the mixture per lettuce cup.

This would also be great rolled up in rice paper rolls - which is my next plan!

If youve done it all right, this whole meal shouldnt really take longer than 30mins (if youre really taking your time chopping and generally pottering in the kitchen) however it took me about 15-20mins.

Apologies for no pictures............ we ate it........... it was really nice, with a real chinese flavour. Once youve got the sauces/spices, this is a real pantry meal. Grab it all and go.

Fun for kids to wrap their mince up in lettuce leaves, good way of coaxing bf to eat his greens. Can sub the meat for soy mince/quorn/tofu of choice for those less carnivorous. Add more veges, carrot, chinese greens, baby corn - just make sure you add them when its appropriate to make sure they're cooked properly.

Try it, its so easy and fast, its a definate winner for mid week dinners!!

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