If you want a real treat, use this recipe to make stuffed cucumber kimchi (or kimchee). Known as oi sobaegi in Korean, this wildly popular dish is hard to keep on the table or in the fridge, because it's so beloved by Koreans of all age groups. Not only is the dish full of snap, crackle, and layers of flavor, but oi sobaegi can also be eaten on the same day that you make it.
The dish is a great meal to make if you don't eat meat or want to lower the amount of meat you consume on a regular basis. Other than the fish sauce that's part of the ingredient list, it's completely vegetarian. And all of the vegetables that make up the recipe have health benefits. Carrots, of course, are chock full of beta carotene, while chili peppers can help with blood circulation. Garlic is said to heal infections.
Meanwhile, cucumbers are reported to help with vision, lower cancer risk and flush out toxins. The minerals it contains, such as magnesium, potassium, and silicon, are known to be skin enhancers. So, if you want beautiful, healthy, glowing skin, up your intake of the fruit. And, lastly, due to the water content of cucumbers, they help you stay hydrated.
- 10 Korean, pickling or Kirby cucumbers*, with ends sliced off
- 1/4 cup of salt. If you're watching your sodium intake because of high blood pressure or another condition, you may lower this amount.
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup of kochukaru (Korean chili pepper)
- 1/2 cup of Asian chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup of fish sauce or liquid from brined sauce
- 1/3 cup of shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Wash cucumbers.
- Place end of cucumber on cutting board and cut in half down length, without cutting through to the end.
- Rotate the cucumber and make another cut without going through the end, so that the second cut is perpendicular to the first.
- Fill a large bowl with water and dissolve the ¼ cup salt into it.
- Fully submerge cucumbers in salt bath for 30 minutes.
- While cucumbers are marinating, mix all other ingredients together in a bowl to make the stuffing.
- After 30 minutes, remove cucumbers from salt bath but do not rinse.
- Fill each cucumber between the connected spears with spicy stuffing (but do not rinse out bowl).
- Place cucumbers next to each other in a glass container.
- Fill seasoning bowl with about a cup of water, dissolving remaining seasonings in bowl.
- Pour liquid over cucumbers until they are almost submerged.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
- Move cucumber kimchi to the refrigerator.
*You can find small Korean cucumbers at Asian markets. If you can't find kirby cucumbers, you can use another unwaxed thin-skinned cucumber.