Stir-fry iceberg lettuce is a tasty dish when done right. The gravy is inspired by an Instagram post of Chef David Chang of Momofuku. Using the natural sweetness of honey, the savouriness of the dish is further amplified. Optionally, a bit of chilli is added for its fragrance and spice. Stir-frying vegetables may seem boring but this recipe is a definite keeper especially when you are in the mood for a tasty healthy meal.
Is it OK to stir-fry iceberg lettuce?
This type of lettuce is mostly eaten raw but it is also great as a stir-fry dish. The lettuce itself does not have much taste but it does a great job soaking up the flavours of the gravy. The trick is to have a tasty gravy or else it will end up a boring veggie dish.
The lettuce can be rather soft when overcooked. I prefer it crunchy. If you do too, do not cook it for too long. The recommended time is sufficient.
Important tips when stir-frying vegetables
Like with the stir fry sweet potato leaves recipe, you have to cook this dish over high heat. During cooking, the lettuce will release some liquid. So it's crucial to never add water even though you might be tempted to especially when the lettuce are initially added.
The dish may look dry at the beginning. Continue to sauté and let the lettuce do its work. You will be surprised by the amount of water released after some time. The high heat helps to quickly heat up the gravy and “braise” the vegetables allowing it to cook.
With meat or seafood
The dish can be whipped up with chicken, prawns or any meat of your choice. It is a good base recipe for a one pan dish to serve with white rice. Do sauté the meat first before adding the vegetables as they take longer to cook. This helps to ensure that the meat will be fully cooked.
Fully vegan dish
While this quick veggie stir-fry is not a vegan dish as it uses fish sauce, you can easily replace it with soy sauce for the umami substitute.
Must chilli crisp oil be added?
No. However, adding chilli crisp oil is recommended by Chef David Chang and I love it! If you are not a fan of spicy dishes, then opt to not use any. A dash of chilli oil will also do the trick. You may add more dried chillies to replace chilli crisp oil.
Other types of lettuce
Try this recipe with any type of lettuce. They generally absorb flavours very well, so you can never go wrong. In fact, give it a try with other types of vegetables too. Using this recipe, my personal favourites are cabbage, romaine and napa cabbage. For some added texture and taste, mix in some carrots or capsicums.