Easy Chicken San Choi Bao

I've never been a fan of long shopping lists for a recipe and I think this is why I eat so many salads! When I create a recipe with more than a handful of ingredients, there's one strict caveat...

It must be capable of turning into other dishes & leftovers.

Let's get real here, if we're going to invest in more than a couple of good ingredients then the recipe must deliver two/three/four-fold.

Don't you agree?

Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch
Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch

Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch

San Choi Bao has got to be one of the most recognisable Chinese dishes and with my version, one of the simplest, tastiest and most nutritious options out there.

I remember the first time I ever tried this dish as a kid in our family-favourite Chinese restaurant; I kind of lost my mind.

The texture, the flavours, that memorable crunch of lettuce and sauce running all down your hands. Refreshing, satisfying and seriously tasty.

In my version the sugary and preservative-containing sauces are removed as well as the cooking wine; too many bits and pieces and you know I'm all about simplifying and removing additives wherever I can.

So that will result in the san choi bao not being as glossy as you'd expect in a restaurant though don't let that fool you - the taste is still off the charts!

Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch
Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch

A key (and tangible) difference between my version of this dish and the traditional variety is that you won't have sauce running down your hands - it's simply too good to waste!

Why have I used chicken thigh mince over breast?


It's way tastier.

You know the breast is the driest part of the chicken? When you're cooking a dish such as this, the more juice and taste, the better!

However if you can't locate it, breast will work just fine.

Bamboo shoots, if you haven't bought them before can be found in pretty much any supermarket. You may need to visit the Asian-speciality aisle to locate them and they're inexpensive so never fear!

This recipe feeds 4 grown humans however if you're solo, or a two-some, I urge you to still make this quantity and either reserve the remaining lettuce cups for tomorrow or repurpose the san choi bao mixture.

It's delicious served with noodles (even cold at work) or popped into a salad mix.

I've also mentioned a quinoa option below for those who think they might find themselves hungry after such a dish - this option rocks too!


Chicken San Choy Bow
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
yield: 4
  • 4-8 lettuce cups (cos or iceberg)
  • Small (200g) tin bamboo shoots
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g chicken thigh mince (breast
    works too)
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • Sesame seeds, to serve (optional)
  • Sauce
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Wash lettuce and peel off suitable cups
  2. Place in icy water until serving
  3. Drain bamboo shoots and rinse, set aside
  4. Finely dice onion and carrot
  5. Slice shallots
  6. Grate ginger
  7. Heat oil in a large pan on high heat
  8. Once hot, add the onion, carrot and shallots
  9. Stir until lightly browned
  10. Add grated ginger, crushed garlic and stir through
  11. Add chicken mince, breaking up to cook evenly
  12. Once meat is cooked through, add bamboo shoots and stir
  13. Combine sauce ingredients in a glass jar or mixing bowl
  14. Add to pan and stir through
  15. Cook until sauce is thickened and liquid almost cooked off, stirring frequently
  16. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving in lettuce cups
  17. Top with fresh coriander leaves and any leftover shallots
Make double and enjoy as leftovers with noodles tomorrow.
Add 1 cup of cooked quinoa to the finished mixture for additional bulk.


Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch
Chicken San Choy Bow | Nadia Felsch

Make it, enjoy it, post it and tag me #nfeats on Instagram 

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