Kanako's Kitchen

Ebi Lettuce Itame: Stir-fried Shrimp with Lettuce

Posted in main dish, Recipe, today's meal by Kanako Noda on January 29, 2010

Yes, you read that right, what we have here is stir-fried lettuce. I know it sounds strange, but just trust me on this one. Although the lettuce seems withered, you’ll see it remains surprisingly crunchy and delicious after cooking.

Simply seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh ginger, Ebi Lettuce Itame is a delightfully “assari” dish. This is one of those hard-to-translate terms: it means subtly flavored, delicately textured and light all around.  Japanese culinary culture puts a big premium on this sort of thing – subtle, refreshing dishes that won’t leave you feeling weighed down or overstuffed. I guess this isn’t necessarily that fashionable in Western cooking, but in Japan calling a dish “assari” is high praise indeed.

So when you want something light but still more consistent than a salad, try some stir-fried shrimp with Lettuce.

Ingredients: (for two)

  • Lettuce – a half
  • Ginger – a small piece
  • Shrimp – ten
  • Sesame oil – one tablespoon
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Cut the lettuce and salt it lightly. Let it sit for about 10 minutes while it exudes water.
If the lettuce sweats too much, squeeze the excess moisture out.
  • Slice the ginger in small pieces
  • Shell the shrimp


  1. Heat the sesame oil.
  2. Stir fry the ginger.
  3. When the ginger starts to smell, add the shrimps and stir fry.
  4. When the shrimp change color, add the lettuce.
  5. Stir fry until the lettuce turns soft.
  6. Taste and add pepper and also a little more salt if needed. The lettuce is already salted, so don’t add too much.
  7. Serve hot.

For today’s dinner we had ebi lettuce itame, hijiki nimono and white rice. Assari all around.

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3 Responses

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  1. jae said, on February 5, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I absolutely adore your site and have bookmarked it for inspiration. I usually make traditional homecooked Japanese food 1x a week for us. Salmon Ikura-don is his favorite. I’m trying to master Katsu-don, but I can’t seem to fry the Katsu crispy enough so that it stays crispy underneath the egg-onion mixture. =/

    • kanako said, on February 6, 2010 at 9:23 am

      In Japan some people love katsudon with katsu that is not crispy but instead has been cooked in the sauce. Others prefer it crispy. One thing you can do is pour the egg sauce over the rice first and then place the katsu over the don. That should keep it crispier.
      It’s a matter of taste though.

  2. Lee G said, on December 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

    This looks like it’s going to be good. I can’t wait to try it tonight. I hope you still do this blog. I don’t see any recent recipes.

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