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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 Comments Post a comment
  1. Looks fabulous.
    🙂 Mandy

    November 29, 2012
  2. Looks yummy. My sister sometimes uses snow peas and add other types of mushrooms…those long with tails…

    November 29, 2012
  3. 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.

    November 29, 2012
    • Cucumbers are quite commonly cooked in Chinese food. I like the crisp result here but my wife wasn’t keen on it 😦

      November 29, 2012
  4. I have eaten a dish similar to this, only it’s with Chinese squash. I will have to try it with cucumbers. Thanks for letting me know about another option!

    November 29, 2012
    • My pleasure. What sort of squash exactly… Winter Melon or Bitter Melon perhaps?

      November 29, 2012
  5. I’ve got to stop reading this blog when I’m hungry! Everything looks so good!

    November 29, 2012
  6. Jayne #

    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!

    November 29, 2012
    • I haven’t tried the fermented beancurd yet … maybe I can pick some up next week on Ottawa!

      November 29, 2012
  7. 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?

    December 1, 2012

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