Delicious Chinese Lettuce Wraps, Yuk Sung recipe made with minced meat and vegetables in fresh crisp lettuce. One of the healthiest and tastiest Chinese appetizer recipes that you can prepare under 20 minutes.
What is Yuk Sung?
Originally Yuk Sung ( San Choy Bow ) is a classic Chinese side dish with stir-fried minced meat and vegetables served in lettuce leaves cups. It is also great as a starter and a perfect combination of the nutty, meaty taste of the fillings and the refreshing taste of the spring onions and lettuce. You can find it in the menu of Chinese restaurants and takeaways in the UK.
I have this dish alone as my dinner on days I feel like going for more lean and healthy options. It is also very quick and easy to prepare. Require less than 30 minutes to prepare and looks fancy at the table when served. If you are bored of making fries and salads every time for an appetizer, you gotta try this dish.
For more interesting appetizer ideas, you can check out my Crispy Coconut Prawns and Fish Pakora recipes. And if you have extra chicken mince, you might love to try out our family favourite Crispy Deep Fried Dumplings recipe.
Ingredients we need
Choice of Protein
- Minced meat ( ground meat ) - For the mincemeat, I prefer using chicken thigh than breast since the fatty and juicy mince is more suitable for this recipe. You can use chicken breast mince for a healthy lean meat option or add your favourite ground beef, lamb, or pork.
- Lettuce – Iceberg, little gem, romaine, or any leafy lettuce that can hold the filling like a cup, can be used. I’m using sweet and crisp romaine lettuce here in this recipe.
- Mushroom – I use fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into small dice. You can also add dried shiitake, wood ear, portobello, and button mushrooms, etc. If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms, make sure you soak them in water for a few minutes ahead of the preparation.
- Water chestnut - is not a nut, it grows under the water and has a unique crunchy and slightly sweet taste. You can find it canned at supermarkets or Asian grocery stores.
- Carrot – I always add it to this dish for its color and crunchiness. You don't need to add the exact same ingredients used in this recipe. Feel free to add your favourite vegetables.
Yuk Sung Sauce
- You will need 4 basic ingredients to make the delicious yuk sung sauce. Light soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shao Xing wine, and sesame oil. I add dark soy sauce to bring more flavour to the dish, sugar to balance out the sweet and savoury taste, and a dash of corn starch to achieve the glossy stir fry.
- Peanuts – Toasted and crushed peanuts for extra crunchiness and nutty flavor. Cashew nuts, walnuts, and pine nuts can be used as peanut substitutes.
- Rice sticks or glass noodles – Rice sticks will be fried till crisp and served on top as a crunchy garnish. I prefer rice sticks for this recipe but glass noodles can be a good substitute for crispy bites.
How to make it
- Fry the rice sticks in hot oil only for a few seconds until it rises and crispy. Remove from the oil and set it aside.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Season the chicken mince with a 2 tbsp sauce mixture, garlic, and ginger. Mix it well and set it aside.
- Heat the wok over medium-high heat and drizzle oil. Add the chicken mince and flatten it at the bottom of the wok. Let it sear for 1-2 mins. Then stir fry for another 1-2 mins until just cooked through then remove from wok and set it aside.
- In the same pan, drizzle more oil, and saute the onions. Followed by carrot, water chestnuts, and mushrooms.
- Place the cooked chicken mince back in. Pour the sauce mixture in. Toss well.
- Finish with spring onion.
- To serve, place the cooked chicken and vegetables in the middle of the lettuce. Topped with spring onions and toasted crushed peanuts. Add crispy fried rice stick on the side. Wrap it into a roll and enjoy!
- Make sure to wash the lettuce leaves. Remove the hard end of the lettuce with a knife. Swish and wash the lettuce leaves with plenty of cold water in a large bowl. All the dirt and stubborn soil will sink to the bottom.
- To dry the salad leaves, use a salad spinner or shake the excess water out. Keep it in a cool airy place to remove excess moisture or pat dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Keep them refrigerated until before serving for full freshness.
- Use a large pan or wok to distribute heat evenly to all ingredients. We usually use a non-stick wok or pan which is easy to clean up. If you love ' wok hei ( breath of wok ) ' you will need to use traditional carbon steel wok.
