Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cucumber Kimchi

Second of the three kimchis made in my class at ICE on May 3 is a cucumber kimchi, made with kirby cucumbers, garlic, sea salt, ginger, shrimp paste, chives and red pepper powder. This kimchi is very similar to the pickles I love to buy from Pickles Guys on Essex- the spicy garlic, full sour variety, but with an added burn of ginger, and an added seawaterness of the shrimp. Though this kimchi is technically edible directly after making, we were instructed to wait at least 3 days to help the cucumbers leak out more of their moisture and mix flavors with the so. I've been trying hard to resist eating it, but it taunts me each time I open the fridge! I came home from class with two containers of it, and have since condensed them into one container due to my picking at them and the natural shrinkage of the contents as they loose water. Last night, I tasted it again and I think it's safe to say they've reached they optimum eating date! They were garlicy, spicy, briny and allover delicious. Surprising to me was that the cucumbers seemed to have actually become more crisp than originally. How this was achieved through loosing water, I'm not sure. But I like them. A lot.
These are extremely easy to make. Essentially, you chop up the kirby cucumbers in regularly-sized chunks and salt them liberally with seasalt. You let them sit like this for an hour or more, then pour off the water. While they're leaking fluids, you make the so: mince garlic, grate ginger, chop chives, and add seasalt and red pepper powder. This mixture, too, will bleed fluid (which you keep).
When both the so and the cucumbers are ready, hand-blend them together and package up!
Next time I make these (and mark my words, I WILL be making these again), I think I might cut out some of the ginger, and add more of the red pepper. To me, the ginger gave the kimchi an almost basic quality that burnt my tongue too much.
Stay tuned for my final installment of the kimchi chronicles, Napa Cabbage Kimchi, after they've sat for another month and I can report back.

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