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How To Make Cucumber Kimchi Posted by on Nov 12, 2020 in Cuisine, Culture, Hansik, Korean food, Recipes, Vocabulary

I have been desperate for Korean food for a while. My plan to visit Korea this year completely crashed due to COVID-19. My Korean food craving has become really bad and I even dream about eating Korean food. I don’t remember myself craving Korean food this much – and living in places where you can’t have access to your hometown food doesn’t help.

 

I was once craving for Kimchi when I was traveling to a small island in Guatemala. Needless to say, there wasn’t a single Korean restaurant or a Korean grocery store. Out of desperation, I decided to make Kimchi on my own, in spite of the fact that I had no 경험 (kyung-hum: an experience) making them before. I did my best to find the most similar 재료 (jae-ryo: an ingredient) for Kimchi. I was able to get 양배추 (yang-bae-choo: green cabbage), not Napa cabbage with Guatemalan jalapeno pepper powder. I managed to substitute 고추가루 (go-chu-gah-roo: Korean chill pepper powder) instead. 

 

Image by Pixabay

 

The result was horrendous. They were not edible, and my hands were on fire for a couple of days, not knowing that I should’ve worn 비닐장갑 (bi-nil-jang-gop: vinyl gloves) when touching red pepper powders. I blame my failure to lack of resources. 

 

I came up with 임시방편 (im-si-bang-pyeon: a temporary fix) to console my Korean food craving. 배추김치 (bae-chu-kim-chi: Napa cabbage Kimchi) can be difficult to make in foreign countries, but the ingredients for 오이김치 (oh-ee-kim-chi: cucumber Kimchi) can be easily accessible in most countries I have ever traveled. 

Image by Pixabay

Today, I am going to share my recipe for 오이소박이 (oh-ee-so-bak-ee: another name for cucumber Kimchi), which can be adapted for those who can’t find some ingredients.

 

What you need:

 

4 cucumbers (Avoid English cucumbers. Pick cucumbers for pickling.)

½ sliced onion

4-6 stalks of chives (green onions or scallion can be substitute.)

1 julienned carrot (optional)

6 Tbsp of sea salt for brine water

 

Seasoning:

½ cup of red pepper flakes (if you can’t find red pepper flakes, you can grind red pepper.)

1 Tbsp of minced garlic

1 Tbsp of sugar/honey

2 tsp of sea salt for seasoning

2 Tbsp of fish sauce (if you can’t find fish sauce, you can boil shrimps and use the broth.)

2 tsp of minced ginger

 

  1. Wash cucumbers thoroughly. Cut off both ends of cucumbers since the ends can be bitter. Divide each cucumber into ⅓. Then, cut each of those cucumbers you just cut into quarter lengthwise. Put them in a large bowl. 
  2. Pour ⅔ of water in a pot and add 6 Tbsp of sea salt. Stir sea salt and let them boil. 
  3. Once water boils, pour hot salty water into the bowl of cucumbers. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
  4. While you wait for cucumbers to be brined, prepare seasoning: Wash chives and cut them in 2 inches of length and slice onions. Get another bowl and put in the chives and sliced onions. Add minced ginger, minced garlic, fish sauce, sea salt, sugar and red pepper flakes into the bowl. Mix them well. (Most Korean moms mix them with gloved hands. I tried and my hands were still on fire! Try mixing them with utensils if you are afraid of red pepper burning hands.) Set aside. 

     5. Rinse cucumbers with cold water. Mix seasoning with brined cucumbers.

     6. Enjoy!

photo by the author

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About the Author: FlyHighOyster

Hi everyone, I was born and raised in Seoul, S. Korea. I have lived in Seattle for a while and I am traveling the world with my husband since 2016. It is my honor to share Korean culture with you all. Don't be shy to share your thoughts and comments! :) Talk to you soon. HJ


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