I first tried Kimchi while spending the night at a friend’s house in high school. Her Mom was from Korea and she always kept a gallon glass jar of the wonderfully spicy and sour cabbage in the fridge.
Over the years I have bought the occasional overpriced and slightly bland mass produced stuff at the grocery store, but it never seemed to have the right flavor. I made cabbage kimchi for the first time about a year ago and have since become hooked on making it at home. The pickling cucumbers have been growing so fast in our garden that I can hardly keep up with them. And honestly, I was getting tired of making pickles and Wade was getting tired of having cucumber salad several nights a week with dinner.
Enter Cucumber Kimchi
I don’t remember how exactly I found this recipe, but I have had it bookmarked for a while. It is inspired by the recipe posted by Dr. Ben Kim that can be found here. I have upped the amount of chili powder and added some ginger to suit our tastes better. Keep in mind, it doesn’t keep in the fridge as long as cabbage kimchi, so don’t make too much at a time.
• 15-20 pickling cucumbers, cut into bite sized pieces
•2 Tablespoons kosher salt
• A bunch of green onions, sliced
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1-2 inch piece of ginger, chopped
• 3 Tablespoons Korean chili powder
• 1/2 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Toss the cucumber pieces and kosher salt together in a mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside for several hours. The cucumbers are ready to me mixed with the other ingredients when they have given off quite a bit of water in the bowl
Do not rinse or drain the cucumbers. The salt and liquid are the brine for the kimchi and aid fermentation. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly gently pressing water out of the cucumbers as you stir.
Pack cucumbers and brine tightly into a large glass jar with a cap. I like the half gallon Ball jars and the wide mouth plastic lids that Ball also makes. Set aside on the countertop for 2-3 days to ferment. If your house is either warmer or cooler than average the fermentation process may take slightly more or less time. Chill thoroughly and enjoy.
I should also note that it is not best to substitute cayenne or smoked chili powder for the Korean chili powder. It is rather inexpensive and easy to find at Asian markets. I live out in the boonies, so I ordered mine online at H-mart for about $7 for a 1 pound bag. That makes a heck of a lot of kimchi. The bag looks like this: