Chinese lettuce, also known as celtuce or asparagus lettuce, is one of the more exotic varieties of lettuce. With a unique taste that blends the flavors of summer squash and artichoke, Chinese lettuce has a 95 percent liquid content and is a good source of minerals and vitamins. Its leaves are soft, unlike the crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce. You can add Chinese lettuce to stir-fry dishes, use it for garnishing soups and to create healthy and flavorful wraps.
Use Chinese lettuce as an ingredient in stir-fry meat, vegetable and rice dishes. Add a few leaves of shredded lettuce as the final ingredient in the stir-fry when the meal is almost done, to prevent them from overcooking.
Finely shred Chinese lettuce and add as a garnish in soups. Use your fingers to tear a few lettuce leaves and mix in the soup when it is almost ready. Cook for a maximum of two minutes, as the lettuce will lose its flavor and wilt if cooked longer. You can also add the shredded lettuce garnish to the soup just before serving.
Prepare an appetizing wrap with Chinese lettuce. Create a savory filling for the wrap by combining fine slices of boiled chicken, pork or beef with lightly fried vegetables such as onions, bell peppers and sprouts. Season the filling by sprinkling a few dried or fresh herbs and spices such as mint, cilantro and chili. Prepare the wraps by scooping two tablespoons of the filling on the Chinese lettuce leaf. Alternately, serve the filling and the Chinese lettuce leaves separately side-by-side, so that everyone can assemble their own wrap.
Soak Chinese lettuce leaves in cold water to prevent the edges from browning and to keep them from wilting during the warmer months.