Oct 9, 2023

Cucumber Pork Stir-Fry with Sesame Oil and Black Pepper

A little bit of sesame oil goes a long way. Recently I've been fond of using sesame oil for stir-fry dishes. Note that there are many types of sesame oil, but for stir-fry purposes, sometimes I try to use the lighter-color version to avoid the heavy sticky mouthfeel in the end. You can still use the denser kind for stir-fry, but leave that for stronger-tasting dishes such as three cup chicken or braised chicken in sesame oil soup.

Cucumber pork stir-fry with sesame oil and black pepper - 

Cucumber pork stir-fry with sesame oil and black pepper


  • 3 skinny cucumbers
  • 245 grams pork belly slices
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon double condensed Japanese tsuyu
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely grind black pepper


Slice the pork belly to shorter pieces if needed. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Trim-off the ends of cucumbers and section the remaining part. Slap or crush the cucumber with the side of the knife in order to create some cracks. Do not completely destroy the cucumber sections, more so just break them slightly. The cracks will trap-in more seasonings and result in a much more flavorful cucumbers in the end.

Smashed cucumber sections

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a pan and switch to medium heat. Add in chopped garlic along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely grind black pepper. Stir-fry till aromatic but not burn the garlics.

Cooking chopped garlics till aromatic

Add the pork and cook till the oil starts to render.

Searing pork belly slices

Transfer cucumbers over and give it a quick mix. Cook for one more minute. Add 1 tablespoon of Japanese tsuyu and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar. Taste and adjust if needed. Once checked, plate and serve.

Cucumber pork stir-fry with sesame oil and black pepper

I used double condensed Japanese tsuyu. However, you might find that there are many versions of Japanese tsuyu on the market like triple condensed or even quadruple condensed. I would suggest getting the double or triple kinds since the flavors are easier to adjust while used in other dishes.

Cucumber pork stir-fry with sesame oil and black pepper

If you're using saltier Japanese tsuyu for this recipe, simply reduce the amount used. You can always taste and add more if needed towards the end. Also make sure to use coarsely grind black pepper, we are looking for that stronger spicy kick when biting into the peppercorns. The aroma is unmatchable compared to the fine ground black pepper.

Think of it, I think I haven't been using fine ground black pepper for ages. The coarsely grind version is just so much better, at least in all the dishes I've been cooking.

Other cucumber recipes:

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