Chinese Wine-Braised Lettuce

wine braised lettuce.jpg

I realized that I do not often share recipes for Chinese or Taiwanese food, which is the food I grew up eating, mainly because this is the food I cook from heart and from the heart, without recipes.  But in a class I taught recently for a group of really nice people (thanks for inviting me, Meagan!), I included this very simple recipe for iceberg lettuce braised in Chinese rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. Humble iceberg lettuce becomes something new and luxurious in this recipe.  And while many think of iceberg as a flavorless and nutritionally devoid “diet food,” reconsider it.  Really, there is no vegetable or fruit that is “worthless.”  Iceberg, while admittedly less nutrient dense than dark green leafy vegetables, is a source of fiber, as well as vitamins A (good for skin, eye and bone health) and K (for blood clotting and strong bones).

And in this preparation, it makes a delicate vegetable dish which carries the warming flavors of the sauce, delicious over a bowl of steamed rice.

Chinese Wine-Braised Lettuce

Adapted from April 13, 2009 Saveur



1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. rice wine or dry sherry

¾ tsp. sugar

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ tbsp. peanut, vegetable or canola oil

4 scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1″ pieces

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ medium head iceberg lettuce, cored, outermost leaves discarded, inner leaves torn into 4″-wide pieces

Kosher salt, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine or sherry, sugar, and pepper; set sauce aside.
  2. Heat a 12″ skillet over high heat. Add cooking oil, scallions, and garlic and cook until garlic is golden, about 5 seconds. Add lettuce; cook, stirring occasionally, until lettuce softens slightly, about 1 minute. Drizzle in sauce and cook until lettuce is just coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt, as desired, then place on a serving platter.

Nutrition Info:

71 cal, 3 g carb, 7 g fat, 1 g protein, 62 mg sodium, 2 g sugar


Interested in learning new ways to cook vegetables? Join me in the Thrive Kitchen! Now registering for 10/17 Everything Pumpkin and 11/7 Creative Thanksgiving Sides.  To register, call 415-833-3450 or email ($30 KP members, $40 non-members).  If you’re not in the San Francisco area, you can still join our Facebook community at  To your health!

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