Blanched lettuce with oyster sauce was a simple side dish my mother used to make often while growing up. It requires only three ingredients to make: lettuce, sesame oil and oyster sauce. A perfect dish for weeknights, as it takes little to no time to make, yet is very satisfying and delicious! It is definitely one of my husbands most requested vegetable dishes.
My mom used to use ice berg lettuce, but I use romaine lettuce because I love how the long stalks are easier to rinse and prep. I usually get them in sets of 5 from Costco!
What’s amazing about this dish is that the same recipe can be applied to Chinese broccoli (Chou sum) or even regular broccoli and be equally as tasty! The hint of sweetness of these vegetables pair remarkably well with the Unami flavor of the oyster sauce. I can also see this being yummy with asparagus.
Sometimes, you will even see this dish served in dim sum restaurants.
It is best eaten fresh right after its made, while the lettuce is still crisp, green and crunchy. We rarely have leftovers here at our house, but when we do, I love eating it cold, as a side dish with plain congee. You can leave the oyster sauce as it is when you slowly drizzle it on or choose to gently mix it it. Not too much so that it gets mushy. I especially love the little salty and sweet specks of oyster sauce that gets trapped in the creases of the lettuce! If you overmix, the specks will be dissolved, though it’ll still taste fine.
Allergen Note* If you have a shellfish allergy, I would probably stay away from this dish as oyster sauce does contain oysters in it (though I don’t really taste it). You can use soy sauce or soy paste instead and it’ll still be yummy!
Romaine lettuce (or substitute for broccoli, Chou sum or ice berg–I used 5 stalks and made it in 2 batches)
Sesame oil (to drizzle- approximately 1-2 tsp)
1- Boil a pot of water to fit the amount of lettuce you plan to cook.
2- Wash/rinse romaine lettuce and cut (I use food safe scissors directly in the large pot I plan to mix it in) into big size pieces (not too small as it gets overlooked easily )
3- Throw them in the boiling water and blanch for a few seconds (2-5). Not too long or it will get mushy!
Note* Be careful not to put to much oyster sauce in one spot– and not put too much at all because I made that mistake once and it was way too salty.
Note* Think of making this dish, as you would if you were making an olive oil and balsamic dressing. Not too much to make the lettuce too wet. Just enough to coat everything or a little less to begin with especially if it’s your first time making this. A little sesame oil and oyster sauce goes a long way!
5-Either eat as it is spreading the sauce around gently, as you pick up each piece to eat (dabbing some of the oyster sauce lettuce piece onto a piece without oyster sauce) OR very gently toss with tongs or chopsticks– there should still be tiny specks of oyster sauce like the photo below.
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