Stuffed Cucumbers

 

Close up of a stuffed cucumber

Close up of a stuffed cucumber

 

 

It’s fitting that in the Month of the Cucumber, I address what to do with those grocery store cukes on steroids.  If you can find huge, firm ones, I have a solution: stuff them!  This stuffing is very simple, and is similar to what I use in potstickers.  Served with some white rice and perhaps a radish salad, this makes for a filling and yet light meal.  Fear not, by the way, of putting the cucumbers in the oven.  They remain fresh, flavorful, and crunchy – barely changed – by their cooking stint.

Stuffed Cucumbers

 

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 T shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 T sesame oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 C panko
  • 1 pinch Chinese 5 spice powder
  • good broth, preferably beef
  • peanut oil for frying
  • sesame seeds and chives for garnish
Slice the cucumbers in half and scoop out the seeds.  Using a metal teaspoon will help you accomplish this nicely.  Run your knife through this quickly, then set aside.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil over medium high heat.  Add the pork, chopped cucumber, carrots, scallions, soy sauce, shaoxing, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  Brown for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat.  Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of the filling, and mix it with the panko to help bind it.  Fill the hollowed out cucumbers with the pork mixture, then cover with the panko.  Drizzle with a little oil to help it brown, and sprinkle sesame seeds over it.  Place the filled cucumbers in a baking dish and pour in a cup or two of stock.  You want it to seep up the sides a bit.  Bake covered at 300° for 25 minutes, then remove cover and increase heat to 400°.  Bake until the top is browned, then remove and serve.  This is wonderful with a basic potsticker sauce to drizzle over or dip in.  Garnish with chives or chopped scallions.
Serves two.
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4 thoughts on “Stuffed Cucumbers

  1. Mairona: you’ll have to try them as a main course. They’re a wonderful surprise, and they are so light that they make a lovely summer meal.

    Jenn: I was surprised; cooking hardly changes the texture – they stay wonderfully crunchy!

    Corinne, I would love to just imagine Mario Batali and I are on the same wavelength. I’m looking forward to the new documentary he’s making with Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow. Love the surprise, btw!

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