Stir-fried Cucumbers with Bean Threads and Wood Ears

This recipe for stir-fried cucumbers with bean threads and wood ears is a tasty Chinese vegetarian dish that you can serve as part of a larger meal, or as a meal in and of itself with a side of steamed rice. It’s all about texture—crunchy, chewy, crispy—all mixed together!

Have Lots of Cucumbers?

In our experience, cucumbers are one of the easiest summer crops to grow. We grow it every year! But at a certain point every summer, it seems like we’re swimming in cucumbers that we don’t know what to do with. 

By that time, we’ve used them in salads galore, sliced them up as snacks, and otherwise eaten them raw in every possible way. 

But while it’s common to eat cucumbers raw (some people just eat cucumbers like an apple as a snack!) in China, it’s also very common to eat them cooked! 

Cucumbers feature prominently in stir-fries like Moo Shu Pork (the Chinese version, rather than the Americanized version with mandarin pancakes). And they taste delicious cooked.

It’s a great way to use a big crop of summer cucumbers without having to resort to the same old salad. 

This recipe is as an easy, tasty way to try cooked cucumbers if you haven’t already!

What Are Bean Threads and Wood Ears? 

The two other main ingredients in this recipe, bean threads, and wood ears, may be unfamiliar. Let’s talk about them quickly! 

Bean threads, also known as dried bean curd sticks or yuba (the Japanese version), are basically the skin that forms on top of cooked soy milk. This top layer is pulled off the soy milk, rolled into sticks, and dried. 

Soaked Bean Threads

Wood ear mushrooms are a type of fungi that do indeed grow on wood and look kind of like ears! They have a curiously crunchy texture, and have lots of nooks and crannies for sauce to cling to. 

You can find both these ingredients in Chinese grocery stores in the dry goods aisles! 

Note!

Seedless cucumbers are ideal for this recipe, but if your cucumbers do have seeds, simply slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing. 

Recipe Instructions

Cut the bean threads into 2-inch pieces. 

Bean Threads, Wood Ears, Cucumbers for stir-fry

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the reconstituted bean threads and wood ears, and blanch for 90 seconds. Drain and set aside. 

Blanching bean threads and wood ears

Heat a wok over medium heat, and add the oil, along with the spicy bean sauce, ginger slices, and the white parts of the scallions. 

Scallions, ginger, and spicy bean sauce in wok

Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the oil turns red and the aromatics are fragrant. Add the garlic, and cook for another 15 seconds. 

Scallions, spicy bean sauce, ginger, and garlic

Increase the heat to high, and add the blanched bean threads and wood ears. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

Adding bean threads and wood ears to wok

Add the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and then add the cucumbers. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. 

Adding cucumbers to wok

Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Then add the water and cornstarch mixture.

Stir-frying cucumbers with wood ears and yuba

Continue stir-frying until the sauce coats the vegetables. Stir in the green parts of the scallions.

Adding green parts of the scallions to a stir-fry

Once wilted, remove from the wok to a serving plate. 

Stir-fried Cucumbers with Wood Ears and Bean Threads

Serve immediately!

Stir-fried Cucumbers with Wood Ears and Bean Threads

Stir-fried Cucumbers with Wood Ears and Bean Threads

This recipe for stir-fried cucumbers with bean threads and wood ears is a tasty vegetarian dish that you can serve as part of a larger meal, or as a meal in and of itself with a side of steamed rice.

Stir-fried Cucumbers with Wood Ears and Bean Threads

serves: 4

Instructions

  • Cut the bean threads into 2-inch pieces.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the reconstituted bean threads and wood ears, and blanch for 90 seconds. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat a wok over medium heat, and add the oil, along with the spicy bean sauce, ginger slices, and the white parts of the scallions.

  • Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the oil turns red and the aromatics are fragrant. Add the garlic, and cook for another 15 seconds.

  • Increase the heat to high, and add the blanched bean threads and wood ears. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and then add the cucumbers. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

  • Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Then add the water and cornstarch mixture. Continue stir-frying until the sauce coats the vegetables. Stir in the green parts of the scallions. Once wilted, remove from the wok to a serving plate.

nutrition facts

Calories: 170kcal (9%) Carbohydrates: 21g (7%) Protein: 6g (12%) Fat: 7g (11%) Saturated Fat: 6g (30%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 383mg (16%) Potassium: 220mg (6%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 5g (6%) Vitamin A: 179IU (4%) Vitamin C: 9mg (11%) Calcium: 67mg (7%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

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