This is an easy kimchi recipe to make. Cucumbers ferment the quickest, about 1 day out of the fridge. Use this recipe and method to make any kimchi you like—Napa cabbage is the most common. Remember to ferment other items like cabbage for longer. You can play around with fermentation time and temp until you get the perfect sour funky balance you like.
Makes 3 quarts (2.8 L).
- 1/2 gallon plus 1/3 cup (1.9 L plus 80 mL) water
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (196 g) salt, divided
- 20 Persian or Japanese cucumbers
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, cut into 1/2" (13-mm) dice
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1/2" (13-mm) lengths
- 1 bunch garlic chives (buchu), cut into 1/2" (13-mm) pieces
- 1/2 cup (95 g) Korean ground chili
- 1 tsp sugar, plus 1 tsp as optional
- Mix 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) of water with 3/4 cup (180 g) of salt, stirring until the salt dissolves, to make a brine.
- Soak the cucumbers in salt water for 30 minutes, no longer.
- Remove the cucumbers from the brine and rinse. Cut about 1/4 of an inch (6-mm) from each end of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers in half in the middle, not lengthwise. Hold the cucumber facing the circular middle. Cut them in half lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch (1/3 cm) at the end uncut. Cut them in half lengthwise again, perpendicular to your first cut, leaving the end uncut. You should have 4 semi-equal parts of cucumber, cut but still attached. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers.
- Combine the onion, green onions, buchu, ground chili, 1 tablespoon (16 g) of salt, and 1 teaspoon optional sugar in a large bowl. I recommend wearing gloves for this.
- Set 3 (1-quart [946-mL]) jars on your work surface. Using your fingers, separate the cucumber quarters and stuff the mix into the cucumbers. Divide them evenly among the jars, pressing the cucumbers down firmly into the jars.
- Stir 1 teaspoon of sugar into 1/3 cup (80 mL) of water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the sugar water over the cucumbers.
- Let it sit 1 day before serving. Cucumber Kimchi ferments very quickly. Refrigerate it after opening.
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Cover courtesy of Page Street Publishing
Reprinted with permission from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Ken Goodman.