Dying to Cook
By KF Seetoh - Friday, Sep 16, 2011
What images come to your mind when you think of a “Pig in Cucumber”? Before you let your imagination run too wild, according to the recipe book Cookery Book on Local Food, the phrase is simply a non-fanciful, literal name for a plate of minced pork meat stuffed in cucumber.
In our effort to resurrect recipes from the published-in-1946 cookbook (as seen Resurrecting Delicious and A Cook’s Blast from the Past), this is our final attempt at reviving “dead” dishes. For this round, we have adapted this unseen and unheard-of dish: Pig in Cucumber. The original version was rather lifeless, as the only flavour came from the lightly marinated meat, while the cucumber adds only a tint of freshness.
To heighten the flavour, we added more “luxurious” condiments like oyster sauce and Chinese wine. You could also go a step further by mixing half a teaspoon of salt and three-to-four tablespoons of tapioca starch (one part tapioca flour to three parts water) with the juice left behind on the plate after the steam. Stir them over low heat until the mixture thickens and then drizzle it over the food.
Pig in Cucumber
250g of minced pork
5 shitake mushrooms
8 glass prawns
2 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of Shaoxing wine
Salt and pepper
Shell and chop up the prawns. Soak mushrooms in hot water until they soften. Wring out the water, remove the stem and cut the rest into small bits. Mix the meat, mushrooms, prawn, pepper, salt and sauces together. Peel the cucumbers and cut them lengthwise into halves. Scoop out the centre and fill it with pork mixture. Cover with other half. Transfer them onto a plate and steam over boiling water for 10 minutes. Cut each into smaller pieces and serve hot.
Note: The cookbook instructions states to steam the stuffed cucumber for half an hour. I felt that it was too long so I turned off the fire at the 15th minute, but the meat was already tough and dry by then. I’ve cut it down to 10 minutes for this recipe.