The Elusive Cucumber!!!!!

No matter how hard I try, there is always that one cucumber that likes to play hide-and-seek. When I am looking for it, it is not there and when I am not looking for it, it appears. Not only is it now right in my face, it has passed its prime and is no longer salad material.

No loss, instead I peel, seed, cut it into bite-sized pieces and combine it with whatever vegetables are in the garden at the time and make a stir-fry. Delicious!!!!!

Below is a recipe. Use it as a guide.

STIR-FRIED CUCUMBER & SEASONAL VEGETABLES
Adapted fromMy  Students’ Favorite Chinese Recipes, updated editionby Norma Chang

Ingredients
1/2 pound lean pork, beef or chicken thinly sliced
1/2  teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
2 teaspoons ginger wine (see Ginger & Ginger Wine page)
2 teaspoons soy sauce (regular or gluten free)
In a mixing bowl, combine the above ingredients. Marinate 1/2 hour, if time permits. Can be done the day before and keep refrigerated.

DSC014821/2 – 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into about 1/4″ thick slices
1/2 – 3/4 pounds seasonal vegetables (sliced carrots, onion, cabbage, bok choy, snow peas, red peppers, etc.)
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken broth or as needed
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water
DSC01481Preparations
1. Add 1 tablespoon oil to preheated wok or frying pan. Swirl to coat cooking surface. Add salt and vegetables (see NOTE below). Stir-fry until slightly under desired doneness. Remove to a clean platter.

2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok or frying pan. Add garlic, stir-fry until garlic is lightly browned. Add meat. Stir-fry until meat is cooked, adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time if wok or frying pan is dry and to prevent burning. Add vegetables, mix well. Add remaining broth for gravy. Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Serves 2 – 3.

The vegetables in the above dish are:
From my garden: carrots, Chinese celery, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), broccoli, Chinese chives & garlic
From a garden friend: cucumber
From Locust Grove: asparagus & red onion
The meat is pork.
I knew the cucumber was not waxed, so for color and texture, I peeled every other strip.

NOTES
I like my cucumber crunchy, so I keep it in a separate dish and add it during step 2.

VARIATIONS
Like spicy food? Add 1/4 – 2 teaspoons (or to taste) Asian chile sauce or minced fresh chilies during cooking step (2) with the garlic.

Copyright © 2011 by Norma Chang

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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3 Responses to The Elusive Cucumber!!!!!

  1. beth says:

    This looks yummy! I’m always looking for new ways to use the vegetables in my husband’s garden!

  2. Pingback: The Cukes that Got Away « Garden to Wok

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