Arthur Schwartz ...The Food Maven
The ultimate source on all things food, from NYC to Italy
Cantonese people are extremely fond of iceberg lettuce. It's strange, because this lettuce can't even begin to measure up to the nutritional profile of most Chinese vegetables. In Hong Kong, stir-fried iceberg is extremely popular, and only the Cantonese could make iceberg delicious. The iceberg attains sweetness from the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine, and only takes three minutes to stir-fry. Bok Choy is also delicious cooked in this manner. This recipe from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young could prove to be a lifesaver next time you think there aren't any vegetables in the house to cook for dinner.
Stir-Fried Garlic Lettuce
makes 4 to 6 servings as part of a multi-course meal
1 medium head iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Core the iceberg and separate into leaves. Wash the lettuce in several changes of cold water, breaking the leaves in half. Drain thoroughly in a colander until dry to the touch.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, and pepper.
Heat a 14-inch skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add vegetable oil and garlic, and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add the lettuce and stir –fry 1 minute. Add salt and stir-fry another minute or until lettuce is just limp. Swirl in sauce and cook 1 more minute, or until lettuce is just tender and is still bright green.