Pork and Mushroom San Choy Bau 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Apr 11, 2017

Here, the dish you'll often find offered as an appetizer at Chinese restaurants is made in an entree-size quantity. Mushrooms bulk up and enhance the flavor of the pork, which is seasoned simply and served, refreshingly, in lettuce cups.

Pork is the ground meat of choice here, because we like its fat content for flavor (typically 20 to 25 percent). We tested this with ground dark-meat turkey and the mixture was a bit drier.

This is the kind of dish that comes together quickly, so that's why we're doing all the prep upfront.

Serve with steamed rice.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 or 2 small red "finger" chiles or bird's-eye chiles
  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
  • Low-sodium soy sauce or dark soy sauce
  • 2 heads gem lettuce, "artisan" small-head lettuce or 1 small head iceberg lettuce


Peel the ginger, then mince it. Crush the garlic cloves. Stem and seed the chiles (to taste), then mince them.

Stem the shiitakes; coarsely chop all the mushrooms or cut them into very thin slices. Cut the white and light-green parts of the scallions on the diagonal into thin slices.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the ginger, garlic and chiles. Stir-fry for 20 to 30 seconds. Add the remaining oil and the mushrooms. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, or until they have released their moisture, then discard the garlic. Add the ground pork; stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, breaking up any large clumps, until it loses its raw look.

Add the Chinese rice wine and season with the soy sauce (to taste); reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. The meat should be cooked through.

Meanwhile, separate the lettuce leaves, rinse, pat dry and place on a platter.

Transfer the pork mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve right away, with the lettuce leaves.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Harvest: 180 Recipes Through the Seasons,” by Emilie Guelpa (Hardie Grant, 2017).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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