Which destination of my far flung travels does this tasty gem come from? Well how many of you have heard of Sutton Coldfield?
Sorry, I’d love to be able to tell you that I learnt of this delicious mince dish from ancient monks in some lost mountains of China, as incredible as that would be, I have to confess that I first tasted this meal at a Chinese restaurant in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.
What made this so special, was the fact that I was in a restaurant with my parents, yet I could eat my food with my fingers. The delicious mince is best served on a crisp piece of lettuce, rolled up and stuffed into your mouth…without losing a finger.
You can pick up pretty much all the ingredients from your local supermarket, however, I’d take the opportunity to make a trip to an asian supermarket to not only get better quality ingredients but will most probably be cheaper.
What you’ll need (this feeds four)
- 1 iceberg lettuce (we’ve tried other lettuce and iceberg is best)
- 500 g minced pork (you can use chicken)
- 1″ cube of fresh ginger diced finely
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 spring onions (scallions) chopped finely
- 1 celery stalk diced finely
- 1 (220 g) can water chestnuts chopped roughly (don’t leave these out, key ingredient)
- 1 tbls dark soy sauce (the light stuff won’t work as well)
- 2 tbls oyster sauce
- 1 tbls dry sherry (the alcohol burns off so its safe for kids)
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tbls sesame oil
Knocking up the meal
- Prepare the iceberg lettuce to begin with by carefully breaking the lettuce up leaf by leaf. Discard the outer leaves (two at most) and then carefully wash each leaf, you want to keep the leaves whole and in tact as these will be your plates later.
- Now mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, dry sherry and sugar in small bowl and put to one side.
- Add 1/2 tbls of sesame oil into your wok (frying pan) and heat until smoking slightly. Add the garlic, ginger, and spring onions, fry until they start to colour. Now add the minced pork (or chicken) and cook until browned. Remove this mix from the pan and save in a bowl.
- With a little sesame oil, add the key ingredient to the wok, the water chestnuts (do not substitute with chestnuts of any other kind). Fry for a minute or so and then add the celery, cook for a couple of minutes, you still want crunch from the water chestnuts and celery. Now add the special sauce you made earlier.
- Allow the sauce to reduce a little, five minutes max and then add the pork back into the pan. Fry until the mix becomes dark and sticky…but not burnt. Your deliciousness is now ready.
- Serve up the pork mix in a bowl, hand out the lettuce leaves and watch your guests enjoy scooping up spoonfuls of the pork, rolling it up on the green stuff and taking bites. The groans of enjoyment will be enough conversation.