How to Make Easy Cucumber Kimchi

Fall is a special time in Korea for families to get together and make kimchi for the wintertime. Known as kimjang (김장), the process of preparing and making kimchi was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. Kimchi is an important part of Korean culture and is eaten with almost every meal.

Before modern kimchi refrigerators, kimchi would be buried in the ground in large earthen pots that would protect the kimchi from freezing and families could eat the kimchi throughout the winter. To celebrate kimjang, November 22 was designated as National Kimchi Day.

Records of kimchi recipes date back to the three kingdoms period but it wasn’t until the 19th century that kimchi using chili peppers became widespread. The nappa cabbage kimchi that we know today wasn’t in use until about this time as well. Vegetables such as cucumbers and radish were much more common during the time.

Making cucumber kimchi is a simple and easy process. Cucumber kimchi is a great kimchi to make in the summer, but I like to eat it year round.

1. Preparing the cucumbers

You’ll want to cut the tips off of the cucumbers before sectioning them out into thirds. Then cut each of the thirds in half and transfer to a large bowl. You’ll then mix some sea salt with the cucumbers to coat them and let the bowl sit for 20 minutes.

2. Preparing the kimchi sauce

For this recipe, I used 2 tbsp of gochugaru (chilli pepper flakes), 3.5 tsp of fish sauce, 1 tbsp garlic (minced), 1 tbsp red apple (minced), 1/2 tsp of ginger, and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. You’ll want to thoroughly mix the ingredients together until it forms a paste.

3. Mixing everything together

This part is optional, but you can chop up some garlic chives and julliene some carrots to mix together with the kimchi and in this iteration I left out the carrots. You’ll then want to wipe the salt off of the cucumbers and transfer them to a clean bowl. We can then add the chives and sauce before mixing it altogether. It’s best to use your hands to make sure the sauce evenly coats the cucumbers. Be sure to either wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly before and after so that you don’t get any gochugaru in your eyes.

4. Waiting game

After mixing everything together, you’ll want to transfer everything to an airtight container and let it sit out for 12 to 18 hours to start the fermentation process. You’ll then transfer the kimchi to the fridge and make sure that it’s chilled before serving. It’s best to eat the cucumber kimchi within a week as well.

You don’t need to travel to Korea to have a taste of Korean food. You should be able to find most of these ingredients in your local store or online and of course you can feel free to experiment with some of the ingredients to find a kimchi that best suits you.

What other Korean recipes do you want us to try? Let us know in the comments below and tag us on on Instagram.


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