Stir Fried Cucumbers with Dried Shrimp
One of the techniques that I love in Asian cooking is the use of seafood -- whether fish, shrimp, fish sauce and so on -- as the foundation of flavor for a dish. You find it quite commonly as the basis of both Korean and Japanese soup stocks, as well as innumerable other dishes, not to mention the ubiquitous use of fish sauce in Southeast Asian cooking.
As I'm learning about Chinese food, I find myself gravitating toward dishes like this one, where a simple, delicious vegetable is given another flavor dimension with the addition of a seafood umami component, such as dried shrimp. I don't often cook with dried shrimp, and if you don't either, don't be afraid. They're great to have on hand to experiment with.
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 large. long cucumbers, like an English cucumber
- cooking oil
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- Soak the dried shrimp in 1/2 cup warm water for an hour or longer. Drain the shrimp, but keep the water.
- Peel the cucumbers, slice in half lengthwise and the scoop out the seeds. (One of the advantages of English cucumbers -- fewer seeds than regular cucumbers). Chop them into narrow strips, about 2" long or so.
- Bring a wok to high heat, then add the cooking oil. Let the oil heat for a bit, then add the drained dried shrimp, and let them flavor the oil.
- Add the cucumbers, shrimp water, salt and sugar. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat, or until liquid has mostly reduced.
- Taste, add more salt, or a little light soy sauce if you like. This makes a great humble meal with rice.
Serving Size: 2
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Preparation Time: 20 minutes