This is a super easy recipe and delightfully versatile. I often cook a double batch and freeze half for later in the week. Or, you can make a double batch and serve in lettuce cups tonight, then use the left over San Choy Bow simply served on top of noodles or rice the following night!

The bamboo shoots and water chestnuts add an extra crunch and flavour, and are readily availablen nowadays from supermarkets. But you can just leave them out if you can’t find them.

This is the basic recipe, scroll to the bottom to find some options to snazz up your San Choy BowSan Choy Bow recipe


Basic San Choy Bow

Cuisine: Asian
Author: The Nutrition Guru and The Chef
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4


  • 500 grams mince. Try pork (our favourite), chicken or turkey
  • 1 small can sliced bamboo shoots – optional (available from Asian section in all supermarkets)
  • 1 small can water chestnuts – optional (available from Asian section in all supermarkets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or your favourite cooking oil)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 whole spring onions sliced thinly plus one extra spring onion to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 small carrot (either diced finely or, grated if you wish to hide it from little people)
  • 1/8 cup Chinese cooking wine (optional, available from Asian section in all supermarkets. The cooking process burns off the alcohol content. You can also simply use equal quantity of water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or you can substitute with cornflour)
  • 4 whole lettuce cups to serve or rice or noodles


  1. Remove your lettuce cups from the lettuce, keeping them whole
  2. Place in a bowl of cold water while you are making the san choy bow
  3. Open the cans of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and drain the water. Set aside
  4. Slice the 2 whole spring onions, onion and dice the carrot finely. You can also finely grate the carrot which works well if you want to make the dish kiddie-friendly. Set aside
  5. Grate your ginger and garlic and set aside (or you can simply use store-bought, already minced)
  6. In a large pan, on high heat put the oil and let the oil heat
  7. When hot, place the onion, carrot and spring onion in the pan and cook until light brown stirring frequently
  8. Add the minced garlic and ginger and continue to stir
  9. Add the meat to the pan, breaking it up with a fork or knife to ensure it cooks evenly. You may need to add more oil to the pan to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan
  10. Continue to stir and cook until meat browns.
  11. Add the Chinese rice wine. This is to deglaze the pan. Quickly using your wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to lift up all the delicious caremelised flavours from the bottom of the pan
  12. Now add the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and continue to stir. If you find the mixture sticking to the bottom, turn the heat down to medium
  13. Now it is time to add the sauce – Add the soy sauce and honey and stir
  14. Mix the arrowroot powder into the 1/4 cup water and stir until the powder is dissolved
  15. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir thoroughly. Your san choy bow mixture will start to thicken and go glossy. Be careful now that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
  16. Your dish is ready when the meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened. If you take it too far and the sauce dries out, simple add a splash of water to the pan
  17. Taste your mixture. You may find you would like it to be saltier in which case add more soy. If you find it salty, add some more honey. If you find it needs more flavour, simply add another 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari and 2 tbsp of honey
  18. Drain the lettuce cups and remove excess moisture with a towel
  19. Take the dark green section of your extra spring onion and slice very finely on the diagonal. Set aside as your garnish
  20. To serve
  21. Place 1/4 of your meat mixture inside a lettuce cup
  22. Garnish with the spring onion
  23. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish



  • At the same stage that you add the carrot to the pan, add a large finely diced zucchini. To make it kiddie friendly, you could also grate the zucchini
  • Add a handful of cashew nuts at the same time as you add the¬†bamboo shoots and water chestnuts
  • At the same time as you add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, add a tin of champignion mushrooms (our favourite)
  • Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds for an added crunch and dose of healthy oils


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