Cucumber Quick-Kimchi


The month of May was pretty busy.  Tons of paperwork, and a lot of insurance companies seemed to change what medications they were willing to pay for without warning.  So there were a lot of forms to fill out, to either change the medications or to beg (pleasepleaseprettyplease keep paying for my patient’s insulin) that an exception be made.

The busy-ness made for a lot of mediocre purchased lunches.  By Memorial Day weekend, though, I had had it with crappy lunches, and I had a huge craving for Korean food.  So I made some quick cucumber “kimchi.”  It’s not really kimchi because it doesn’t ferment, but it has the spiciness and saltiness of any good kimchi.

This is my mother’s recipe – she used to make this for me a lot when I lived at home during medical school.  Mixed in with some leftover rice and leftover flank steak (and a good dousing of sesame oil), it hit the spot.

Quick Cucumber “Kimchi” [my mother’s recipe, although very similar to the one found here]

2 small cucumbers (Kirby or “seedless” cucumbers)

1 teaspoon salt, to taste

scant teaspoon gochugaru (= Korean chili flakes.  They are NOT like American chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes)

small clove of garlic,  minced (if it doesn’t have garlic in it, it’s not Korean food)

1 scallion, thinly sliced (the white and the light green parts only)

1 teaspoon vinegar (plain vinegar or rice wine, not balsamic or red wine)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon crushed sesame seeds

Wash the cucumbers and slice thinly.  Mix in all the ingredients thoroughly, using your hands if needed.  Taste for seasoning.

TIME: 10-15 minutes.  Super quick, super easy.

COST: All in all, not bad.  The biggest expense will be the gochukaru.  It’s easy to find at most Asian food shops, but the problem is is that you end up buying a fairly hefty bag for it, just to use a few teaspoons at a time.  :-/

WANDERING EYE FACTOR: i.e. how likely am I to go out and buy something else instead.  Low – when my coworkers took me out for lunch, I was actually disappointed that I wasn’t eating this instead!

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