HUANG GUA MU’ER (stir fried cucumber with pork and wood ears, for four)
a handful of woodear mushrooms (about 4 ounces, after soaking)
4 ounces cucumber
1 spring onion, trimmed
1 Sichuanese pickled chili or ½ fresh red chili
3 ounces lean pork, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon potato flour mixed with 1-1/2 teaspoons cold water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon peeled, sliced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled, sliced ginger
light soy sauce, to taste
¼ teaspoon potato flour mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water
1.Pour hot water from the kettle over the mushrooms and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
2. Cut the cucumber section lengthwise into thin slices. Lay these flat on a chopping board and, holding the knife at an angle, cut them into diamond shaped slices. Drain the wood ears and, if they are large, break them into bite-sized pieces. Cut the spring onion and pickled or red chili on the diagonal into “horse ears.”
3. Marinate the pork in a couple of pinches of salt, the Shaoxing wine and ½ teaspoon potato flour mixed with 1-1/2 teaspoons cold water.
4. Heat a seasoned wok over a high flame. Add the oil, swirl it around, then add the pork and stir-fry it briefly to separate the pieces. Add the garlic, ginger, pickled or red chili and spring onion and stir-fry briefly until you can smell their fragrances. Then add the cucumber and mushrooms and stir-fry until everything is piping hot.
5. Add 1 tablespoon water, season with a little salt and light soy sauce to taste, then pour in the flour mixture, stirring vigorously as you do so. Stir a couple of times more, then serve.
from Fuchsia Dunlop, Every Grain of Rice