Caramelized Pork & Cucumber Stir-Fry

I have never cooked cucumbers before! The cucumber slices in this stir-fry were quickly sautéed until just crisp tender- great. I also loved the seasonings in the finished dish.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christina Chaey. I used my largest skillet (14-inch) but would use a 12-inch next time. I don’t have a 14-inch splatter screen and I made quite a mess. :/ It was worth it.

Yield: Serves 3 to 4

  • 1 large English/European cucumber, peeled in alternating lengthwise strips, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halves sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/2-inch thick (I used a melon baller to remove the seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 tsp Diamond Crystal), plus more
  • 2 T oyster sauce
  • 2 T soy sauce (I used Trader Joe’s light soy sauce)
  • 2 T Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 T grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 Fresno chile, halved, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 one-inch piece ginger root, peeled, finely grated
  • 2 to 4 large garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground white or black pepper
  • white rice, for serving (I used white Basmati rice)
  • minced cilantro, for garnish, optional
  1. Toss cucumber slices and kosher salt in a medium bowl to coat evenly. Let sit until cucumber slices start to release their liquid, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sherry (or Shaoxing wine) in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
  3. Using your hands, form pork into six small patties. Season lightly with salt; set aside.
  4. Drain cucumber slices in a colander and rinse well under cool running water. Drain, shaking off any excess water, then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high. Cook cucumber slices, tossing vigorously, until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high.
  7. Add reserved pork patties; gently flatten with a spatula. Cook, pressing occasionally to help meat make contact with pan, until deeply browned and crisp underneath, about 4 minutes.
  8. Flip patties; cook until other side is deeply browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.
  9. Break up pork into large pieces; continue to cook until no longer pink, about 1 minute.
  10. Add chile, ginger, garlic, and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  11. Add cucumber back to skillet along with reserved sauce. Cook, tossing often, until sauce is reduced and evenly coats pork and cucumber slices, about 1 minute.
  12. Serve stir-fry over rice. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Chicken & Corn Stir-Fry

I have a couple more dishes featuring sweet summer corn to share. This quick stir-fry was perfect to serve after a busy day outside. After prepping the ingredients in advance, it was fully prepared in the time that it took for the rice to cook.

This recipe was (slightly) adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. The original recipe notes that peppers, peas, mushrooms, or summer squash could be substituted for the fresh corn. Great!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 3 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 4 T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 T)
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or other mild chile flakes or paprika), or more, to taste
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels cut from cobs
  • cooked rice (I used white Basmati rice)
  • cilantro leaves with tender stems, for serving
  1. Stir together oyster sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Trim the chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prep the red onion, garlic, ginger and corn. Set aside.
  4. Cook the rice using your preferred method.
  5. While the rice is cooking, season the chicken pieces with salt and sprinkle with cornstarch; toss lightly to coat.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large well-seasoned wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high. (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet.)
  7. Cook chicken, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and nearly cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
  8. Add red onion, garlic, ginger, Aleppo-style pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook, tossing, until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add corn kernels and cook, tossing often, until tender, about 3 minutes.
  10. Stir in reserved oyster sauce mixture and cook, tossing often, until reduced nearly to a glaze, about 2 minutes.
  11. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  12. Serve stir-fry with rice, topped with cilantro.

Pad See Ew (Thai Stir Fried Soy Sauce Noodles)

This is my fourth attempt to replicate my husband’s favorite Thai restaurant dish. This version may have been the closest so far! Apparently, he is not alone… Pad See Ew is one of the most popular noodle dishes at Thai restaurants in Western countries.

The genius part of this recipe is that the noodles are sautéed in the sauce in the absence of the other ingredients. This way, they absorb more of the sauce and caramelize on the edges. This difference in the finished dish seemed more similar to a restaurant version. Genius.

This recipe was adapted from RecipeTinEats.com. According to the site, the original source of the recipe may be David Thompson, an Australian chef dedicated to mastering Thai cooking. I doubled the recipe and used fresh wide rice noodles and my CSA bok choy. I incorporated the water but may consider reducing the amount next time.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Noodles:

  • 24 oz fresh wide rice noodles or 14 oz dried wide rice stick noodles

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Stir Fry:

  • 6 T peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced or shredded
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 to 4 baby bok choy or 8 stems Chinese broccoli

To Prepare the Ingredients:

  1. If using baby bok choy, cut the tender leaves into 2″ thick ribbons and cut the stems crosswise into 1/2″ pieces. (If using Chinese broccoli, trim ends, cut into 3″ pieces. Separate leaves from stems. Cut thick stems in half vertically so they’re no wider than 1/4″ thick.)
  2. If using fresh wide rice noodles, rinse in cool water and separate into large pieces. (If using dry rice noodles, prepare according tot he package directions and drain immediately before incorporating into the dish.)
  3. To make the sauce, combine the ingredients in a measuring cup and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Shred or slice the cooked chicken.
  5. Thinly slice the garlic.

