Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cucumber Kimchi - Tales from the Ex files...

Daddy's Cucumber Kimchi - a Fresh Take


Here's my first official recipe - a fresh style of cucumber kimchi.  This recipe emanated from the Ex files (not to be confused with the popular 90's TV show).

Back when I was married, I had my ex's mom teach me to make her awesomely tasty yet easy to make cucumber kimchi.  I've experimented with it some and added the daikon, but the credit goes to her. Thankfully, she passed this on to me as my ex has told me recently that her mom doesn't really remember how to make this anymore. Before Father Time does the same to me, I now pass this wonderful recipe on to you.

2 lbs Cucumbers - Japanese, Baby Persian, or Korean variety
4" long piece of White Radish - Mu (Korean radish) or Daikon (Japanese White Radish)
1 med onion (yellow, red, white or brown- they all work fine)
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp red chili pepper powder (Kochu Garu) *See notes at the end*

This will make about 1/2 gallon of cucumber kimchi goodness.


Wash the cucumbers and trim the ends off, then cut each cuke into 3 equal pieces. Quarter each piece like so.

Slice onion in to 1/4" thick round pieces, then quarter and separate the rings. 

Peel and slice radish in half lengthwise. Then slice each half into 1/4" thick semi-circular pieces as shown

Put the cut vegetables into a non reactive bowl and mix.  It should look like this...

Next, sprinkle the 2 Tbsp of kosher salt to lightly coat all the vegetables. Regular table salt will work as well but you need to use less (you'll have to experiment...I'd start with maybe 1 Tbsp). You are NOT trying to pickle the vegetables.  The salt acts to remove some of the water out of the vegetables which helps keep them crisp over time.

Now add the minced garlic and the red pepper powder and mix well.  It will look like the picture at the top.

Now, bust out a 1/2 gallon non reactive container with a lid. I use an old kimchi jar. It should fill the entire jar. I actually had to gently shake the jar to get the cukes to pack down so I could fit them all in.  Once they are in, put the cap on tightly and put the jar in the fridge. That's it! 

  Ready for the fridge

You can begin eating these babies the next day...No waiting around for these things to ferment. It is meant to be eaten fresh.  The batch will stay crisp and fresh tasting for a week or two.  As the salt takes out moisture from the veggies, you'll see the volume reduce by about 1/4 and there will be a lot of juice.

Ready to eat!

You can adjust the garlic, salt, and pepper to your liking. I hope you enjoy this easy recipe as much as my friends and family does.

** A brief word about the red pepper powder **
 If this is your first time buying Korean red pepper powder (pronounced koh-Choo Kah-roo), it can be overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions: 

1.  Find a Korean friend who knows where the local Korean Market is. If you ain't got one of those handy, do a search and find the nearest one (market that is...)

2.  There are many brands as well as particle sizes, from flakes to powder. For this recipe, I use finely ground powder (looks just slightly more coarse than flour). But don't worry...if you can only find the coarse variety, it will do.

3.  Last but not least, try and find a brand that uses Korean grown red peppers. Just because it's a Korean brand, doesn't ensure this as most of them use peppers sourced from China. This can usually be found in the fine print on the back where the ingredients are listed. I don't know what it is, but the Korean red peppers are less bitter and have a richer flavor than the Chinese peppers used. The Korean pepper powder costs about twice as much, but goes a long ways and keeps quite a while in the refrigerator.

Next pak choi kimchi. Stay tuned
Also check out my cousin Ron's Blog for cool look at his personal Korean history thru the eyes of a 4th generation Korean American. He's the one who gave me the pak choi kimchi recipe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So, you wanna make kimchi? Come on in...

Welcome to Daddy's Kimchi-story.  You can read that as Kimchi Story (as in a story about kimchi) or Kimchi History (sort of a play on words, but ...Kimc-history looked weird. What's Kimc? See what I mean?)

My name is Greg, and I'm mainly using this blog as a method to share the recipes I've come across for making kimchi of all different sorts. I'm by no means an expert at either blogging or kimchi making, but I'm no stranger to the kitchen and didn't have to take bonehead English as a freshman at UCLA many years ago, so this should be less painful than getting kochu garu (red chile pepper) in the in eye.

Ready? Set? Time to ferment...