Stir-Fried Lettuce with Shiitake Mushrooms

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ShiitakeLettuceThe word for lettuce in Cantonese, “saang choi”, is a homonym for “giving birth to wealth”, and shiitake mushrooms symbolize prosperity. When stir-frying a leafy vegetable, it is important to remove water with a salad spinner until the leaves are dry to the touch. Any excess moisture will cool the wok and turn the stir-fry into a braise.

Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.


  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 medium head of romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1 inch wide pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced


  1. In a small bowl combine the rice wine, broth, and soy sauce. In a separate small bowl combine the salt, sugar, and pepper.
  2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottom wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the ginger and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the ginger is fragrant.
  3. Add the lettuce and mushrooms, sprinkle on the salt mixture and stir-fry 1 minute or until the lettuce begins to wilt.
  4. Swirl the rice wine mixture into the wok and stir-fry 1 minute or until the lettuce is crisp-tender and the mushrooms are just cooked.