Friday, April 25, 2014

Spicy Stir-fried Cucumber

Americans don't usually eat cooked cucumber. But, it's very tasty cooked, holding onto its crunch and absorbing flavors readily, like stir-fried zucchini. It cooks in a flash - just enough time to heat it up is enough.

Spicy Stir-Fried Cucumber
(serves 4, costs $2.40)

2 cucumbers
1 Tablespoon oil
½ red pepper, diced (optional; it adds nice color)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
1-2 Tablespoons minced JalapeƱo chile
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Peel the cucumbers. Cut off the very ends; they tend to be bitter. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Cut them into 1/8's lengthwise (so cut in half again, then once more). Cut the strips into 1-1½" pieces.

Heat a wok or skillet until very hot. Add oil, ginger, garlic, and chile. Stir fry for 10 seconds, then add cucumber and red pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute. Sprinkle on soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: Other spicy things - Chinese chile sauce with garlic, Siracha sauce, serranos - can be used instead if you want more spicy punch. JalapeƱos are fairly tame, by chilehead standards.

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