Friday, November 16, 2012

Steamed Cucumber with Dried Shrimp 蒸青瓜- Cucurbits #3

I know this sounds weird to many.

Both my sister in laws, although Cantonese, have never heard or eaten this.
So far, I have never bumped into anyone who has eaten this before, besides my relatives.

This dish is simple to prepare, with simple flavours, doesn't look appealing but we find it appetizing. We grew up with it. The gravy was light and sweet. It's just a frugal homey dish.
I remember once, when I was about 10, I had 3 bowls of rice (spread out in a span of 2 hours) just because the cucumber that day was absolutely delicious. I just ate my rice with this steamed cucumber plus some gravy.

In Perak, we call cucumbers "cheang gua", 青瓜, and not "wong gua" 黄瓜. Wong Gua is the old cucumber that we use to boil soup.

Sometimes cucumbers are bitter. This is the way grandaunt taught me on how to draw the bitterness out from cucumbers. I don't know if it really works, but I still do this step. LOL. And the times when I felt lazy and skip it, it does seem to be more bitter.

Grandaunt will wash away the foam, but I'll slice that piece off.

How to prepare the cucumber

Back then, grandaunt will prepare the raw ingredients and then cook it in the rice cooker. She will place this right on top of the rice when the bubbling as subsided. So, one will have to watch out for that stage. any earlier, the steaming dish will sink into the rice, any later the cucumber will not be cooked properly.

I cooked this in the wok and added some water in, because steaming in wok makes it drier than in rice cooker.

How to prepare the toppings
 Normally there are no exact rules on how much to put, You can just guesstimate. Whichever you like more, just put more :)

Final assembly
 Here I give you a rough recipe

Steamed Cucumber with Dried Shrimps
Recipe source: WendyinKK
Tasted and Recreated from Grandaunt's version

1 10 inch long cucumber
1 heaped Tbsp dried shrimp
1 inch ginger
2-4 cloves of garlic (as much as you like)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt

1. Soak dried shrimps.
2. Peel cucumber (I peel lines only) and divide into 4 long quarters. Slice each quarter into diagonal slices. (Keep the seeds). Place onto a deep dish suitable for retaining liquids after steaming.
3. Bash ginger and garlic, and chop everything coarsely together with dried shrimp. Sprinkle these on top of cucumber.
4. Drizzle oil over cucumber and sprinkle salt over the cucumber (don't out in one spot). Add a few Tbsp of water if you're steaming this in wok.
5. Steam until they are mushy soft (on high heat for about 20 minutes, or you can use the rice cooker)


  1. I used to stir fry cucumber with dried shrimps but not by steaming. Must give it a try.

  2. I have not eaten cooked cucumber before :) But I think this dish is nice because the dried shrimps, garlic and ginger make it fragrant. I love cucumber and I will try this dish.

  3. My mom usually stir-fry the cucumber with dried shrimps but never make it this way. This is something new to me.

  4. First time I heard of steamed the cucumber. My mom used to stir fry. It is simple and yummy dish. My mom used to cut off the seed (the centre part). I wanna try ur version. I like simple dish.

  5. This is refreshing... what's the difference between steaming and stir frying this dish? The ingredients used seem suitable for frying too?

  6. ya.. usually will cut the top then rub it so that the cucumber wont be bitter

  7. ivysew,
    Yeah, the usual practice is to stir fry

    The toppings adds a mild fragrance and makes it sweet

    The mouthfeel and taste is absolutely different :)

    For stir fry, you must remove the seeds, if not it'll be watery, but for this, you need the 'water' :)

    Chef and Sommelier,
    Steaming will produce a lighter fresher taste, less pungent than the stir fried version.

    Small Kucing,
    Hehe, you do this too eh :)

  8. I remember when I was young I was told to call cheang gua in Singapore cos our surname is wong - so we never call "wong gua" - I also follow the traditional way of cleaning the bitterness of cucumber your way.

  9. Hi Wendy,
    This looks new to me.. The way you steam the cucumber? How dies it taste?


  10. I also prepare the cucumber this way for local version but not those thinner japanese variety. Will try this when I have some cucumber left from garnishing dishes or making salad. :)

  11. This is quick and easy to prepare, and, healthy. I bookmarked this as "to cook often".

  12. Thank you for posting such a simple yet lovely recipe! Just had this for dinner today, I love the seasoning, though I'm not so keen on the texture, I found it too mushy. Will steam till just soft next time :)


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