Pork with Black Fungus and Cucumber

I decided to put together this simple little a preparation in order to illustrate one possible use of the Chinese Black Fungus I featured the other day in a ‘Foodstuffs’ post. Basically, this is a dish that I have cooked many times in the past and it is very simple. It also works very nicely with snap peas or even lettuce in place of the cucumber…

The Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Pork tenderloin cut into slices;
  • 2 small, gherkin sized cucumbers cut on the slant, into slices;
  • 1 cup rehydrated Chinese Black Fungus, trimmed and cut into pieces about the same size as the cucumber slices;
  • 3/4 cup Chicken Stock;
  • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp. Water;
  • 3 tbsp. Rice Wine;
  • 2 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce;
  • 1 ½  tbsp. Sugar;
  • 2 additional tbsp. Cornstarch;
  • 1 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce;
  • ¼  tsp. Salt;
  • 1 pinch White Pepper;
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil;
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic.

For this recipe, I am using the smaller ‘wood ear’ variety of black fungus, as described in the aforementioned ‘Foodstuffs’ post, but the ‘cloud ear’ type would be just fine. I used about a ¼ cup or so of the dried product in order to yield a cup when rehydrated.

The Method

First, mix the chicken stock with the cornstarch/water mixture, the dark soy, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the rice wine. Set this aside for now.

Now mix the meat with the remaining rice wine, salt, pepper, sesame oil, light soy sauce and the 2 tbsp. of cornstarch. Stir well and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to cook, heat your wok or pan over moderate heat and add three tablespoons or so of oil. Once the oil is good and hot, sauté the pork slices in two batches, turning so that they lightly brown on both sides. When all are done, remove them to a bowl for the time being.

Turn the heat to high and then add the garlic. As soon as it releases its aroma add in the fungus and the cucumber slices and toss continuously until they are heated through and the cucumber is just beginning to soften ever so slightly.

Now add the meat back to the pan and toss for a few seconds. Add the chicken stock mixture and continue stirring and tossing until the sauce has cleared and thickened. Serve immediately.

The Verdict

Well…. I liked this a lot but Darlene said that, on the whole, she would prefer it with snap peas then cucumber. Actually, I cut the cucumber slices a little thicker than I have in the past and they remainder crisper with the result that there was a more of a fresh, raw taste left to them. Also, I usually use oyster sauce but, on this occasion I didn’t have any and used a little extra sugar and the rice wine in the sauce instead. It changed the flavor a bit and, as I say, the wife was less keen on it than I was…

 

11 thoughts on “Pork with Black Fungus and Cucumber”

  1. Great idea: cutting the cucumbers thicker to preserve crispiness! I don’t think I’ve ever cooked cucumbers before, I think I will give it a try. I can see it pairing well with the black fungus.

  2. Very good and clever use of black fungus. My mom recently made a braised pork dish with pork belly, ginger, fermented beancurd (nam yee) and cloud ear black fungus. One of our favourite comfort foods. Kudos to you for using this lesser known ingredient!

  3. Oh yum. When I cook cucumbers and wood fungus, I cut the cucumber lengthwise, remove the seeds, and then cut each half on the bias. I tried it once with the seeds, but didn’t like the texture. Maybe I should try it again?

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