The cucumber that often used in Chinese cooking is English cucumber. It has a dark green and very coarse surface. It’s crispy and juicy in texture, contains more water than other types that is lighter in color. The normal size cucumber is usually around 30 centimeters (12 inches) in length and 1.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter. English cucumber will keep a stir-fry dish from being dry in texture. It also has a refreshing taste in salad or soup.
Unlike the dark colored cucumber which has a waxy rind, the English cucumber has a very thin and crispy rind that you can eat without peeling it.
To serve or cook with English cucumber, the skin can be peeled off in order to yield a softer texture. If the cucumber is fresh or in season, the skin won’t be chewy or tough, so the cucumber could be used with skin on for most of time. The skin part contains more fiber and it adds color to the dish. English cucumber is soft in texture and very easy to cook through. When stir fry with other vegetables, it should be added at the end of cooking, in order to keep the crispy texture.
There’re several ways of cutting cucumber and the picture below shows how to cut rhombus slices. The rhombus shape slices are commonly used in stir-fried Chinese dishes since it’s easier to absorb more seasoning.