If you have only enjoyed cucumber in salads and cold preparations, don’t twist your nose and click away from this post. Give the poor cucumber a chance to shine in a slightly different way. This version was inspired by a recipe from Irene Kuo in “The Key to Chinese Cooking”, published in 1977. It is a huge compilation of recipes, but there are no photos. Back in those days, cookbooks for the most part had very few if any pictures. If that does not bother you, I highly recommend you buy it (click here for ordering info).

(inspired by The Key to Chinese Cooking)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 quarts water + 1/4 cup salt + 1/4 cup sugar, fully dissolved
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil
drizzle of sesame oil
fresh cilantro

Brine the shrimp by covering it with the salt-sugar water for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly, set on paper towels to dry.

Cut the ends of the cucumber, peel it leaving some peel to form a stripped pattern. Slice in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice each half in pieces, not too thin, around 1/4 inch thick. Reserve.

Make the sauce combining soy, sherry, salt, and sugar. Reserve.

Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt, sauce for a couple of minutes, then add the cucumbers and saute everything together for a couple of minutes more. Transfer to a bowl. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan, when very hot add the brined shrimp, cook until they turn pink. Add the prepared sauce, coat well the pieces of shrimp with it, add the reserved mushroom-cucumber mixture. The shrimp should be fully cooked by now, pour the 1/4 cup water in, then the dissolved cornstarch, and cook on high heat until the sauce thickens. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, the fresh cilantro, and serve over white rice.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We will definitely be adding cucumber to stir-fries with other proteins, like chicken and beef. It adds a refreshing note, and the texture is perfect. I see chicken, cucumber and mint in our future. If you need a quick and flavorful option for a weeknight dinner, try this stir-fry and you won’t be disappointed!

ONE YEAR AGO: One Bowl, One Whisk Confetti Cupcakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

THREE YEARS AGO: Phyllo Parcels with Moroccan Turkey

FOUR YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad

FIVE YEAR AGO: Fraisier Cake, A Celebration of Spring

SIX YEARS AGO: Zucchini Frittata with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Playing with Pectinase

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Poached White Asparagus with Lemon and Pistachios

NINE YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard’s Saffron Bloomer

TEN YEARS AGO: Fesenjan & The New Persian Kitchen

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Pasta Puttanesca

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Miche Point-a-Calliere


  1. Yes, a very definite yes – as long as I may buy prawns and deck them with coriander! Use prawns and cucumber together oft . . . but usually in salad form. And your dish says ‘hello’ to the East without going there!! And shiitakes will add that extra depth . . . and if the market has run our Swiss Browns will do . . . luvverly 😉 !


Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.