Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi (Oi-sobagi Kimchi) – There’s something satisfying about taking a huge, honking bite of something delicious, right? Like a giant hunk o’ brownie, or stuffing in a huge piece of sushi all at once. Choking hazard aside, it gives your mouth a full fireworks show of flavor, texture, and excitement on every taste bud, all at once. That’s this pickle: a cool cucumber, standing upright, stuffed to the brim with blazing heat, garlic, and ginger. And you’ll be amazed at how pretty it is on a plate.
Makes 14 stuffed cucumber bites
TIME : ABOUT 1½ HOURS
- 3 pounds English hothouse cucumbers or thin-skinned salad cucumbers on the slim side (not pickling cucumbers)
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and trimmed
- 2 green onions, roots and tough tops trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 9 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Korean chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ ounce dried shrimp, optional
- Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard the ends. Cut the cucumbers into fourteen 2-inch sections. Stand each piece upright on a work surface and cut an X shape halfway (1 inch) down into each piece, leaving the bottom inch intact. Stand the cukes up in a shallow dish and sprinkle the salt on their bottoms and tops and down into the X cut. Let them sit upright for 1 hour to leach out some of their juice.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Dice the carrot and the green onion. You can do this by hand, or by cutting them into chunks and pulsing about 20 times in a food processor. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, chile flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and dried shrimp. Puree into a paste, pausing to scrape down solids from the sides. This should take about a minute or so. Once smooth, fold the paste into the carrots and the onion.
- Drain any liquid that has pooled in the bottom of the cucumber dish, and lightly pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Stuff about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into each cucumber, working to get as much into the center as possible, and mounding a dollop on top.
- These pickles are ready to eat immediately, or they can be served at room temperature for about 12 hours. Unused portions should be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.