Saturday, May 28, 2005

KyUrI CuCuMbEr

I love the coolness and crunchiness of cucumbers and one of my favourites is the Kyuri or the Japanese cucumber. I find the local cucumber a bit bland and some have a bitter aftertaste. It's totally distinct from the local cucumber with it's dark green skin and it is curved and skinny compared to the fatter local pale green cucumbers. The kyuri makes a wonderful healthy snack as you can eat it raw (no bitterness). Besides eating them crudite style, the Japanese mainly use kyuri to make vinegared dishes as an appetizer in their meal or pickles due to it's crunchy nature.

If I am not eating them raw, I like to stir fry them with fresh shitake mushrooms or sliced fish cake if they are available in my fridge. This softens the kyuri a bit but there is still a crunch to it. For the dish below, the minced garlic is fried till fragrant, then add the chopped fresh shitake mushrooms and kyuri to stir fry. The mixture is then left to simmer in a splash of water, some oyster sauce and soya sauce to taste. Usually I use 10-15 minutes but check on how cooked is the kyuri and the mushrooms as you may prefer it to be softer or crunchier. Dish up and enjoy.

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