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Cucumber Kimchi

Updated: Aug 28

Seasonal Delight


With cucumbers currently in season, their plentiful availability and cost-effectiveness make it the ideal time to whip up some refreshing Cucumber Kimchi. This delightful ferment not only elevates Asian dishes but is also a perfect accompaniment for those sun-soaked days. Plus, it's a fantastic way to give your gut microbiome a healthy boost!


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Cucumber Kimchi
Cucumber Kimchi

The Art of Fermentation: My Cucumber Kimchi Story


In the world of culinary arts, fermentation holds a special place for me. There's something magical about watching simple ingredients transform, gaining depth and complexity over time. While I've never set foot in Korea, its rich tradition of fermentation, especially kimchi, has always fascinated me.


Now, every summer, my allotment blesses me with an abundance of fresh cucumbers. Crisp, green, and bursting with flavour, they're a testament to the love and care poured into the soil. And what better way to celebrate this bounty than by diving into the art of making Cucumber Kimchi?


While most people are familiar with the classic Napa cabbage kimchi, the cucumber version, known as "Oi Kimchi" (오이 김치), offers a refreshing twist. It's a delightful dance of flavours – the crunch of fresh cucumbers, the warmth of spices, and the tang of fermentation.


Creating this kimchi in my kitchen is more than just a culinary exercise; it's a bridge to a culture I admire, using produce from my very own patch of earth. I invite you to join me on this fermentation journey, where tradition meets homegrown passion. Let's savour the art, one bite at a time!


The Wholesome Goodness of Fermentation


For those new to the world of fermented delights, there's more to them than just tantalizing flavours. Fermented foods, like our Cucumber Kimchi, are a treasure trove of health benefits. The fermentation process encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, often referred to as probiotics. These tiny warriors are known to boost gut health, aiding digestion and enhancing nutrient absorption. Moreover, fermented foods are rich in enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, making them a powerhouse of nutrition. So, as you savour each bite, know that you're not just indulging your taste buds, but also nourishing your body in the most delicious way possible!


 

Cucumber Kimchi: Ingredient list


Preparation time: 35 minutes

Fermentation time: 2 days

Portion size: This recipe makes 2 bags/1jar (around 4 large portions)


Ingredients for the Kimchi:


  • 700g of cucumbers (pickling variety)

  • 14g of salt (2% per cucumber weight)

  • 1 medium-sized carrot cut into 5cm julienne

  • a handful of chives


Ingredients for the Paste:


  • 3tbsp of Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes, use 2tbsp for a less spicy version)

  • 1,5tbsp of minced garlic

  • 2tsp of minced ginger

  • half of the red apple, grated

  • 1,5tbsp of sugar or honey

  • 1tsp of minced Saeujeot (Korean salted shrimp)(use more fish sauce if not available)

  • 1tsp of fish sauce (Use dark soy sauce for the vegetarian version)


Cucumber Kimchi: Step-by-Step Guide


1. Preparing the Cucumbers:


Begin by trimming the ends of the cucumbers. Slice each cucumber in half lengthwise. Then, segment these halves into 5cm pieces. For added texture, further slice each segment into a triangular prism shape.


2. Salting Process:


In a large mixing bowl, combine the cucumber segments with julienned carrots and chives. Evenly distribute the salt over the vegetables, ensuring they're well-coated. This salting process will draw out moisture, a crucial step for fermentation. Allow the mixture to rest for about 25 minutes.


3. Crafting the Gochugaru Paste:


While the cucumbers are resting, let's prepare the spicy Gochugaru paste.

In a separate bowl, combine the Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), minced garlic, minced ginger, grated red apple, sugar or honey, minced Saeujeot (Korean salted shrimp), and fish sauce. If you're opting for a milder version, adjust the chili flakes as per your preference. Mix these ingredients thoroughly until you achieve a consistent paste.


4. Combining and Packing:


Once the cucumbers have rested, gently squeeze out any excess moisture.

Introduce the Gochugaru paste to the cucumber mixture, ensuring an even coat on all pieces. Now, it's time to pack! You can either use a traditional jar or opt for vacuum bags. Ensure there's minimal air in the container to promote proper fermentation.


5. Fermentation and Storage:


Allow the packed kimchi to ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 days. You'll notice a slight tangy aroma indicating the fermentation process is underway.

After this period, transfer the kimchi to the refrigerator. Cooling it down halts the fermentation, preserving the cucumber's crunch. While the Cucumber Kimchi is ready to be enjoyed immediately after chilling, its flavours will continue to mature over the next few days. However, since cucumbers are more delicate than cabbage, it's best to consume this kimchi while it retains its crunchiness.


From the Chef


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