To be honest, I am relatively new to Celtuce. And by new, I mean I only just realized that this vegetable I’ve eaten many times since childhood is in fact a lettuce and not part of the broccoli family. Sacrilege, right?? See, despite being of Chinese heritage, I am 3rd gen and do not speak a lick of Chinese. I can read some Chinese characters but only because I speak Japanese and can read some of the Chinese kanji. Weird combo, but that’s me! Anyway, all the millions of times I had a vegetable called Wosun (celtuce in Chinese), I thought I was eating something related to kailan or broccoli. Now that my friends are growing all my Asian veggies for me, it wasn’t until last year that I realized my “Good Chinese Boy Card” has been revoked.
Celtuce is a variety of lettuce which is coveted for its long, meaty but tender, big honkin’ stem. Sure you can eat the lettuce leaves at the top- and indeed they make a wonderful stir fry- but its the stem you really want. When steamed, braised or stir fried, the stem yields a tender and mild addition to any dish or on its own. Think of it like a young broccoli stem but even softer, tastier and absorbs flavor ten times better.
Now that you know my dirty secret, I’m going to share my one of my most favorite ways to eat Celtuce, with eggs. While that may in fact be my favorite way to eat anything, I am particularly fond of these tender stems with custardy scrambled eggs, seasoned only with sea salt, fried garlic, perhaps a chili pepper and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce just before serving. It literally takes just minutes to make and is- quite frankly- particularly lovely as breakfast on top of a bowl of rice!
Wosun (Celtuce) with Garlic & Eggs
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side
1 large Celtuce Stem and hearty ends of the leaves. Approx. 1.5-2 cups– All leaves removed, rough end cut off, stem peeled, quartered lengthwise (or halved if you have a small stem) and cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces.
2-4 Eggs– I mean, 2 is fine, but 4 is best. Depends on how much you love eggs.
4 cloves Garlic– Thinly sliced
1 dried Chili Pepper-I always go for a Japanese Togarashi pepper
Sea Salt to taste
A drizzle of Sesame Oil to taste
A drizzle of Soy Sauce to taste
This will only take a few minutes.
Heat up about 2T of canola oil in a wok or cast iron pan. Toss in the whole chili pepper and stir fry until fragrant. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add the prepared celtuce pieces and cook for about 2-3 minutes until tender. Whisk your eggs and pour them in slowly in a spiral from the outer edge of the pan inwards, covering everything. Sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt, then gently fold the egg in until it is just set, then turn off the heat, transfer to a serving plate and drizzle your sesame oil and soy sauce on top just before you serve. Definitely eat this with rice yummmm. If you are like my husband or Beyonce, take your hot sauce out of your bag and have this with a chili sauce or sambal.