Briefly blanched lettuce topped with a tasty, sticky sauce, iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce is a classic Chinese dish that gives plain vegetable an appetizing tone.
What do you associate with lettuce? I guess most of you would say a refreshing, healthy bowl of salad. Do you know it’s also very nice when cooked and served with Chinese oyster sauce? Today I’d like to introduce one of the most popular Chinese vegetable dishes: Iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce (蚝油生菜).
Blanched lettuce remains crunchy
Some people wrongly assume that lettuce with oyster sauce is a stir-fry dish. Actually, the leaves are blanched in water. Timing is crucial. Nothing is worse than a plate of soggy lettuce. So make sure you keep some of its crunchiness. Here is my tricks to achieve the best result:
- Tear a head of lettuce into big pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil then turn off the heat. Immerse lettuce in hot water then cover the pot.
- Leave for 1 minute then drain immediately (it takes less time if you are blanching a smaller amount of lettuce).
Oyster sauce can be “vegetarian”
Now what you’ve got is lettuce pieces that are wilted but still a bit crunchy. Next, prepare the tasty, smooth and shiny sauce. It’s mainly made of oyster sauce, a versatile Cantonese sauce which gives a wonderful flavour to plain vegetables. Obviously this lettuce with oyster sauce dish can not be considered as vegetarian since it contains oyster extracts. But I’ve got good news! If you wish, use vegetarian oyster flavoured sauce instead. It’s made from the essence of shiitake mushrooms and tastes nice too.
Garlic provides another key flavour. Use thinly sliced pieces if you fancy a nice look, or crush the garlic if you’d like to enhance the garlicky taste. But no matter what, be generous with it!
The same idea applies to other vegetables
This classic lettuce with oyster sauce demonstrates how you can cook vegetables in a very simple yet delicious way. Iceberg lettuce is used in the traditional version, but I found romaine lettuce works very well too. In fact, you can blanch other vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, snow peas, pak choi, then serve with the same sauce.
Give it a try if you find my recipe interesting! You can also find many other classic Chinese recipes on my PINTEREST page. Follow me and stay tuned!
Have a wonderful day!
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