Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi
By Hisoo Shin Hepinstall, Growing up in a Korean Kitchen: A Cookbook
1 pound Korean or Japanese cucumbers or other seedless,
1 tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt, or additional if needed
2 ounces Korean radishes or daikon, peeled and
shredded into 1½-inch matchsticks
6 ounces Korean chives or Chinese chives, snipped into 1½-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
½ tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 walnut, finely chopped
½ tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed ginger juice or grated ginger
1 tablespoon sil koch’u (hot red pepper threads), cut into 1-inch pieces
1.Trim the ends off the cucumbers and cut into 2-inch pieces. Carefully slice each piece vertically in half, but do not cut all the way to the bottom. In a large bowl, arrange the cucumbers upright in one layer, sliced side on top. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the cucumbers and let stand for about 30 minutes. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel, being careful not to break apart the pieces. Set aside.
2. In another bowl combine all the ingredients for the stuffing, reserving some hot pepper for garnish and toss well. Carefully stuff the mixture into each cucumber slit. Layer the cucumbers vertically, stuffed side up, in a sterilized 3-quart jar with a screw-top lid. Add a little water to the bowl to mix with the remaining bits and pieces of the stuffing, and pour over the kimchi.
3. Close the jar lid tight and double wrap in plastic bags. Let mature at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, then store in the refrigerator. The kimchi will stay fresh for 1 week at most. Serve in small individual dishes, placing 2 cucumbers in each, stuffed side up. Garnish with reserved sil koch’u. Serve as a side dish.
Chef’s Quote: In early days, this kimchi could only be enjoyed in the summer, when cucumbers were at their prime, today it is available year-round. This is an instant kimchi and is usually made in small portions. Seedlings and crunchy cucumbers with soft skins are ideal for this recipe. So-called pickling cucmbers are fine, but avoid the tough-skinned American variety with seeds.