The dish features stir-fried cucumbers with wood ears and bean threads, creating a delectable Chinese vegetarian cuisine that can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main course with some steamed rice. The combination of crunchy, chewy, and crispy textures in each bite is a delight for the palate.
Rich in Cucumbers?
We found that cucumbers were one of the most simple summer vegetables to cultivate. We cultivate it annually. However, every summer, there comes a time when it looks like there are so many cucumbers that nobody knows what to do with them.
By then, we will have eaten them raw in every conceivable form, including countless salads, sliced as snacks, and whole.
Stir-fries, such as Moo Shu Pork, benefit greatly from the addition of cucumbers. When cooked, their flavor is enhanced even further.
It’s a wonderful alternative to making a boring old salad using the summer’s bumper supply of cucumbers.
If you haven’t cooked cucumbers before, this recipe is a simple and delicious way to do so.
Bean Threads and Wooden Ears
Bean threads and wood ears, two of the key ingredients in this dish, may be foreign to you. Let’s have a speedy discussion about these.
Bean threads are the skin that forms on top of heated soy milk and is also known as dry bean curd sticks or yuba (the Japanese equivalent). This layer floats to the top of the soy milk, which is removed, shaped into sticks, and then dried.
Truly resembling ears in appearance, wood ear mushrooms are a species of fungus that thrives on wooden surfaces. They’re strangely crispy to the bite and feature plenty of crevices to catch the sauce.
Both of these items can be located in the dry goods sections of Chinese supermarkets.
- 3 ounces of reconstituted dried bean threads (AKA yuba)
- 1 large seedless cucumber (sliced in half lengthwise; thinly sliced diagonally)
- 0.5 ounce of dried wood ear mushrooms (soaked 2 hours until reconstituted; rinse of any sand)
- 2 slices of ginger
- 2 scallions (white and green parts separated, 2-inch lengths)
- 2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water)
- 1 teaspoon of spicy bean sauce
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- Leave at most a couple inches of the bean threads.
- Prepare a boiling pot of water. When the bean threads and wood ears have been reconstituted, add them to the boiling water and let them stay there for 90 seconds. Drain and put away.
- Oil, spicy bean sauce, ginger slices, and scallion whites should be added to a wok and heated over medium heat.
- To make the oil crimson and release the aroma of aromatics, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, and continue cooking for another 15 seconds.
- Turn the heat up high and throw in the wood ears and blanched bean threads. Saute for one minute on high heat. First, place the cucumbers in the center of the wok, and then surround them with the Shaoxing wine. Cook in a wok for 30 seconds on high heat.
- Mix in the sugar, oyster sauce, and light soy sauce. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Keep stirring-frying until the sauce has completely coated the vegetables. Combine the scallion greens into the mixture.
- To serve, transfer the wilted greens from the wok to a serving platter.