Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken with cucumber in a garlic and vinegar sauce

My love affair with cooked cucumber continues. This is a really simple dish, with just a few, clear flavours. The idea of using vinegar was inspired by pickled cucumbers.

500g of chicken breast
4 cloves of garlic
1-inch piece of ginger
6 spring onions
1 cucumber
4 tablespoons of white wine
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
vegetable oil

  1. Peel and chop the garlic and ginger. Top and tail the spring onions (removing only the very ends) and cut into 1cm sections. Cut the ends off the cucumber, and cut the cucumber into 3 or 4 segments crosswise. Cut each segment lengthwise into slices - neither wafer-thin nor too thick - discarding the outside slice on each side to reduce the amount of cucumber skin. Then cut the pile of slices in half, lengthwise to give you narrow rectangles. Trim any fat off the chicken breasts, then cut into thinnish slices.
  2. Heat the wine in a small saucepan to boil off the alcohol, then remove from the heat and add the vinegar and soy sauce.
  3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok until it is smoking hot, then add the chicken and stir-fry until it is just done. (It should be cooked but still juicy - not dry.) Remove the chicken to a bowl.
  4. Pour away any oil left in the wok, wipe clean then add a little fresh vegetable oil (a couple of teaspoons), and heat until smoking hot. Add the garlic and ginger, fry for a few seconds, then add the sliced cucumber and spring onions and stir-fry until the cucumber pieces are hot. (Take care not to overcook them. The cucumber should still taste crunchy and fresh.)
  5. Return the chicken to the wok, together with any juices which have collected in the bowl, add the sauce ingredients and cook over a high flame for a few seconds until the sauce has heated through. Serve with noodles or rice.

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