Cooked cucumber? Yes, and its delicious. Oyster sauce is my go to stir fry sauce, and although any mixture of veg will do, I like to stick to one and cucumber is a favourite. Cooked for only a minute or two, it stays crunchy and its grassy freshness is the perfect foil to the sticky, salty sauce.
The sauce is based on a Ching-He Huang recipe which is fairly adaptable. I’ve used chicken thighs here but prawns, beef, pork, firm tofu would all work. Likewise the choice of veg is fairly open but it should be something that’ll cook in the briefest flash of a pan.
Chop the chicken into bite size chunks. Stir through a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a teaspoon of light soy sauce, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.
Chop a chilli, a lump of ginger and two cloves of garlic. Slice half a cucumber lengthwise then scoop out the middle with a teaspoon and slice.
Fry the ginger, garlic and chilli in a good slurp of groundnut or vegetable oil over a high heat for a minute then add your meat and brown. These chicken thighs took about 5 minutes to cook through, if the pan starts to dry out add a slosh of rice wine (or water if you don’t have it) and let bubble away. Throw in your prepared cucumber and another good dollop of oyster sauce and stir to heat through.
Sprinkle with chopped spring onions, drizzle with sesame oil if you like and serve with rice, noodles, whatever takes your fancy. A big bottle of oyster sauce will keep in the fridge for an age so you can always have the wherewithal to make this with whatever else you have to hand.