Stir fried pork and cucumber with yellow bean sauce 炒黃瓜醬

Chow hwang gua jiang 炒黃瓜醬

Most people have cucumber raw or pickled, I love stir fried cucumber.

This is a simple stir fry but the recipe is not that common. The original recipe is from Ching Imperial kitchen specially made for Empress Dowager Cixi as condiment or side dish. Traditional  raw vegetable pickle was normally served but because Doweger had a tender tummy, her chef made this cooked condiment/side chao hwang gua jiang, specially to whet her appetite so she could enjoy the rest of her meal.

This stir fry recipe and ingredients are really simple; main ingredients are pork, cucumber and yellow bean sauce.

I bought this tub of yellow bean sauce sometime ago been meaning to road test this. The English name for this sauce is soy bean paste but in Chinese it is douban jiang 豆瓣醬 (confusing?). This douban jiang is not the same Sichuan chilli bean paste. There is no chilli it is just fermented soy beans i.e. yellow bean sauce. The sauce is much darker than most yellow bean sauces I have come across. Nice fermented soy fragrance and quite tasty with an undertone of fermented black beans, dousi.

I used this fermented bean paste for this stir fry recipe. The pork and cucumber coated with the sauce was tasty, full of flavour and cucumber was crunchy. I have it with plain rice and nothing else. Simple meal.

Regarding the sauce. I will buy this green and yellow tub sauce again. I like it. If you are interested to get a tub, most big Chinese supermarkets in London will have it or online from Wai yee Hong. (I am not making a advertising promotion for this product or where this can be sourced. I just like to  spread the word when I find an ingredient I like)

The recipe

1 large cucumber about 500g
1 heap tsp salt
about 300 pork (about 2 - 3 loin pork slices), better with some white fat on
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tsp light soy
3 - 4 tbsp yellow bean sauce like the one above or other authentic yellow bean sauce (not local supermarket brands like blue dragon)
about 2 tbsp chopped ginger
about 3 tbsp chopped spring onion (scallion) from the white part
dash of Chinese cooking wine
2 - 3 tsp sugar
a little cooking oil

  1. Cut the cucumber lengthwise into quarters. Trim off the soft core. Cut the cucumber into 1 - 1.5cm pieces. Mix with salt and leave it for about 15 - 20 minutes to draw out some of the juice. Rinse the cucumber to remove salt. Drain.
  2. Cut pork fat into small pieces. Cut the lean meat into 1cm cubes. Mix lean meat with light soy sauce and cornflour. Leave for about 15 minutes.
  3. Chop spring onion and ginger.
  4. Stir fry the pork fat with a little cooking oil till most of the fat is rendered and pork fat is brown in colour. Add lean pork, stir fry till lightly browned. 
  5. Add spring onion and ginger. Continue stirring for a little while.
  6. Turn heat down to medium. Add yellow bean sauce stir then add dash of cooking wine. Keep stirring till fragrant. Make sure the heat is not too strong or the bean sauce will stick to the wok and becoming burnt. 
  7. Stir in the cucumber, stir till warm through and finally add some sugar to taste.


  1. I'm a relative newcomer to stir-frying cucumber, but whenever I do it I love it. I will keep a lookout for the paste.

  2. First time I tried stir-fried cucumber, but I'm growing a Chinese variety so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I used this recipe as a starting point because I just happened to have a different brand of this type of bean sauce. Stir-fried cucumber is surprisingly good, and so is this variety of bean sauce that you call yellow. I'll be trying stir-fried cucumbers again very soon. I've got LOTS of them to eat! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  3. Hi Renee
    If this a firmer variety try pickles. Check my recipe for soy/vinegar pickle and cucumber kimchee very good too.


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