March 13, 2021  Print
I am a big fan of using cucumbers and shrimp together. Previously, I made Jade Shrimp using these two ingredients. Today’s recipe, Stuffed Cucumbers (镶黄瓜 Xiang Huang Gua), also include these two ingredients, but in an entirely different way. Cucumber chunks, acting as containers, are stuffed with ground pork and shrimp paste. After steaming, the dish takes on a new form in terms of texture and aroma. The cucumber becomes extra soft and smooth while the stuffing is tender and savory. The natural juices released from the cucumber combines with the flavor of both pork and shrimp, resulting in a mouth-watering dish.
This Stuffed Cucumber looks super fancy, but is actually very easy to make. There are quite a few different versions of this dish. Some stuffed cucumber recipes use only ground pork, while others only use shrimp. I like mine with half ground pork and half shrimp. The pork adds more aroma and the shrimp adds more umami and texture to the dish. But for dietary reason, or if you happen to have only pork or only shrimp, you can use just one of the two as your stuffing (I’ve done that before and both versions taste great). Everything else remains the same. Once stuffed, it takes only 10 minutes to cook in a steamer.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4 people
- 1 English cucumber1
- 1/4 lb (~110g) ground pork2
- 1/4 lb (~110g) uncooked shrimp2 (peeled and de-veined)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine (or rice wine or sake)
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger
- Peel and mince the ginger (the finer the better).
- In a medium bowl, add the 1/4 lb (~110g) ground pork, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of Chinese cooking wine, and minced ginger. Thoroughly mix everything in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Let stand for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
- Use a cleaver to chop the shrimp into a paste. Put the shrimp paste in a small bowl and add the rest of the 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, mixing well.
- Peel the English cucumber and cut into equal-length chunks (each about 1 inch (3cm) to 1.5 inches (4cm) long). Use a small knife or a large piping tip to remove the core of each cucumber chunk. Lay the hollowed cucumber chunks on a plate.
- Heat a steamer or a large pot with a steamer rack under medium-high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, combine the shrimp paste with the ground pork from step 2, mixing thoroughly. Then use a small spoon to scoop the pork and shrimp mix into the hollowed cucumber chunks. When the cucumber is filled, add a little more stuffing to cover the top (as shown). Repeat until all the cucumber chunks are filled.
- When the water in the steamer begins to boil, gently transfer the stuffed cucumber to the steamer. Cover the lid and maintain a medium-high heat for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes are up, uncover the lid and carefully transfer the dish to a padded surface. Let cool for 1 or 2 minutes before enjoying.
- If you can’t find an English cucumber, you can use American cucumbers instead. You might need 2 or 3 since they are much shorter.
- As I mentioned in the introduction, if you don’t have both ground pork or shrimp, or for other dietary reasons, you can use only one or the other as your stuffing. All the other condiments remain the same.