Recipes > Tempeh Lettuce Wraps | San Choy Bau

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps | San Choy Bau


These delicious lettuce wraps are filled with garlic-ginger scented tempeh, fresh water chestnuts and mixed vegetables.
  • Serves: 2 to 4
  • Active Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Views: 20,975
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

Preparing Your Mise en Place
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 can (8oz) water chestnuts*
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 300 gr tempeh, cut into small pieces**


To prepare your mise en place, first prepare all of your ingredients.

Next, drain the water chestnuts and cut into small dice. Remove the leaves from the lettuce and keep whole. Rinse and pat dry. Set everything aside.

*Note: If you can, use fresh water chestnuts. They are superior in flavor and texture. To prepare the water chestnuts, simply cut off the top and bottom and peel the exterior with a vegetable peeler. Place into cold water to prevent them from oxidizing. Drain and dice just before using.

**Note: If desired, crumbled firm tofu or even diced mushrooms can be used instead of tempeh.

Step 2: Making the Sauce

Making the Sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce*
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry or Shao Hsing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek, or to taste


To make the sauce, simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Note: Vegan oyster sauce is typically labelled as Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce.

Step 3: Cooking & Serving the Dish

Cooking & Serving the Dish
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil (or grapeseed)
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • green onions, cut on the bias (optional)
  • cilantro, for garnish (optional)


To start the dish, heat wok over high heat and add the oils, followed by tempeh. Toss and fry the tempeh until it starts to turn golden on all sides.

Remove the tempeh from the wok and add the red peppers and water chestnuts and cook for a minute or so.

Next, add the garlic, ginger and green onions and let cook for another 30 seconds or so — being careful not to burn the garlic.

At this point, add the tempeh back to the wok and add the sauce around the edges of the wok. Stir to coat the ingredients in the sauce. Let simmer for a couple of minutes, until the liquid reduces and thickens.

To serve the lettuce wraps, scoop a bit of the tempeh mixture into a lettuce cup. If desired, top with some green onions and a few sprigs of cilantro. Serve with additional sambal, if desired.

Chef's Notes

San choy bau is typically served as an appetizer. To turn this into more of a substantial meal, add a bit of steamed rice to the wrap (or serve on the side). Season with more sambal oelek or soy sauce to taste.


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