Mushroom San Choy Bau


I love mushrooms, so when I developed our “Gourmet Vegetarian Passion” class, we had to include at least one recipe that starred them. If you can’t source a mixture of mushrooms, don’t hesitate with just using what’s at hand.

(Serves 10)

30 individual baby cos lettuce leaves (OR – 2 crisp iceberg lettuces)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

20g (1 tbsp) ginger, finely chopped

2 tbsp oil

250g cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped

200g mixed mushrooms (shitake, black fungus, enoki), coarsely chopped

1 small tin water chestnuts, drained and finely diced

3 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarian or normal)

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 carrot, finely grated

5 spring onions, green part only, finely shredded

salt and white pepper, to taste


handful of beanshoots, to garnish

4 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts, to garnish



  1. If using the whole iceberg lettuce, cut 1/3 up from bottom stem of lettuce. Run larger piece, cut side up, under cold running water to carefully separate lettuce leaves. The water will fill between the leaves to make it easier for the leaves to peel off. Trim with scissors to form 10 neat cups (optional). Leave to drain upside down until ready to use.
  2. Heat oil in large flat frypan and quickly sautee garlic and ginger. Increase heat to high and stir in mushrooms and water chestnuts to evenly coat. Leave mushroom mixture to seal, without stirring, until they brown and caramelise on the bottom (See tip below), for about five minutes. Once one side is well caramelised, give mushrooms a gentle stir to mix them over and seal on other side.
  3. Gently stir in combined sauces & sesame oil until warmed through. Remove from heat. Stir in carrot and spring onion and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. To serve, place into a bowl surrounded by cos lettuce leaves. Garnish with bean shoots and crushed peanuts. Alternatively, place one lettuce cup on a plate and fill with mushroom mixture.

(TIP: When cooking mushrooms, treat them as you would a steak, by allowing them to brown on one side, then gently stirring them to brown the other sides. If you stir them too much, they’ll release much of their moisture, making them too soft.)