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Quick Cucumber Kimchi


While slowly fermented cabbage and pungent garlic are the ingredients most people associate with kimchi, there are dozens of other versions such as these quickly pickled cucumbers with just a trace of garlic.

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  • 2 pickling cucumber or other small cucumbers (about 8 ounce)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Korean chile powder (see note)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce (see note)



Step 1

1. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick half moons. Place in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with salt. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar, chile powder, sugar and fish sauce in a medium nonreactive bowl (see Tip).

3. Drain the cucumbers (discard the liquid). Stir the cucumbers into the vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving.

Notes: Korean chile powder (gochugaru, gochugalu or Korean “crushed red pepper”) is made from thin red peppers that are sun-dried on woven mats or strung together and hung from the eaves of thatch-roofed houses throughout the countryside.

Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets.

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