To Cook the Stir Fry:

  1. Heat 2 T oil in a very large heavy based skillet or wok over high heat. (I used a 14″ stainless steel skillet.)
  2. Add garlic, cook 15 seconds.
  3. Add chicken, stir.
  4. Add bok choy or Chinese broccoli stems.
  5. Add bok choy or Chinese broccoli leaves, cook until just wilted.
  6. Push everything to one side, crack eggs in and scramble.
  7. Remove everything onto a plate (scrape the pan clean).
  8. Return pan to stove, heat remaining 4 T oil over high heat.
  9. Add noodles and sauce. Toss as few times as possible (to minimize breakage), dispersing the sauce and caramelizing the edges of the noodles.
  10. Quickly add chicken and vegetable mixture back in, and toss to disperse. Serve immediately.

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive a LOT of baby bok choy in my CSA share. Every time my husband spots it, he requests his favorite Thai dish, Pad See Ew. I do have a favorite version that I typically prepare, but, by chance I received a new recipe (email 😉 ) for his special dish when I received my recent bounty of bok choy.

The goal of this recipe was to recreate a high-heat wok cooked dish on a stove top by altering the stir fry technique. By cooking the ingredients in batches and combining all of the ingredients just prior to serving, the high-heat char typical of this dish was achieved. This version was indeed the closest I’ve come to reproducing my husband’s favorite take out dish.

This recipe was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. I used baby bok choy instead of broccolini, chicken thighs instead of breasts, Thai chiles instead of serrano, and fresh rice noodles. I reduced the oil and doubled the recipe as well. Great!

Yield: Serves 8

For the Chile-Vinegar:

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut against grain into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 24 oz fresh wide rice noodles (can substitute 16 oz 1/4-inch wide dried rice noodles)
  • 5-6 T vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 4 T packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 pounds baby bok choy (about 10), sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, separated into leaves and stems (broccolini or broccoli are good substitutes)
  • additional greens, if desired (I added 1/2 head of my CSA Sugarloaf Chicory as well)

For the Chile Vinegar:

  1. Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

For the Stir Fry:

  1. Combine chicken with 4 tablespoons water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
  2. If using fresh rice noodles: Place noodles in very hot tap water until they can be separated into large pieces. (If using dried rice noodles: Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 teaspoons oil.)
  3. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
  4. Heat 1 T oil and garlic in 12-inch (nonstick) skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, about minute.
  5. Add chicken and 4 tablespoons sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  6. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  7. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 T oil to cleared side of skillet.
  8. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
  9. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add bok choy stems and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the remaining bok choy leaves and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat.
  10. Cover skillet and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  11. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
  12. Sauce any additional greens in the remaining cooking liquid, if desired.
  13. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half of noodles and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture.
  14. Repeat with remaining 1 T oil, noodles, and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  15. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately, passing chile vinegar separately.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

I’m sharing my special stir fry at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #146, co-hosted by Antonia @Zoale and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy! 🙂

Pad See Ew

This is my husband’s favorite Thai dish. I have been trying to replicate his Thai take-out experience at home for quite a while. Ironically, this updated adaptation of my first attempt may be his favorite.

This is an easy and fast dish to throw together when we have leftover chicken or a lot of fresh greens. I especially love making it when I receive an abundance of baby bok choy in my CSA share.

This recipe is a combination of recipes from Food and Wine, CHOW.com, foodnetwork.com, among others. If the fresh wide rice noodles are difficult to find, substitute dry rice noodles.

  • 2 12-oz packages of fresh wide rice noodles or  1 8 to 14-oz package dry rice noodles
  • 1 pound (or more) bok choy, broccoli rabe, or other greens (I typically use about 8 baby bok choy)
  • 4 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 6-9 large garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 4 to 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 1 large chicken breast, seasoned, grilled or broiled, and shredded
  • 6 T soy sauce (light or dark)
  • 6 T oyster sauce
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. If using fresh rice noodles, bring them to room temperature. Then, separate and tear them into large pieces; set aside. (Alternatively, if using dry rice noodles, place the noodles in a pot of boiling water.  Turn off the heat, and let soak until loose a pliable but not soft, about 5-8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.)
  2. If using bok choy, cut the leaves into 1 1/2-inch ribbons. Cut the stems into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Wash and keep separate.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; broil or grill. Hand shred the meat when cool enough to handle, set aside.
  4. Prep all other ingredients prior to cooking so that they can be incorporated quickly. (I combine the soy and oyster sauces with the sugar in a measuring cup with a spout.)
  5. Heat 2 T of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet.)
  6. When it shimmers, add the bok choy stems and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the bok choy leaves and continue to cook for an additional minute.
  7. Add the garlic and shredded chicken, and cook until garlic just begins to color and the chicken warms through, about 1 minute.
  8. Push mixture to the outside of the pan and add remaining 1 T oil to the center of the pan. Pour the eggs into the oil and scramble briefly until eggs begin to set, then let cook undisturbed until solid, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix eggs into mixture.
  9. Remove the chicken-greens-egg mixture from the pan and set aside.
  10. Add the remaining 1 T oil to the pan over medium-high heat. Add the torn fresh noodles along with the soy and oyster sauces and sugar and cook until the noodles absorb the sauce and are warmed through, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add the chicken-greens-egg mixture to the saucy noodles. Mix to incorporate. Serve.

Note: The chicken can be omitted for a vegetarian version.

This post was first published in October 2012, updated October 2020.

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