Oi Kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi)

As of late, I have been making a side dish that my mom likes to do with thinly sliced cucumbers, imitation crab meat strips, and wasabi, and it surprisingly tastes pretty good. Like all things with cucumbers, it is satisfyingly refreshing and light. So, with some ingredients ready at home, I decided to make a simple side dish usually prepared during the summertime (yes, I know it’s still winter) that is healthy and easy to prepare no matter what season. Cucumber kimchi is prepared like many other kimchi dishes but it has a refreshing quality that really makes you want to eat more. I heard it is better to use Kirby cucumbers (the small “ugly” ones with knot-like bumps covering them) since they are crispier and good for pickling. I couldn’t find them at the local market so I just bought the long, waxy kind that you normally find. Luckily, the small batch I made turned out pretty well and some taste testers seemed to enjoy it. I will definitely try to refine this side dish before the warmer seasons come around.

Ingredients: Makes enough for an 8-person sitting

  • 2 large cucumbers (or 4 Kirby cucumbers)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or regular vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

1. Wash cucumbers thoroughly under cold water.
2. Cut the cucumbers diagonally into 2-inch pieces or preferred cut.
3. In a large bowl, add all the remaining ingredients with cucumbers and mix thoroughly.
4. To eat immediately, transfer to serving dish and eat as banchan (side dish).
5. Save remaining cucumbers in the refrigerator and serve cold later.

*As a healthy alternative (though it will take up more time), after step 2 you can add 1 tbsp coarse salt with the cucumbers let sit overnight at room temperature. This will draw out the moisture of the cucumbers and create a natural brine.

*Also, you might find the waxy, film covering the cucumbers unnatural, but this is food grade fax that retains the moisture of the cucumbers. It is edible so don’t worry about peeling out of health concerns.

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