Soy Milk–Braised Romaine Lettuce

Infusing soy milk with dried mushrooms, makrut lime leaves, and piquant ginger creates a deeply flavorful braising liquid for romaine lettuce.

Soy Milk–Braised Romaine Lettuce

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Total Time:
15 mins
4 servings

This quick and easy side dish relies on an earthy, aromatic blend of mushroom seasoning, makrut lime leaves, and ginger to give the mildly sweet soy milk braise a punch of flavor. The slightly wilted lettuce is garnished with umami-packed ingredients like mouth-numbing mala oil and charcoal salt. Cooking the lettuce fast is key, so be sure to preheat your wok until smoking.

Mushroom seasoning can be found at most specialty grocery stores or online at Mala oil is a spicy Szechuan chile sauce that creates a numbing sensation. Find it at specialty Asian grocery stores or online at


  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning (see Note)

  • 4 leaf makrut lime leaves

  • 3 (1/8-inch-thick) fresh ginger slices (from 1 [1 1/2-inch] piece fresh ginger)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 12 ounces romaine lettuce leaves, separated (from about 1 1/2 heads)

  • Mala oil (see Note), scallion oil, charcoal salt, and salted roasted pepitas, for garnish


  1. Stir together soy milk, evaporated milk, mushroom seasoning, lime leaves, and ginger in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until mixture is steaming and flavors are infused, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and discard lime leaves and ginger.

  2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high until smoking. Add lettuce, and cook, stirring often, until leaves just begin to wilt, 30 to 40 seconds. Add milk mixture, and cook, tossing often, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and transfer lettuce to a platter. Garnish with mala oil, scallion oil, charcoal salt, and pepitas.

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