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Stuffed cucumber kimchi is one of those hot/cold dishes so welcomed on a sunny summer day. Countries with hot climates use chiles in abundance, and Korea is no exception. The heat from the chiles causes sweat, which cools the body as it evaporates, while the cold, crispness of the cucumbers refreshes. Kimchi, by the way, can be made with cabbage, radishes and many other vegetables, but it always includes a hefty dose of red chiles. It is the national dish of Korea, where no meal is served without at least one bowl of this spicy, condiment-like salad.
- 6 medium cucumbers
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 6 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 Korean radish or several red radishes, julienned
- 4 tablespoons dried red chile powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- If the cucumbers have wax on them, peel them.
- Cut them in half width-wise.
- Take each half then make two slits lengthwise at 90-degree angles to each other, cutting from the raw end almost to the base but not all the way through.
- Rub salt on all sides of the cucumbers.
- Place cucumbers in a colander in the sink for 2 to 3 hours, or until wilted but still with some spring to them.
- While the cucumbers are draining, make the stuffing.
- Stir together the garlic, ginger, green onion, radish, dried red chile powder and sugar.
- Heat a pot of boiling water.
- After they have been salted and drained, quickly dip the cucumbers in the boiling water, swirl them around for 1 to 2 seconds to remove the excess salt, then plunge into ice water.
- Wipe the cucumbers dry then press the stuffing into the slits.
- Place the cucumbers in the jars, cover tightly and let sit in a cool dark place for one day.
- Serve chilled within two or three days, while still crisp.