Chinese lettuce is also known as "woju" or "wosun," is a popular and versatile vegetable in Oriental cuisine. Its tender leaves and mild flavor make it a great ingredient for various dishes.
In this article, we will learn how to cook Chinese lettuce in different recipes, allowing you to infuse your meals with the authentic taste of China.
Look for fresh lettuce with vibrant green leaves that have almost no signs of wilting or discolouration. Baby Chinese lettuce is more tender and sweeter in comparison to normal lettuce, which makes it perfect for salads and stir-fries, while mature Chinese lettuce works well in braised or steamed dishes.
It is essential to clean the lettuce properly. Gently rinse the lettuce leaves under cold running water and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. After washing, trim the bottom of the lettuce head and separate the leaves, discarding any damaged or tough ones.
Stir-frying is one of the most common methods of cooking Chinese lettuce. For this recipe, heat some vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Add some minced garlic and ginger, then sauté it for a minute until fragrant.
Then toss in lettuce leaves, and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes until they begin to wilt. Season with soy sauce, pinch of sugar, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Finish by sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds on top for added texture and nutty flavor.
Chinese lettuce can also be cooked as a soup. Begin by preparing a chicken or vegetable broth as the base of the soup. Then in a separate pan, lightly stir-fry Chinese lettuce with a little oil and garlic until slightly softened.
Add the stir-fried lettuce to the broth and let it simmer for a few minutes to infuse the flavors. Enhance the soup with sliced shiitake mushrooms, a splash of rice vinegar, and a pinch of white pepper. For a protein-rich option, consider adding some sliced chicken or tofu cubes to the soup.
Steaming Chinese lettuce parcels is an elegant and healthy way to enjoy this leafy green. Take large lettuce leaves and fill them with a mixture of minced pork or shrimp, finely chopped water chestnuts, scallions, and a blend of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ginger.
Carefully wrap the filling inside the lettuce leaves and secure them with toothpicks. Steam the parcels for approximately 15 minutes until the filling is fully cooked and the lettuce leaves turn tender and translucent.
For a refreshing and crunchy lettuce salad, shred Chinese lettuce and toss it with julienned carrots, cucumber slices, and bean sprouts. Prepare a zesty dressing by combining soy sauce, rice vinegar, a hint of honey, and a splash of sesame oil. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together. Garnish with roasted peanuts and cilantro for an extra burst of flavor.
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