Koreans love their pickled foods. Ranging from ingredients using cabbage to Chinese broccoli greens, I find these pickled foods are a great match with Korean barbequed ribs.
I recently visited my mother’s sister in Vancouver and she showed me this great recipe for spicy pickled kirby cucumbers. They are garlicky, spicy, salty, crunchy, and refreshing in all of the right ways.
Ingredients are simple: kirby cucumbers, Chinese chives, crushed garlic, Korean chili flakes, fish sauce, onions, and kosher salt.
Kirby cucumbers are a must; I found them in a local farmer’s market but they are also commonly found in Korean markets.
First: wash your cucumbers thoroughly and cut off the ends.
Second: feed the ends to your beloved pooch.
Third: slice the cucumber vertically about half way; flip it onto the other side, rotate it 180 degrees and do the same again. This allows you to stuff more of the spicy Chinese chive mixture into the cucumber. Place these in a ziploc bag and cover heavily the kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Fifth: crush 4 cloves of garlic and dice thin slices of about 1/4 of an onion.
Sixth: mix the chives, chili flakes (about 1/3 cup), crushed garlic, onion, and fish sauce (about 3 tablespoons) in a bowl and put aside.
Seventh: blanch the cucumbers for about 1 minute in boiling water. After you take them out, make sure to run them under cold water or even place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. This process will make the cucumbers super crunchy.
Eighth: take the cucumbers and start stuffing them in the sliced areas with the chive mixture. Depending on the size of your cucumbers, pack them tightly into either Mason jars or a big plastic container.
Ninth: put any extra mixture in with the cucumbers and let sit for a few hours. Once they are cooled completely, place the container in the refrigerator. You can enjoy these the day they are made or a few days after!