Quick Cucumber Kimchi
From the Money Saving Recipes Series
Quick Cucumber Kimchi is by far the favorite for most Westerners who didn’t grow up eating the smelly and pungent spicy cabbage condiment. My husband still complains when I open up the fridge and the fermented smell wafts out into the air. Luckily we now have a new refrigerator and the old one in is in our garage, happily housing my smelly fermented kimchis and everyone is happy!
Quick Cucumber Kimchi also doesn’t have the offensive smell that Baechu Kimchi does. Baechu Kimchi is the nappa cabbage kimchi that can be compared to sauerkraut but with a spicy kick. Quick Cucumber Kimchi is mild and mellow and can be compared to eating a spicy pickle without all of the sourness that you get from eating dill pickles.
The cucumber slices tend to stay crispy and fresh because you have to salt and pickle the cucumber prior to seasoning it with the flavoring ingredients. If you are modifying your diet like I am, then eating kimchis like this one is ultra good for your digestive health as well as getting your daily dose of fresh veggies.
There are numerous health benefits to eating spicy kimchis to include reducing inflammation and promoting weight loss with the ingredient capsacin which is found in peppers. Read more at Wikipedia about the benefits of Capsacin here. See what WedMD had to say about it’s health benefits here.
Vegetarian and vegan diets can benefit from this recipe because it spices things up while keeping the vegetables raw and still full of their nutrients and vitamins. One half cup serving of this kimchi is a whopping 51 calories! So eat it up guilt free!
I can tell you this – my family doesn’t care how healthy, fresh or good for you it is, my batches of Quick Cucumber Kimchi never last long in my house because it’s so delicious!
Ingredients for Quick Cucumber Kimchi
2 lbs gourmet or kirby cucumbers
3 tbs Crushed red pepper flakes
3 green onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbs sesame oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
1/4 cup shredded carrots
Be sure and use gourmet cucumbers – found in your produce department at the grocery store, usually in bags of 6 or more – and not the salad or English seedless varieties. You could also use kirby (pictured below) cucumbers.
I like my slices to be on the smaller size so that it fits nicely on my spoon. If it’s too big to fit my spoon then it’s too big for one bite. I don’t use a knife when eating rice and kimchi, just a spoon and chopsticks so that little slice of cuke needs to fit just right. You don’t have to be as persnickety as I am but keep this in mind when picking out your cukes.
You want your cucumber variety to have minimal seed and pulp as these alter and “water down” the taste of the kimchi. The star of this dish is actually the red pepper powder and not the cucumber itself. We just use the cucumber as the vehicle to drive the pepper home to your mouth!
Make your kimchi
Wash and slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices and place in a bowl. Add the kosher salt and stir to coat the cucumber slices. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring/shaking/tossing occassionally.
Once the cucumbers have given off their water and are easily bendable when squeezed from end to end without snapping in half, wash them in cold water to remove the salt.
Gently squeeze the slices between your hands to rid them of excess water and place in a bowl or container for storage. Remember, this is a gentle little squeeze, so be careful or you will smush those little rounds into pulp!
Add the red pepper flakes, green onion, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, carrots and water to your storage bowl and cucumbers and stir or toss everything until well combined.
Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 3 days to fully pickle and ferment. Enjoy with rice, sushi or eggs. Use it to top asian tacos or mix with salad greens for a spicy flare! I like to eat it with my spam, eggs and rice dish. Click here to read the recipe, it’s super simple to make! It’s also a nice accompaniment to my Omurice Rice Omelet too.
One taste of this Quick Cucumber Kimchi will have you addicted and completely sold out on the idea of incorporating kimchi into your diet! The biggest perk of this kimchi is the lack of offensive smell because this is more or less a spicy cucumber pickle. If you really want an interesting meal idea then top this on asian flavored meat or fish tacos.
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