It’s kimchi time again! After white radish (daikon) kimchi and the simplified version of Chinese/Napa cabbage kimchi, I would like to present you the most extraordinary experiment in this field, namely cucumber kimchi. Even though not in its best season now, cucumber is available all year round and brings a pleasant freshness to my meals when I’m fed up with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and other sad Winter vegetables. Combined with hot seasoning and fermented, it gains in precious nutrients, flavour complexity, colours and becomes even more welcome on cold, dark days.
First of all I must thank Charles from Five Euro Food because without his enthusiastic comments I even wouldn’t know cucumber kimchi existed and certainly wouldn’t prepare it so quickly. Charles has never made it himself, but my recipe quest wasn’t long. I found what I was looking for at Eating and Living blog, my main source of Korean recipes. I was even lucky to stumble upon a simplified cucumber kimchi recipe (Oi Kimchi), which was perfect to start with. Traditionally, in Oi Sobagi Kimchi, cucumbers are cut into big chunks, then, with half-length slits, “pockets” are formed and stuffed with kimchi seasoning. Here cucumber is simply cut up into bite-sized pieces and combined with the seasoning. (For those who want to know more about kimchi, I have written about it here and here.)
I have no idea what the traditional stuffed cucumber kimchi tastes like, but this version proved so excellent I can say without any doubts this is by far my favourite kimchi. I adore it for its freshness, crunchiness, lightness and for the fact that it is perfect at every stage of fermentation. First the cucumber’s freshness is dominating, then it reminds me of the delicate Japanese pickles and then, when it matures, the taste is is very close to the Central and Eastern European cucumbers fermented in brine. I cannot even imagine how terrific this kimchi will be when made with seasonal Summer cucumbers. Thank you, Hyosun, for one more wonderful recipe and thank you, Charles, for this discovery!
Even though I haven’t changed the original recipe, you may want to click here to see very helpful step-by-step photos.
Preparation: 45 minutes + min. 20-30 minutes fermentation
1 long dark green cucumber
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon garlic (grated or crushed)
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 green onion stalks, cut into 2 cm pieces
Cut the cucumber into 3 cm chunks and then cut them into 8 strips lengthwise.
Sprinkle the cucumber pieces with salt and leave them for 30 minutes.
Drain the cucumber, but do not rinse it.
Add all the seasoning ingredients and place the cucumbers in an airtight container.
Wait for 20-30 minutes and serve or leave for two days to ferment in room temperature and then put into the fridge for several days.
Exceptionally this kimchi is as good freshly made as well as after a couple of days.
I even liked it after one week.