Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a fermented dish typically made from Napa cabbage and a variety of seasonings. But have you heard about cucumber kimchi? This variation takes the essence of traditional kimchi and infuses it into crisp, juicy cucumbers, resulting in a mouthwatering fusion of flavors.
Let’s dive into the wonderful realm of cucumber kimchi, a delightful and refreshing twist on traditional Korean kimchi that’s bound to tickle your taste buds and tantalize your senses.
Cucumber Kimchi in 5 Steps
- Prep Cucumbers: Choose fresh, small cucumbers and wash, then slice them into rounds or quarters.
- Salt and Rest: Sprinkle cucumber slices with sea salt, rest for 30 minutes to remove moisture, then rinse and pat dry.
- Make Paste: Mix minced garlic, ginger, Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru), and fish sauce (or vegan alternative), optionally adding sugar.
- Coat and Add: Thoroughly coat cucumbers with kimchi paste, add chopped green onions and sesame seeds for crunch.
- Ferment and Enjoy: Pack mixture into jars, ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days, and refrigerate to develop flavors. Serve with rice, salads, sandwiches, or savor on its own.
How to enjoy Cucumber Kimchi?
Cucumber kimchi is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some delicious options for what you can eat with cucumber kimchi:
- Rice: Serve cucumber kimchi as a flavorful side dish alongside steamed white or brown rice. The tangy and spicy flavors complement the mildness of the rice beautifully.
- Noodles: Incorporate cucumber kimchi into noodle dishes, whether it’s cold noodles like soba or udon, or hot dishes like ramen. The refreshing crunch of cucumber kimchi adds an exciting texture to the dish.
- Salads: Mix cucumber kimchi into your favorite salads to add a kick of flavor and crunch. It works well with both leafy green salads and hearty grain-based salads.
- Sandwiches: Elevate your sandwiches by layering cucumber kimchi onto them. It can provide a zesty and spicy element that pairs well with various fillings, from grilled chicken to tofu.
Cucumber kimchi offers a unique blend of textures and flavors. The cucumbers retain their crispness, while the fermentation process imbues them with the signature tangy, spicy, and umami-rich characteristics of traditional kimchi. This makes cucumber kimchi a perfect accompaniment to rice dishes, sandwiches, salads, and even as a standalone snack.
Fresh cucumbers (preferably small, crunchy ones)
Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
Fish sauce (or a vegan alternative)
Green onions, chopped
- Begin by washing and slicing the cucumbers. Depending on your preference, you can slice them into rounds or quarters.
- Place the cucumber slices in a large bowl and sprinkle them with sea salt. Toss the cucumbers to ensure they are evenly coated. Let them sit for about 30 minutes. This step helps draw out excess moisture from the cucumbers.
- While the cucumbers are resting, prepare the kimchi paste. In a separate bowl, mix together the minced garlic, minced ginger, gochugaru (adjust according to your desired spice level), fish sauce (or alternative), and sugar if you’re using it.
- After 30 minutes, the cucumbers should have released some water. Rinse them thoroughly to remove excess salt and pat them dry.
- Combine the cucumbers with the kimchi paste, ensuring each slice is well coated.
- Add the chopped green onions and sesame seeds for extra flavor and crunch.
- Pack the mixture into clean glass jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air pockets. Leave some space at the top to allow for expansion during fermentation.
- Seal the jars tightly and let them sit at room temperature for a day or two to kick-start the fermentation process. Then, refrigerate the jars to slow down the fermentation. The flavors will continue to develop over time.