San choi bow is a Cantonese dish which I’m sharing today for no other particular reason other than it makes an excellent autumn lunch, and can be made almost entirely with ingredients grown in the Northern Valleys Region.

For those readers who may not be aware – local produce is my penchant, and as owner of the Northern Valleys Locavore Store in Bindoon, I am always on the hunt for recipes which can be made using ingredients grown with 100kms of the store. Whilst I love local, I am also a huge fan of Asian food and cooking styles, and the primary non-locavorian items in my pantry are soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese rice wine or Shaoxing, along with my favourite Chinese noodles. I’m yet to find a suitable alternative, and still perplexed as to why we can make our own rice noodles quite the same here in Australia (nor our own local pasta for that matter!)

This recipe is my simplified version of this classic Chinese starter which has as many permutations as spellings.

I like to use free-range chicken mince, as although I’m a fan of our local Kusha Hill Pork grown in Dalwallinu, I just don’t choose to dig on swine more than once in a while. And perhaps I have Pulp Fiction to blame for that.

In Cantonese the words ‘Sang Choi’ describe lettuce and ‘Bao’ means ’to wrap’ – so the dish is a fairly literal translation of a lettuce wrap. I find that Cos lettuce from Loose Leaf Lettuce Co works very well, although you can use any type really. It’s so super-quick that it almost qualifies as fast food, which scores extra points.

It’s also quite gluten free and easy on the waistline. I hope you’ll give it a try, if you haven’t before! If it’s one of your favourites, I’d love to know your version! Happy Autumn cooking…


A few spring onions or half a red onion

500gm free-range chicken mince,

freshly harvested garlic and ginger,

cos lettuce and fresh bean shoots

Cooking oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce (if you like it)


Fry up chopped onion in some sunflower or peanut oil. When the onion is just translucent add the chicken mince, grated ginger and minced garlic. Stir fry over medium heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and 1 or two tablespoons of soy sauce (to taste) Stir through until cooked.

Add the fresh bean shoots at the end and fold into mixture so they stay crunchy.

Spoon the mixture into the lettuce leaves and serve on a tray with sweet chilli sauce. Best eaten straight away!