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Wednesday 5 March 2014

Sluttishly Savoury: Quick Chinese Pork with Sautéed Cucumber

This recipe was born out of frustration. What do you do with mince when you can't face shaping meatballs, stirring a Bolognese, or waiting for the oven to heat up? Chinese pork is the answer!

Fried with a range of delicious Chinesey (err, yes it's a technical term) store cupboard ingredients, the pork mince is transformed into a salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy mass of deliciousness. Cucumber is often sidelined to salad only but it's SO good fried. It breaks down a little in the heat so the texture becomes more gherkin-like. It's nice because it doesn't overpower. Same goes for radishes.

This is really good over brown rice or with noodles, or with pancakes. Now I know that yesterday was Pancake Day but in my house we celebrate for the entire week, so I served my pork with spring onion pancakes, and amen, it was a good decision. Or equally tasty would be Caleigh's amazing gluten free chive pancakes.

Chinese Pork with Sautéed Cucumber (serves 2 as a main)

You'll need:
  • 300g lean pork mince
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5-Spice
  • half a cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp veg/sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 red chilli, frozen (optional)
For the spring onion pancakes: 
  • 110g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced/shredded
Make it!
  • Heat a frying pan, add a little sunflower/veg. oil and add the ginger. Fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the pork mince and cook for a further 5 minutes until starting to colour.
  • Add the garlic, a big pinch of salt, the sugar and the Chinese 5-spice. Cook for a further 10 minutes on a fairly low heat. The meat will start to darken and caramelise with the sugar, you want to pork to become almost crunchy.  
  • In the meantime, heat another pan and add the cucumber, dry. This just needs to cook fairly quickly for a few minutes or until it starts to colour.
  • Add the cucumber to the pork and cook for a final minute, finally adding the sesame oil and soy sauce for flavour. Now it's ready to be eaten. I grated frozen chilli over mine. Leftover chillis freeze in no time at all and taste amazing grated over most things. 
  •  If you want to join me in celebrating pancake 'week' then see below.

For the pancakes (this is a standard pancake batter)
  • Sift the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. 
  • Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. 
  • Whisk the eggs and slowly incorporate the flour until smooth.
  • Whisk in the milk and water in slowly, whisking out any lumps. 
  • When ready to cook, heat a fairly small non-stick pan with a little oil and get it really nice and hot.
  • Ladle out a spoonful of batter, then add a few spring onions before flipping  to cook the other side.


  1. Grated frozen chilli sounds amazing.

  2. It is. Really good over mozzarella too

    1. I'm thinking scrambled egg...

      How long do chillies freeze for? I am the person responsible for the bad chillies that fall out of the bag and get lost at the back of the fridge (sorry, housemates).

    2. They freeze for looong time. I dunno, I've had mine in the freezer for about 6 months or so x

  3. I made this at the weekend (swapped the soya sauce for GF tamari) and it was brilliant! I was lazy, though, and served it on rice noodles instead of pancakes. I shall happily make it again and again.


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