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Low Carb San Choy Bow Recipe

Low Carb San Choy Bow Recipe
Carly Jacobs

wrote last week about how San Choy Bow is one of my most favourite meals and it prompted me to whip up a batch of my own over the weekend. Here’s my favourite recipe – I ditch the vermicelli and sugary sauces to make it a bit healthier.


San Choy Bow is one of my most favourite meals. It’s easy to prepare, it’s a one pot meal and it’s super easy to reheat the leftovers for quick lunches during the week. My mate, who comes from a meat and three veg family, made this for her parents when they went on a low carb diet and it’s their new favourite meal. They have it at least twice a week. I’ve met heaps of people who are a bit scared of cooking Asian food because they’ve never done it before but trust me. Just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine! I promise this will become a new family favourite.

Low Carb San Choy Bow Recipe
A quick, easy and healthy low carb san choy bow recipe. Perfect for left overs lunches.
Serves: 6
What You Need
  • 1kg of lean beef mince
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2cm chunk of ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 shallots, finely sliced
  • 600 gms of mushrooms, diced
  • Small tin of diced water chestnuts, drained
  • ½ bunch of corriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, washed and divided into individual cups
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • I lime, juiced
  • Crushed peanuts to garnish
What You Do
  1. Heat oil in a large fry pan or wok. Add onions, garlic, chilli and ginger and stirfry until fragrant.
  2. Add beef and stirfry until brown, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add mushrooms and fry for a futher 5 minutes. (NOTE: If the meat has given off a lot of liquid, you can drain some at this point, but make sure to leave some so as not to make the meat too dry.)
  4. Add sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, water chestnuts and chopped herbs. Mix through.
  5. Serve beef in fresh lettuce cups and sprinkle with crushed nuts.
  6. NOTE: If you're taking this to work or school the next day, keep your beef, lettuce and nuts seperate and assemble them at lunch time after you've heated your beef.


If you’re on the hunt for some more healthy dinner ideas check out these Smaggle favourites.

Mushroom and Spinach Low Carb Lasange

3 Easy Make Ahead Lunches for Work

Low Carb Beef Lasange

3 Vegetarian Dishes That Carnivores Will Give Up Steak For

low carb san toy bow recipe

This recipe is awesome for grab and go lunches… just make sure you pack your lettuce seperately. Soggy lettuce be foul dude.

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What’s for dinner at your place tonight?

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P.S Want more Smaggle? Want it daily? Want it weekly? Take your pick gorgeous!

P.S This post was originally published in 2014 and is now updated


  1. Caz 8 years ago

    I LOVE san choy bau and make it pretty frequently. I’ve never followed a traditional recipe though and just wack it all in a pan. I’ve done tofu, pork, chicken and beef and they’ve all been delicious.

    I’ve never seen it with vermicelli though!

    • Fiona 8 years ago

      I’ve never seen it with vermicelli either…..

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      That’s so bizarre! Every time I’ve had it, it’s been with vermicelli! The ready made packets always have vermicelli in it and the Vietnamese strip of restaurants near me have vermicelli in it too. Bizarre!

  2. Fiona 8 years ago

    I love san choy bau, but wouldn’t use beef mince, probably turkey if I wanted a little leaner than pork or chicken!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I usually only use beef to get my red meat iron quota up if I need it but it’s awesome with turkey and AMAZING with kangaroo mince. 🙂

  3. Bec 8 years ago

    Oh god that looks good. I’ve just regained the ability to eat after being hungover (yes on a Monday, what kind of adult am I?!) and I want this baaaad. I don’t crave grease when hungover.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      We are the exact opposite. I crave gease, salt AND sugar all day when I’m hungover. Thank fully after Dry July and being sick for August I haven’t actually been able to drink enough to get drunk. Win!

      • Bec 8 years ago

        I’m jealous. For a whole year I could drink vodka, wine and gin in the same night if I wanted to and not feel a thing the next day. Then suddenly, the cruel hand of fate flicked a switch and now I get crippled with hangovers. I crave healthy food to reverse the damage I’ve done, this morning I stood in my kitchen scoffing lettuce leaves…

  4. Den 8 years ago

    Thank you for this recipe. It worked & all the family ate it. Den x
    Ps work for hubby so use his email address as can’t be bothered checking more than 1 email address every day.

  5. You had me at San Choy Bow! Although I am quite possibly the world’s messiest eater, so whenever I cook this it gets everywhere! Like tacos without the tacos.

  6. Tahlia Meredith 8 years ago

    Made this tonight with chicken mince – so yummy! Easy, fresh and quick, win-ning 🙂

  7. Yum! This looks fantastic. I love san choy bow, larp etc. but can’t make it at home because the one thing my husband can’t stomach (and he stomachs literally EVERYTHING else) is coriander . . . the critical ingredient! I just have to get my fix when we’re out and about, at least I don’t have to share then 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      NO!!!! I love coriander! It’s a very divisive herb though.

  8. merilyn 8 years ago

    looks great! a great low carb option thanks smags!
    we are having pumpkin soup mr m is cooking it now!
    perfect!;) … love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I’ve definitely got pumpkin soup on the menu this week! Love it!

  9. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid 8 years ago

    Yumbo! That looks delicious! I’m definitely going to have to give this a go!

  10. It’s recipes such as this that makes me yearn for my single days – when I could eat what I want!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Oh me too! When I lived alone I’d make one pot of this Sunday and I was set for the week – it was so much easier to diet when I was single!

  11. I bloody love your recipes. They’re always simple, healthy and delicious. One day, can you please make this lazy wannabe cook’s dreams come true and put all of your recipes in an e-book? I’d totally buy it. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      You might just find yourself with a Smaggle cooking app sooner than you think! x

  12. Vanessa 6 years ago

    Love it! Obsessed with the recipe to be honest!! Thank you thank you, I’m a master chef with this one ??

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