Craving a flavorful stir-fry but don't want to use the same old vegetables? Look no further than a Chinese Lettuce Stir Fry! A flavorful and unique take on a classic Asian dish, filled with crunchy vegetables and a savory sauce. So grab your wok and let's get cooking!
Why You'll Love This Celtuce Recipe
- Different - this isn't your typical stir fry, enjoy the amazing flavors of Central Asia, perfect with Lagman which is in the style my mom made it
- Easy - like all stir frys, quickly fry and serve (with an video to help you)
- Veggie Packed - healthy, filled with vegetables like Celtuce, Green Beans and Bell Peppers
What is Chinese Lettuce?
Chinese Lettuce or Celtuce, is a crunchy and delicious green stem vegetable, perfect to stir-fry. Not a lettuce in the traditional western sense, but the stem is peeled like a carrot before using. It has many names, commonly called Asparagus Lettuce, Stem Lettuce, Celery Lettuce. In Russian, we call it Спаржевый салат. This is not your iceberg lettuce!
Not easy to source, but usually found in Asian grocers. Grown widely in China (called woju), made in a Stir Fry, salads, or pickled. Celtuce has a nutty, cucumber taste that's mild, which pairs perfectly with strong flavors.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Chinese Lettuce or Celtuce - 3 peeled stems, ok to use more
- Garlic Scapes - adds an amazing flavor and texture (can skip if hard to find)
- Green Beans - perfect to stir fry
- Red Peppers - use Bell Peppers, add sweetness to balance flavors
- Onions - yellow or white onions
- Garlic - a whole head, the more the merrier
- Beef - sliced thinly for a stir fry
- Tomato Paste - crucial for flavor and color of sauce
- Chinese Black Vinegar - the secret ingredient that makes this recipe taste so amazing!
How to Stir Fry Chinese Lettuce
- Prepare Vegetables - chop vegetables into small pieces, keep celtuce, scapes and beans roughly the same size. Thinly slice red peppers and capsicum into thin strips. Mince the head of garlic.
- Stir Fry Vegetables - Using a wok or large pan, fry the vegetables one a time, adding 2 cloves of minced garlic in the last minute before removing. Do not stir fry the red peppers in advance.
- Stir Fry Beef - Fry beef strips until cooked. Add garlic, pinch of salt and toss and fry for 1 minute.
- Finish the Stir Fry - Add tomato paste to beef and cook for 2 minutes. Add Chinese Black Vinegar and mix. Toss through red peppers and return the rest of the cooked vegetables and mix together. Add boiling water, mix and adjust salt and Chinese Vinegar as per taste.
How to Serve Stir Fried Chinese Lettuce
All Stir Fried Vegetables are served over a starch. Best when served over thick, hand pulled Lagman noodles, but that's impossible to find (unless you make them from scratch! Here are some alternatives.
- Udon Noodles - preferred noodle for this recipe, sold in frozen packs - just need to be quickly boiled before serving
- Soba Noodles - made from Buckwheat, earthy flavor
- Hokkien Noodles - wheat noodles, great with stir fry
- Rice - fluffy steamed rice is easy to make, and already in your pantry
Chinese Black Vinegar
Chinese Black Vinegar is the hero flavor of this celtuce recipe. There are many varieties of Chinese Black Vinegars, but they don't all taste the same. Made from glutinous rice, black sticky rice or sorghum with millet, all resulting in a unique flavors. Which Chinese Vinegar is best? Here are my suggestions.
- Greatwall Black Vinegar - the most flavorful vinegar, made with millet and sorghum. Versatile, perfect for braised meats, stir fries, broth, noodles and marinades - take the time to source this vinegar!
- Shanxi Vinegar - made with sorghum, barley and grains, a premium vinegar in China. Fermented, malty taste, perfect to serve with noodles
- Chinkiang Black Vinegar - made from glutinous rice, used for dipping dumplings or in sauces, easily found in most Asian supermarkets
- Chinese Red Vinegar - a substitute for Black Vinegar, made in Fujian China from red yeast rice. Best for dipping dumplings or wontons
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Chili Garlic Sauce - you'll love the fresh flavor kick of Chili Garlic Sauce, or add homemade Lazadhzan Chili Sauce
- Extra Vinegar - Chinese Black Vinegar is always served on the table with this stir fry. Add more to adjust flavors to your own plate
- Garlic Scape Substitute - use Chives or Garlic Chives, or you can skip completely, just add extra green beans
- Make it Vegetarian - skip the meat, substitute with tofu or just add extra veggies
- Fridge - place in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within 5 days. To re-heat, place in a wok or frying pan and heat through. Alternatively microwave for 2 minutes, adding 30 minutes incrementally if needed.
Asian Recipes You'll Love
- How to Cook Snow Peas
- Lagman Hand Pulled Noodles with Stir Fry
- Grilled Chicken Wing Skewers
- Chinese Roast Duck in Master Stock
- Asian Noodle Salad - Funchoza
- Zucchini Stir Fry
- Chinese Chicken Wing Stir Fry
A tasty recipe using the popular Chinese vegetable; Stem Lettuce, Chinese Lettuce or Celtuce. You'll love the combinations of vegetables balanced with garlic and Chinese vinegar. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- Wok or large heavy bottom frying pan
- 3 medium stems Chinese Lettuce sliced
- 2 cups garlic scapes chopped
- ½ pound (300g) green beans
- 2 red peppers thinly sliced
- 2 onions sliced
- 1 pound (500g) beef strips chuck steak
- 1 head garlic lots of garlic
- 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
- oil for frying
- salt for seasoning
- Chinese Black Vinegar Great Wall Brand
- Slice chuck steak into thin stir fry strips.
- Peel Chinese Lettuce stems and chop into 2" lengths. Slice each piece into rectangle slivers. Slice into thick matchsticks.
- Chop garlic scapes and green beans into 1½" pieces.
- Thinly slice onions and red peppers.
- Mince 1 whole head of garlic.
Stir Fry Vegetables
- Place 2 tablespoons oil into frying pan on high heat. Fry green beans for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, pinch of salt and toss and fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
- Place 2 tablespoons oil into frying pan on high. Fry Chinese Lettuce strips for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, pinch of salt and toss and fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
- Place 1 tablespoon oil into frying pan. Fry Garlic Scapes for about 2 minutes. Add garlic, pinch of salt and toss and fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
- Place 2 tablespoons oil into frying pan. Fry onions for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
Finish the Stir Fry
- Place 2 tablespoons oil into frying pan. Fry beef strips until cooked. Add garlic, pinch of salt and toss and fry for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste to beef and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1½ tablespoons of Chinese Black Vinegar and mix.
- Toss uncooked red peppers through beef, then return the rest of the cooked vegetables and mix together.
- Pour 2 cups of water into stir fry. Mix, taste and adjust salt or Chinese Vinegar if necessary.
- Serve over Lagman Noodles or Udon Noodles.
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