I decided that my whole roasted cauliflower would look a bit naked sitting in the middle of a plate. A ring of stir fried cucumbers would make a nice compliment, both in color and texture. This dish would also fit in with Myr’s soft food diet and Chris’ Ketogenic diet.
This is another of those dishes that we were served in Chengdu, Sichuan. In America we had always eaten our cucumbers either raw or pickled. It simply would not have occurred to me to fry something like a cucumber. However, because of the dangers of using night soil as fertilizer, the Chinese cook almost all of their vegetables.
This may not be the exact recipe we were served, but it is close to the taste I remember. One reason for this is that I have found no American source for unprocessed rapeseed oil. This very strongly flavored oil is used in Chendu for most of their cooking. It tasted very odd when we first arrived in China, but now nothing tastes quite “right” without it. In America, it is thoroughly processed and is sold as the tasteless “canola oil.” This is pure marketing, what American would buy something called “rape oil.”
Karl’s Spicy Stir Fried Cucumbers
2 English cucumbers
2 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1. Peel and roll cut the cucumbers into bite sized pieces.
Tip: For this dish I like to roll-cut the cucumbers. Take a diagonal slice from the cucumber and then roll it a quarter turn. Take a second diagonal cut. The cucumber piece will be wedge-shaped on one side and rounded on the other. This is a more interesting shape that simple round or half moon slices. Continue rolling and cutting until done.
2. In a sauté pan, or wok, stir fry the cucumbers in the oil over high heat until translucent (about 5 minutes).
Tip: Normally I would use peanut oil (which add a bit of flavor), but for Chris and his keto diet I am using canola oil.
3. Add the chili sauc, ginger, sesame oil, and salt to the pan. Toss to coat the vegetables and stir fry for one minute more.
4. Serve immediately.