Pork san choi bao recipe

This San Choi Bao recipe is inspired by Julie Goodwin’s recipe in The Heart of the Home. I put my own spin on the recipe to add a darker, richer and saltier note that really resembles Chinese takeout!

This recipe is definitely one to add to the weekly dinner repertoire because its not difficult to make but is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Serves 4 (two lettuce cups each)


  • 500g pork mince
  • 8 lettuce leaves (washed)
  • 3 x cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 227g water chestnuts (1 tin) finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce*
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour dissolved in 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • Pinch of sesame seeds for sprinkling


  1. Combine the sesame oil, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a small cup ready to use for cooking;
  2. Dissolve the cornflour in ¼ cup of water and put aside;
  3. Do not add the dark soy sauce to the other sauces – leave this separate for later.


  1. Finely chop: garlic, water chestnuts, green onions;
  2. Sauté garlic and chilli flakes in a hot pan/wok with a tablespoon of peanut oil until fragrant;
  3. Add the pork mince and water chestnuts. Stir for a couple of minutes until pork is mostly cooked;
  4. Add the sesame oil, oyster sauce and soy sauce at the same time. Once stirred through, stir the cornflour & water mixture before adding to the pork and cook until most liquid has evaporated;
  5. Add tablespoon of dark soy and tablespoon of sugar at the end for a dark, caramelised colour and flavour;
  6. Taste and add sugar to balance saltiness. It shouldn’t taste sweet but should just round off the saltiness of the stir fry sauce. Add more or less to taste.
  7. Take off the heat and let cool for a few moments. Stir through the green onions;
  8. Serve in individual cups and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for presentation.

This recipe will keep in the fridge for around 3 – 5 days. The mixture (without the lettuce cups) can also be frozen and defrosted when required.

If you’re out of lettuce, I also love eating this pork mince with rice.

*Dark soy sauce adds a darker, richer colour and flavour to the recipe and is a great ingredient to have in the fridge. If you can’t find it, just add an extra teaspoon of regular soy sauce to the 2 tablespoons.

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