Monday, August 24, 2009

San Choi Bao

I love my job, and while the international nature of it is one of the elements that make it the most enjoyable, coordinating with many time-zones ultimately results in many late evening arrivals home. Not content to dine on a bowl of cereal while standing over the sink, over the last year I have come up with a repertoire of ‘ready in a two shakes of a lamb’s tail’ recipes, the best of which in my opinion being San Choi Bao. San Choi Bao is ubiquitous in Australia, and I am not sure the version below could be described as in any way traditional, borrowing ingredients from all over the Orient! I love this as an easy starter also served with a Japanese Sopporo beer, or with a light Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, or as a quick lunch. The filling can be prepared ahead, but it cooks so quickly, I am not sure there is any need! When I am in a mad hurry, I use dried spices, and have taken to mincing garlic weekly and keeping in the fridge.

Any vegetables work with this recipe, I have listed my favourites below, but substitute peas, broccoli florets chopped into little pieces, snow peas, capsicum (peppers) or any other vegetables that you have to hand, I have also used frozen versions with no adverse results, just make sure to steam separately for a few seconds to get rid of the ice glaze. Similarly, most proteins are suitable for San Choi Bao, I have had success with tofu, turkey mince, cubed chicken, shredded pork and prawns. For those who do not consider a meal complete without a whollop of carbohydrate, some rice noodles, soaked in stock or miso makes a good addition.

3 scallions (spring onions for the Aussies)
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp sesame oil or vegetable oil with a teaspoon sesame seeds at a pinch
1 chilli, finely chopped
500g minced beef
2 carrots, grated or diced
6 pieces of baby corn, fresh or canned
can water chestnuts, finely chopped
½ cup of bean sprouts
3 tbsp soy sauce
Iceberg lettuce
Lime wedges

1. Carefully peel off the outer layers of the lettuce, until you get to the crisper bowl-like inner leaves. Arrange on a serving plate.
2. Fry scallions, garlic and ginger in sesame oil until translucent.
3. Add chilli and beef and stir fry until beef starts to brown
4. Add vegetables and soy and continue cooking until beef is cooked. If using noodles, add at this stage.
5. Pile mixture into lettuce cups and serve with lime wedge and a crisp Asian beer.

1 comment:

Helen C. said...

You inspired me and I made this tonight as a quick meal for one. It was fab! I used minced turkey and omitted the chestnuts and it was perfect. Definitely going to make it again... and again...

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