Stir-fried Pork and Cucumbers

1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
12 ounces lean pork shoulder or butt, cut into ¼-inch-thick bite-sized slices
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 slices ginger, smashed
1 large English cucumber, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut on the diagonal into¼-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)

In a 1-quart saucepan or a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok heat the oil over high heat until the oil registers 280 F on a deep-frying thermometer. Carefully add the garlic. Cook, stirring 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the garlic is light golden. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove the garlic with a metal skimmer and put on a plate lined with paper towels. Carefully remove the oil from the wok and reserve.Wash the wok and dry it thoroughly.

In a shallow bowl combine the pork, cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon cold water.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil, add the ginger slices, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 30 seconds or until the ginger is fragrant. Push the ginger to the sides of the wok, carefully add the pork, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the pork begin to sear. Then stir-fry 1 minute or until the pork is lightly browned but not cooked through. Add the cucumber and stir-fry 30 seconds or until well combined. Sprinkle on the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, swirl the reserved soy sauce mixture into the wok, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the pork is just cooked and the cucumber begins to wilt. Stir in the reserved garlic.

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