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Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili

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From “Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge,” by Grace Young

Stir-fried lettuce is an auspicious dish to serve for Chinese New Year, birthdays, and graduations. The Cantonese word for lettuce, saang choi, is a homonym for “growing money.” In China, lettuce is a popular vegetable to eat in the summer months, enjoyed for its yin, or cooling, attributes. Romaine lettuce is well suited for stir-frying because the quick, intense cooking accentuates its natural sweetness.

Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.



  • 2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeño chili pepper, with seeds
  • 1 medium head of romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide pieces (about 1 pound)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper


    1. In a small bowl combine the rice wine, broth, and soy sauce.
    2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the garlic and chili, and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lettuce, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the lettuce begins to wilt. Swirl the rice wine mixture into the wok, cover, and cook 15 seconds. Uncover and stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the lettuce is crisp, tender and bright green.
Photo by Flicker user u m a m i / CC BY-NC 2.0

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

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