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Celtuce or Stem Lettuce Recipes and Serving Suggestions

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Celtuce, chicken and ham turmeric fried rice with fried egg

Celtuce, chicken and ham turmeric fried rice with fried egg

What Is Celtuce?

Celtuce is a vegetable developed from lettuce, a fact which explains many of its alternative names including but not limited to stem lettuce and asparagus lettuce. In Southeast Asia, where it is particularly popular and used extensively in cooking, it is known as wosun. The leaves of the plant do resemble certain other types of lettuce but the mottled stem is more reminiscent of the celeriac bulb. The leaves are perfect for including in a wide variety of salad recipes, while the peeled stem is surprisingly soft in texture and mild, almost citrus like in flavour.

Celtuce is also known as stem lettuce or by a number of other different names

Celtuce is also known as stem lettuce or by a number of other different names

While it is rare at the present time to find celtuce in mainstream supermarkets in the West, it can regularly be found in Chinese or other Asian markets. It will keep for several days in the bottom compartment of your fridge.

Separated celtuce stem and leaves

Separated celtuce stem and leaves

The leaves and stem of celtuce can be used either in the same recipe or separately. To prepare for cooking or including in food, simply cut the leaves away from the stem, at which point they can be separated and washed. The bottom end of the stem should be cut away and discarded before the remainder of the bulb is peeled with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.

Peeled and cleaned celtuce stem and leaves

Peeled and cleaned celtuce stem and leaves

Note that it is best to peel the celtuce stem at the last minute before use, otherwise it will oxidise and darken in colour. This will not spoil it for use but it may affect presentation. If you have peeled stem left over, put it in an airtight dish and in to the fridge and use as soon as possible.

Spicy Sauteed Celtuce and Brussels Sprouts with Pan Fried Cod and Turmeric Potatoes

Chilli spiced sauteed celtuce and Brussels sprouts with turmeric spiced cod and potatoes

Chilli spiced sauteed celtuce and Brussels sprouts with turmeric spiced cod and potatoes

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ready in: 35 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 medium Brussels sprouts
  • Salt
  • 6 medium sized baby new potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (1 for potatoes and 1 for dusting fish)
  • 2 tablespoons plain (all purpose) flour
  • Black pepper
  • 4 to 6 ounce cod loin fillet
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ medium celtuce stem
  • 1 ounce (¼ stick) butter, plus extra for potatoes
  • ½ teaspoon medium chilli powder
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and carefully add the sprouts. Adjust the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the washed but unpeeled potatoes in half across the way and add them to a large pot with a teaspoon of ground turmeric and some salt. Pour in plenty of cold water and bring to a simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Drain the sprouts and let them steam off for a few minutes before covering and setting aside to cool completely.
  4. Ten minutes before the potatoes are due to be ready, scatter the flour on a plate and season with the remaining turmeric, some salt and black pepper.
  5. Pour a little oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat.
  6. Pat the cod fillet in the flour, ensuring even coating. Shake gently to remove any excess and lay it in the pan to fry for three or four minutes each side until done.
  7. Put the ounce/¼ stick of butter in the pot used to boil the sprouts and season with the chilli powder and some black pepper. Put the pot on a low to medium heat to melt the butter.
  8. Peel and moderately finely slice the celtuce stem and add to the melted butter with the sprouts. Stir around for a minute or so just to effectively heat through, taking care not to burn the butter.
  9. Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot. Let them steam off for a minute or two before adding a little butter and some black pepper. Swirl the pot gently to ensure all the pieces become evenly coated in the butter.
  10. Lift the cod carefully to a serving plate with a fish slice and arrange the potatoes and sprouts/celtuce alongside.

Celtuce and Celery Balsamic Salad with Cheddar Cheese and Cream Crackers

Celtuce and celery balsamic salad with cheddar creese and crackers

Celtuce and celery balsamic salad with cheddar creese and crackers

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: n/a

Ready in: 5 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • ½ medium celtuce stem
  • 3 or 4 small celtuce leaves
  • 1 stick of celery
  • ¼ small red onion
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • 2 ounce piece cheddar or similar hard cheese
  • 3 crackers
  • Butter (optional)
  1. Peel the celtuce stem and finely slice. Wash the leaves and also finely slice before adding both to a mixing bowl.
  2. Wash, top and tail the celery stick and slice to a thickness of around a quarter inch. Finely slice the peeled onion quarter and add both to the bowl with the celtuce.
  3. Measure out the balsamic vinegar in to the bowl, season with some black pepper and give a careful stir to combine.
  4. Cut the cheese in to small cubes and arrange on one half of a serving plate with half the salad spooned either side. Plate the crackers. Butter for spreading on the crackers is optional.

