Prawn San Choy Bow

Recipes | Marinating | Stir-Frying | Yum Cha Serves 6 as an entrée Prawn San Choy Bow

While this popular Chinese dish is usually made with minced pork, this seafood version is a delicious variation… feel free to experiment with different vegetables too, such as bamboo shoots, baby corn or oyster mushrooms, anything that will add good texture.


1 iceberg lettuce
1.5kg green prawns, peeled, deveined and diced
6 shiitake, finely chopped (see notes)
1 small carrot, finely chopped
8 water chestnuts, finely chopped
100ml vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 green onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Shaoxing (see notes)
¼ cup oyster sauce            
1 tablespoon thick soy sauce    
1 teaspoon cornflour, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

1 teaspoon castor sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten    
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil    
2 teaspoons sesame oil


Remove outer lettuce leaves and reserve for another dish. Cut out and discard the stem of the lettuce, hold lettuce under cold running water and gently remove 12 intact outer leaves. Trim into neat ‘cups’, put in a large bowl of iced water and refrigerate until needed.

Make Marinade: combine all ingredients
Stir marinade vigorously through the prawn meat until well combined. Stir through shiitake, carrot and water chestnut. 

Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and cornflour mixture.
Heat wok, add oil, then garlic and green onions, stirring for 30 seconds. Add prawn mixture and toss for a couple of minutes, until prawn turns pink. Add Shaoxing and stir for a minute or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add oyster sauce mixture, stirring until it boils and thickens slightly.

Drain lettuce cups, fill with prawn mixture, wrap and eat.


Shiitake are Asian mushrooms available fresh from many fruit and vegetable shops; if they are unavailable use oyster mushrooms.

Shaoxing is Chinese rice wine, available from Asian grocery stores.

Alternative species:

Bugs, Cuttlefish, Marron, Rock Lobsters, Squid.

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