I no longer buy kimchi from our Korean market as I like my homemade version better, but have been wanting to try it with cucumber for a while now.
It's the same method as the cabbage, with just a few different steps...
First, I bought the pickling cucumbers at our local grocer today. A little more than I wanted to pay, but would have paid the difference in gas to get our Korean market, so it all worked out. I think these cucumbers are just firmer, seedless, and hold up a little better. If you don't want to pay the higher price or can't find Korean cucumbers (which are perfect for this) then you can try the hot house or English cucumber. I wouldnt' recommend just regular old cucumber as I think they will get mushy.
Now, with my cabbage kimchi, I soak it in salt water for a few hours before mixing it with the kimchi paste, but was worried that if I did that, the cucumbers would get mushy to start out, so I skipped that step, even though some recipes still recommend it.
I may try it next time...if you do want to do this step, just soak the cut up cucumbers in super salty water for a few hours...
So to prepare, just slice into two inch sections, then in four spears like the picture...
And onto the paste. Here are the three ingredients I get at my Korean market. The ginger, Korean chili flakes (unlike no other!) and the fish sauce. I'm sure you could use all "American" substitutes for these, but this is what I use.
Take a whole head of garlic and peel and put into food processor with about a Tablespoon of ginger, 1/4-1/2 cup of chili flakes, 1/4 cup of fish sauce and about a teaspoon of sugar and blend till it's a thick paste.
Use a large bowl or pan and mix all together.
Dump into a container that can be made airtight and so the cucumbers just fit.
Then pour a cup or two of water into the pan you mixed in and scrape all the goodies together and stir to make a sort of "paste" water. This will be your cucumber kimchi "brine".
Then pour over cucumbers and wah lah! Seal in an airtight container and leave out at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 24 hours. Then refrigerate.
I plan to pour off a little of the liquid once the cucumbers have fermented a bit so that the kimchi paste will "stick" a little better to it and give it a little extra flavor.
I'm also thinking next time I will probably let it sit a bit in just the paste first before adding the liquid.
It's all an experiment with me!!
We're having Bi Bim Bop tonight for dinner, so I thought this would be a good side dish for it!
Or try it with some homemade yakimandu or jap chae!
If I had it my way, I'd make all of it and have a little buffet!!