Stir-fried Chicken and Cucumbers

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    servings as a main dish

Appears in

When cucumbers are briefly cooked, as in this Stir-fry, they retain much of their fresh coolness and crunch. Fresh red chile streaks the dish with color and heat, while a mild sweet-sour sauce ties it all together. It’s a bit like eating a hot salad.



  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • teaspoon ground white pepper


  • cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground white pepper


  • 1 large cucumber (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 small fresh chile (preferably red), such as jalapeño or Fresno, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons thinly slivered fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • cup water


For the Chicken

  1. Cut the chicken into strips ¼ inch thick, 2 inches long, and ½ inch wide. In a small bowl, mix the chicken with the oil, cornstarch, soy sauce, and white pepper.

For the Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, mix the water, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, salt, and white pepper.

For the Stir-fry

  1. Peel down the length of the cucumber, alternating a ½-inch strip of green skin alongside each peeled strip for a striped effect. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut each half in half lengthwise. Cut each quarter diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices; discard the ends. Cut the chile in half lengthwise. For less heat, scrape out all or some of the seeds and veins. Thinly slice the chile crosswise.
  2. Set a 14-inch wok or 12-inch frying pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, after about 1 minute, add the oil and rotate the pan to spread. Add the ginger and garlic; Stir-fry until the garlic begins to brown, about 15 seconds. Add the chicken mixture. Stir-fry until the chicken begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cucumber. Add the water and Stir-fry until the cucumber is barely tender to the bite but still retains some crunch, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the sauce mixture and add to the pan. Stir-fry until the sauce boils, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chile to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.