One-Pot Wonders

Grace Young's Stir-Fried IcebergĀ Lettuce

April  8, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A near-instant springy green vegetable before the springy greens. (And, yes, you can cook lettuce -- here's why you should.) Note: You can use this technique on many other vegetables in season, including romaine lettuce, spinach, watercress, baby bok choy, asparagus (fat spears sliced 1/4-inch thick on the bias; pencil spears in 2-inch lengths), snow peas and snap peas. Adapted slightly from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Saveur MagazineGenius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral oil
  • 4 scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed
  • 1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce, cored, outermost leaves discarded, inner leaves torn into 4-inch wide pieces (or substitute 12 ounces of other greens -- see headnote)
  • 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 wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add peanut oil, half of the scallions (including all of the white and light green pieces), and garlic and cook until garlic is golden, about 5 seconds. Add lettuce and stir-fry 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, divide between 4 bowls while lettuce is just tender and still bright green, and garnish with remaining scallions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sugartoast
  • drbabs
  • Winniecooks
  • AntoniaJames
  • student epicure
    student epicure
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

11 Reviews

jeacooking February 13, 2023
I read several other recipes for stir fried iceberg lettuce before selecting this one because of the simple dressing. However, I was surprised it did not have fresh ginger in it which I noticed is in other recipes. So, I added a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger a minute before adding the lettuce and I doubled the dressing. It was a super nice side dish for some Asian-inspired chicken thighs. I will make it again, with the ginger, and a big pinch of red pepper flakes.
Hadley April 1, 2019
I made this yesterday-so easy and delicious. Had mine with a fried egg on top and rice.
FS September 19, 2018
I remember this dish from long, long ago. Thanks for featuring this recipe, it's a great one.
Sugartoast April 1, 2016
My mother made this all the time when I was little - it was homestyle cooking at its best. Thanks for reminding me of this dish!
drbabs December 21, 2014
I also added bok choy to the lettuce. What a fabulous recipe--I served it with foxeslovelemons' Spicy Orange-Ginger Chicken.
Winniecooks April 10, 2014
Gotta try this tonight. And, of course, there is nothing better than grilled romaine! Lettuce really can be a marvel!
AntoniaJames April 10, 2014
Made this last night. What a revelation! I had to hunt a bit for iceberg lettuce, as it doesn't seem to be in demand at the places I typically shop for produce. I added a dozen teeny tiny bok choy, sliced lengthwise. Served with the Genius fish (recipe posted last week), over my not-recipe quinoa, plus some roast carrots -- put in the oven to roast when I turned it on to heat it for the fish. Active time, all told, for the entire dinner: about 15 minutes, if that much. A keeper! ;o)
koc April 9, 2014
I just made this as written tonight for dinner and it was delicious! Excellent flavor!
barbara April 9, 2014
Love it! I omitted the sesame and peanut oils and replaced with just a tablespoon of grape seed oil. I know sesame would add great flavor, but I am cutting calories. Still awesome.
Barb168 April 9, 2014
Yummy! I was introduced to stir-fried lettuce when I lived with Chinese housemates, and it is delicious. Sometimes they also added fried eggs and chopped tomatoes to the lettuce (don't know the name of that dish, though).
student E. April 9, 2014
yum! i love stir-fried lettuce! i also make a version with fermented tofu and shaoxing wine.