Yellow cucumbers, really large, heavy and firm melons, have a crisp, cool flesh and mild taste. They are often stir-fried or used in soup, where they give a distinctive flavour to the broth. If pickled, the cucumber is often eaten unpeeled. Being a “cooling” food, it is considered beneficial to the body during hot weather. Thus, I was not surprised to see it on the Huang family table one summer evening even though I personally consider it an equally excellent winter food. Served with pork and the family’s own homemade chilli paste, yellow cucumbers made a good light stir-fried dish. They can be found at Asian markets; if unavailable, use the more familiar green cucumbers which come a close approximation in taste.
Cut the pork into thin slices, about
Peel the cucumbers, split them in half lengthways and with a spoon, scoop out the seeds, then finely slice the flesh crossways.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil, then the chilli bean sauce, garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, chilli flakes, and salt and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Then add the pork, and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Put in the cucumbers and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, vinegar, and sugar. Continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Serve at once.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.