Kimchi is one of the most common foods in Korea. This healthy staple can be prepared many ways, such as this tasty cucumber version known as oi sobaegi. The spicy flavors of Korean chili powder and garlic combine with cool, refreshing cucumbers for a unique taste treat. Serve with rice, barbecued meats, ramen or as a snack on its own. This is easy to make at home, so gather the ingredients and get started.
Prepare the vegetables. Wash the cucumbers, slice off both ends, then cut into three-inch pieces. Quarter the pieces lengthwise without cutting all the way through one end, leaving what looks like four pickle spears attached at one end. Thinly slice green onions, including the green part. Peel and mince the garlic.
Place the cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Allow to sit for a few hours. This will extract the excess water present in the cucumbers and make them extra crunchy. When they’re ready, drain the salty liquid and lightly rinse the cucumbers. Pat them dry with paper towels.
Combine all the other ingredients, adding sea salt and a little water to make a paste. Taste the mixture—it should be quite salty but still palatable.
Start making the kimchi cucumbers. Wear gloves for this step to prevent burning or staining your hands with the chili powder. Coat the cucumbers well with the spicy paste, gently separating the cucumber spears and filling with the mixture.
Pack the cucumbers into the glass jar or bowl and add any leftover paste. Cover and leave for a few hours at room temperature, but no longer than 12 hours. Taste the cucumbers periodically until the desired flavor is reached. Place your cucumber kimchi in the fridge when it’s ready.
• Use only Korean red chili powder, known as gochujang. Any other type will not produce the same result.
• The cucumber kimchi will be good for up to a week as long as it's kept in the fridge, but eating it after that could make you sick. • Make sure the utensils and surfaces are clean, including your hands. You don’t want to contaminate the kimchi with bacteria.