- If you have any leftover fried rice sticks, you can store them in an air-tight container or bags for later use.
Japanese Mirin or dry sherry will be a good substitute. Mirin is slightly sweeter than Shao Xing wine so if you’re using mirin, you can reduce the amount of sugar you are adding to the dish. For the non-alcohol version, you can add rice vinegar or omit Shao Xing wine.
Yes. Smashed firm tofu can be used instead of chicken mince. For the seasoning, you can use the vegetarian oyster sauce to make a vegetarian Yuk Sung.
You can store the cooked minced chicken and vegetables in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the fridge and for up to 2 weeks in a freezer. Reheat it in a microwave or in a pan with a splash of water.
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Yuk Sung ( Chinese Lettuce Wrap )
- Large wok/pan
- 400 gram Chicken thigh mince Or choice of ground meat ( About 14oz )
- 1 tbsp Garlic Finely chopped/grated
- 2 tsp Ginger paste Or grated
- 1 Carrot Cut small dices
- ½ Onion Cut small dices
- 100 gram Shiitake mushroom Or choice of mushroom, Cut small dices
- 50 gram Water chestnuts Drain water, cut small dices
- 2-3 Spring onions Cut thin slices
- 2-3 tbsp Vegetable oil Or sunflower, canola, etc
Yuk Sung Sauce
- 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Light soy sauce
- 1 tsp Dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shao Xing wine Or rice vinegar
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- ½ tsp Corn starch
- 1 tbsp Water
- 10-12 Lettuce leaves Romaine/Iceberg
- 2 tbsp Roasted crushed peanuts Or cashew nuts
- 10 gram Rice stick Or glass noodles ( dried )
- Oil for frying rice stick
- Combine the yuk sung sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar and corn starch are dissolved. Season the chicken mince with 2 tbsp of sauce mixture, grated garlic and ginger paste. Mix it well and set it aside.
- Fry the rice sticks in the hot oil for a few seconds until the noodles are puffed and crispy. Remove from oil, place it over a paper towel, and set it aside.
- Heat the large wok/pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and add the minced meat. Flatten the meat at the bottom of the wok and let it sear for 1-2 minutes then flip and continue stir fry for another 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Then remove from wok and set it aside.
- In the same pan, drizzle more oil, add the onions and saute for a few seconds. Next, add the carrots and water chestnuts and follow with the mushrooms.
- Now, place the cooked chicken back in the wok, and pour the sauce mixture in. Toss everything well for 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Finish with spring onions.
- Place the lettuce leaves on the serving place. Scoop the stir fried fillings over the lettuce leaves, sprinkle crushed peanuts and spring onions. Add the fried rice sticks on the side. Wrap it into a roll and enjoy!
- Protein - We use chicken thigh mince in this recipe. Traditionally, Chinese Yuk Sung ( San Choy Bow ) is made with pork mince ( ground pork ). You can add your choice of minced meat, chicken, pork, or beef.
- For vegetarians - Mashed firm tofu, paneer, and Quorn vegan mince meat are great options if you want to make it vegetarian. Substitute oyster sauce with vegetarian stir fry sauce or hoisin sauce.
- Lettuce leaves - We usually use, romaine, little gem, or iceberg lettuce.
- Vegetables - Feel free to add your favourite of stir fry vegetables. Vegetables should be cut in the same size, small cubes. Make sure not to overcook the vegetables to keep the crunchy texture.
- Water chestnut - comes in a tin/can, you can buy it at supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. Turnips, jicama, bamboo shoots, and daikon can be substituted instead of water chestnuts.
Made it yesterday. Absolutely loved it. First time trying water chestnuts, I got it from Asda. Didn't add any rice sticks but still yummy. Definitely trying more recipes.
So glad that you enjoyed it, Martha. Thanks for trying out and sharing feedback with us.
Seems like a perfect appetizer for kids!
Thanks, Stephanie. Hope you enjoy this recipe. My son absolutely loved it without peanuts and water chestnuts.
Zulma Lozano says
Made ir with many of your ingredients, really good!
Happy that you enjoyed it, Zulma. Thanks for sharing feedback.