Friday, October 17, 2014

Cucumber Kimchi (Oi Sobagi)

Cucumber Kimchi is a staple summer kimchi dish that's ubiquitous in many a Korean restaurant here in SoCal. The ingredients are simple and easy to come by except for the Korean salted shrimp and Korean chili powder. Both of these are available online and/or at your local Korean market if you happen to have one in your hood. I wasn't able to find the salted shrimp, so I substituted with fish sauce which turned out well.

2 hothouse or English cucumbers
2 tsp. kosher salt

3-4 scallions (1/4 cup) finely minced
5 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a microplane grater
1 tsp. ginger, minced or passed through a microplane grater
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup Korean red pepper powder
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. salted shrimp or fish sauce 

1. Cut the ends off of the cucumbers, then cut each one into 6 pieces (about 2" in length each). Slice each cucumber into quarters (cross or x pattern), but don't cut all the way through.

2. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of salt over the cucumbers, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1-2 hours. Rinse the cucumbers well, blot dry with paper towels, then place them on a paper towel-lined plate, cut side down.

3. Combine the minced scallion, minced garlic, minced ginger and chopped carrot together in a small bowl. Add the red pepper powder water, and salted shrimp or fish sauce. 

4. Stuff the cucumbers generously with the filling. Place the cucumbers and any remaining filling into a large ziploc bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, then zip the bag closed. Let the cucs marinate overnight at room temp, turning the bag once or twice. If you're not serving the next day, place the bag in the frig. The cucs will keep for several days in the frig before serving. 

Hothouse cucumber.

Cut the cucumber into 2" lengths (about six pieces for the average hothouse cucumber).

Cut an X or cross-shape cut through each cucumber section to about 1/2" from the bottom (don't cut all the way through).

Sprinkle 2 tsp. of salt over the cucumbers. 

Place in a shallow dish and let marinate for 1-2 hours. 

Scallions, ginger, and garlic. 

Julienned carrots. 

Julienned carrots cut into fine mince. 

Rinse the cucumbers well. 

Blot the cucumbers dry with paper towels. 

Minced scallion, carrot, ginger and garlic.

Korean red chile powder, water and fish sauce, added to the stuffing mixture. 

Korean red pepper powder and fish sauce. 

Cucumbers stuffed with the red pepper filling. 

Combine all ingredients well, then place the cucumbers and all remaining filling ingredients into a Ziploc bag and let marinate overnight, turning once or twice. Place the ziploc bag in the frig the next day if not serving right away.

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