Cycle 13 – Item 129
14 (Sat) May 2022
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with W, IZ
This time, I used the same kimchi paste to make oi sobagi (cucumber kimchi).
- 8 long cucumbers
- 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- 500 grams of buchu (garlic chives)
- 2 cups of kimchi paste (see recipe above)
1. Wash the cucumbers and cut into fourths, each about 6-8 cm in length.
2. Slice each piece lengthwise about two-thirds of the way down, leaving at least 2 cm on one end.
3. Slice again, perpendicular to the first slice.
4. Toss the cucumbers in salt until evenly coated and let them sit for about 2 hours.
5. After 2 hours, rinse the cucumbers under running water and shake off excess moisture.
6. Meanwhile, cut the buchu into lengths of about 4 cm.
7. Mix the buchu with the kimchi paste and let it sit for 2 hours (until the cucumbers are ready to go).
8. Taking a quartered cucumber piece in one hand, grab a big pinch of marinated buchu with the other hand and stuff the scapes into the cross section, taking care not to break the quadrants at the base.
9. Stack the stuffed cucumbers in a stainless steel or glass container.
10. Seal the container and place in the refrigerator.
Oi sobagi may be served at various points in the fermentation process. They can be eaten right away, perhaps after chilling in the fridge for an hour, but they’ll taste a bit raw. Ideally, allow the flavors to develop slowly under refrigeration for about 2 days, when the kimchi will be perfectly ripe and crispy. The cucumbers will begin to turn mushy relatively soon thereafter, compared to napa cabbage or radish, so the kimchi should be enjoyed as quickly as possible, best within a week or two, a month at most.
When done right, before it goes mushy, oi sobagi is probably my favorite kind of kimchi. It’s the only kimchi that I could eat on its own with plain rice, no other banchan needed.
NOTE: I will experiment with the warm water technique next time, which is reported to keep the cucumbers crispy for longer.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)