Stir Fried Chicken, Celtuce and Bell Peppers

Stir fried chicken, celtuce and bell peppers with prawn crackers

Stir fried chicken, celtuce and bell peppers with prawn crackers

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 small skinless chicken breast fillet
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ medium celtuce stem
  • ¼ small white onion
  • Handful mixed bell pepper slices
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celtuce leaves
  • Light soy sauce
  • Prawn crackers to serve
  1. Chop the chicken breast in to approximately three-quarter inch cubes.
  2. Peel and finely slice both the celtuce stem and the white onion quarter.
  3. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a very hot wok and when the oil has come up to heat, add the chicken and stir fry for an initial muinute.
  4. Add the onion, celtuce and peppers and stir fry for a further minute.
  5. Add the celtuce leaves and season with a generous splash of light soy sauce. Give a final thorough stir and serve on a plate with the prawn crackers.

Chicken and Celtuce Fusilli Pasta

Chicken and celtuce fusilli pasta

Chicken and celtuce fusilli pasta

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ready in: 20 min

Yields: 1 serving


Ingredients

  • 1 coffee mug full of fusilli pasta
  • Salt
  • 8 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small skinless chicken breast fillet
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celtuce leaves, plus extra to garnish
  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water up to a rolling boil. Add the pasta, stir well and adjust the heat to achieve a moderate simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the tomatoes in to a small saucepan. Season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. Stir well with a wooden spoon and bring to as gentle a simmer as possible.
  3. Slice the chicken in to three-quarter inch strips. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a little oil in a small non-stick frying pan and fry the chicken strips for two to three minutes each side until done.
  5. Drain the pasta and allow to steam off for a few minutes.
  6. Lift the chicken strips to a plate and cut in to small bite sized pieces.
  7. Add the pasta, chicken and tablespoon of celtuce leaves to the sauce and stir fold to combine. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl and garnish with the last of the chopped leaves.

Hot and Spicy Tomato, Brussels Sprouts and Celtuce Soup

Hot and spicy tomato, Brussels sprouts and celtuce soup

Hot and spicy tomato, Brussels sprouts and celtuce soup

Cook Time

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 1 hour

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 celtuce stem
  • 1 medium red chilli
  • 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pints fresh vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped celtuce leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves
  1. Wash the sprouts, trim away any damaged stalk ends and add them to your soup pot.
  2. Wash and trim the celery stalks and roughly chop. Peel and roughly chop the celtuce stem and add both to the pot with the sprouts.
  3. Cut the top from the chilli and discard. Cut it in half from top to bottom and carefully remove the seeds with the point of a sharp knife. The membranes were left in place in this instance as they contain the majority of the heat but they can be removed if desired. Roughly chop the chilli and add to the pot.
  4. Pour the tomatoes in to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour in the vegetable stock and put the pot on to a high heat. Stir well.
  6. When the liquid reaches a simmer, cover and maintain the simmer for fifteen minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for twenty to thirty minutes to part cool. This is simply because it is never a good idea to add boiling liquid to a blender or food processor.
  7. Blend the soup (in batches if necessary) until smooth and return to the washed out pot. Put back on the heat and stir in the celtuce and celery leaves. bring to a simmer and taste before adjusting the seasoning if necessary. It is now ready to be served with the remaining celtuce leaves as garnish.

Celtuce, Chicken and Ham Fried Rice

Celtuce chicken and ham fried rice is served with a fried egg

Celtuce chicken and ham fried rice is served with a fried egg

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ready in: 35 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (½ cup) basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • 1 small skinless chicken breast
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 slice leftover cooked ham (around 1 tablespoon when finely sliced/chopped)
  • ½ celtuce stem
  • 1 egg
  • Chopped celtuce leaves to garnish
  • Light soy sauce
  1. Wash the rice well through a fine sieve and add it to a large pot. Season with the turmeric and some salt.
  2. Pour plenty of boiling water in to the pot and simmer the rice for ten minutes before draining well through the sieve. Spread it out on a large plate and leave it for 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Break the egg carefully in to a small cup or bowl and season with a little salt. Wipe a small, non-stick frying pan with a little oil and put it on to reach a medium to high heat.
  4. Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in to your wok and bring it up to a high heat.
  5. Carefully pour the egg in to the frying pan and after a few seconds (when it has started to hold its shape) reduce the heat to low.
  6. Dice the chicken to bite sized pieces and stir fry for a minute or so in the hot wok before adding the sliced celtuce stem and ham to stir fry for a further minute.
  7. Add the cooled rice to the wok along with a generous splash of light soy sauce and stir well before transferring to a deep serving plate.
  8. The egg is ready when you can see the white has set all the way around the yolk. At this stage, lift it carefully to a plate with a spatula.
  9. Use a drinking glass as a template by laying it over the egg with the yolk in the centre and trimming around the edge with the blunt edge of a knife.
  10. Lift the egg on to the fried rice and garnish with the celtuce leaves.

© 2018 Gordon Hamilton