Adam Liaw’s peking-style sang choy bao
Sang choy bao (literally, ‘lettuce packets’) makes a fabulous family meal. A little bit like taco night with a lot less effort, and perhaps a little better for you. Here, I combine the sang choy bao of Cantonese cuisine with northern China’s jing jiang rou si (pork strips in Beijing sauce). The addition of shredded spring onion is reminiscent of Peking duck pancakes on a weeknight dinner budget.
- 3 thick spring onions (scallions)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- 500g minced (ground) pork
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 150g green beans, cut into 1cm lengths
- 1 small carrot, cut into 5mm dice
- 3 tbs tianmianjiang or hoisin sauce, plus extra to serve
- 1 tbs Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, separated into cups
Cut the spring onions into 5cm lengths and then very finely julienne them. Place in iced water for at least 10 minutes to curl.
Heat a wok over a high heat and add the oil and pork. Fry for about 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps as you go, until lightly browned, then add the ginger, beans and carrot and toss for a further minute.
Add the tianmianjiang, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and about 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) water. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the pork is cooked through and the vegetables have softened. Add the cornflour mixture to the wok a little at a time, only using as much as you need, and tossing the wok until the mixture has thickened and is quite dry.
Serve the pork mixture with the spring onion curls, a little extra tianmianjiang, and lettuce cups to wrap the mixture in.
Tip: Hoisin sauce is a newcomer in the world of Chinese ingredients. The origins are murky, but it appears to have been developed around the 1960s in Hong Kong as an alternative to the ancient tianmianjiang (‘sweet flour sauce’) used in northern Chinese cuisine. It’s more popular in South-East Asia (and Australia) than it is in China.
This is an edited extract from Tonight’s Dinner by Adam Liaw, published by Hardie Grant Books & SBS, RRP $45. Available in stores nationally.