My love of kimchi started late in life. Growing up with a Korean mother and a grandmother who had a heavy hand in raising me, you would think that breast milk shared the stage with Kimchi. Yup, they tried, but as mentioned previously, I was a bit of a picky eater. Instead of asking for a bowl of my grandmother’s homemade kimchi, some of my fondest meal memories at her house was simply a bowl of white rice with some canned Vienna sausages. But, these days, now that I’m the ripe old age of twenty-something, I’ve really grown to love the garlicky, peppery, and pickled taste of kimchi — whether it’s water kimchi, cabbage kimchi, bean sprout kimchi, really, the list can go on. My favorite kimchi to whip up (in less than 30 minutes!) is cucumber kimchi or in Korean, Oi Sobagi. The way my family makes it is more heavy on the savoriness, rather than the “clear your nose” kimchi that mostly everyone is accustomed to. The thing with every kimchi recipe though, is that you can tweak until your heart and belly is content.
Korean Cucumber Kimchi
5-6 cucumbers, Persian or Kirby tastes best
5 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion, sliced
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. gochugaru (Korean crushed pepper)
1 tsp. sugar
1. Slice cucumbers into thin discs and generously coat with salt. Set aside in a bowl for 20-30 minutes, the salt helps to draw out extra moisture from the cucumbers and jumpstarts the fermentation process.
2. Place garlic, onion, scallions, sesame oil, sugar, and gochugaru in a food processor and pulse until substance resembles a paste.
3. Once the cucumbers are done soaking in salt, rinse with cool water and squeeze or pat dry with a paper towel. Coat with the kimchi paste and serve. You can also leave the kimchi on the counter for up to a day to allow it to ferment even more! I like to leave mine out for a couple of hours and then pop in the fridge.