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Hello, and welcome to My Kitchen and I. Every year I choose a cuisine to explore. This year, it's the year of the Snake! And I'll be continuing to cook mostly Asian foods, particularly Chinese dishes. Have I finally found the best cuisine in the world? Come explore and cook with me and let's find out. Please feel free to share your stories and comment on anything you see here, and thanks so much for visiting. Hope you enjoy the Year of the Snake in food!

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cucumber pork stirfry

The garden has gone gadzooks out there, and I'm overflowing with Chinese cucumbers. I made a few sushi vinegar-sesame cucumber salads, which I really like, and discovered that Chinese cucumbers are crisper and crunchier than what we're used to.

They're also WAY more prolific.

I had a bushel basket or so left, and had eaten all the cucumber salads I wanted for awhile. That started me wondering. What else do Chinese people do with cucumbers? So I checked in with Aunt Google. Landsakes was I surprised. It seems the more normal way to eat cucumbers in Asian countries is to cook them in a stir-fry!

Do what you say? Cook cucumbers? Are you nuts!?!

I will admit I was very dubious at first, and I am a little bit nuts, too, so looking at this bushel basket full of cucumbers, I decided what the heck? Why not, if I don't like it, I don't have to do it again.

Let me tell you I will be doing this again soon. Like tonight soon. Stir-fried cucumber is not just good. It's GREAT.

These are amazing! How come we've never done this with a cucumber before? If you can get your hands on a Chinese cucumber at the market, you have just got to give this a try.

Pork Cucumber stirfry

First get a batch of fluffy white rice going, then chop up the cucumbers and any other vegetables you like into bitesize pieces, like so:

I did sweet gypsy peppers, yellow squash, cucumber, a little minced ginger, minced garlic and a handful of Thai basil. So fragrant! Oh and hot peppers, too. Of course. I like everything hot hot hot.

Marinate the pork in a mixture of equal parts soy and cornstarch, just enough to coat the pieces of meat. I'd say about 1 T of each will coat four servings of meat about right.

For sauce, measure out 4 T of yellow bean sauce (see left for characters) for about four servings. Add a tablespoon of xiao xing wine to your sauce. This is very similar to sherry.

Mix water and cornstarch separately, to serve as a thickener if needed.

Now that everything is assembled you're ready to go. If you've got a wok great, but don't sweat it if you don't. A heavy cast iron skillet can work. Position it so half is over the fire and half is not. That way you have a cool spot and a hot spot.

I like to stirfry the meat first. Once it's about halfway done, I push it to the cool spot. Then I add the longest cooking vegetables first, stirring them quickly around in the hot spot until they just start to brighten. Off they go to the cool spot where I mix them in with what's already there. I keep adding each vegetable, using the same process, until finally I've got it all in the pan together.

I stir fry the garlic and ginger last in a bit of oil on the hot spot, taking care not to cook more than 30 or so seconds. Garlic makes a burned rubber smell when stirfried in vegetable oils after about 60 seconds. (but not so in butter!)

I stir everything all around together and then dump in the beanpaste sauce. After it bubbles up, I add a little cornstarch mixture to thicken as needed. About this time, I hear an unexpected knock at the door and who is it? It's my neighbor, Peggy. Just in time for dinner!

I served this over rice, and both of us were amazed at just how good a stir-fried cucumber really is!

4 comments:

  1. I'm looking for a Recipes For Stir Fry that I can prepare for our dinner tonight. My relatives will visit our home tonight and I need to prepare a special recipe. I think this is the recipe I'm looking for. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  2. Hi Jane, thanks for commenting. Hope you and your family enjoyed the stir fry as much as Peggy and I did. :)

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  4. Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.

    ReplyDelete

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