No sugar coating here. If you don’t like spicy things, this recipe is not for you.
But if you are not frightened by serranos, if you love nothing more on a hot summer day than to swallow a stuffed jalapeno whole, and you don’t wince in fear at the sight of a habanero, then you have come to the right place.
As a devoted fan to all things that will melt off your face, I’m especially obsessed with many Asian cuisines not just because of their intense and varied flavors, but also for their love of heat.
Korean cuisine, in particular, is a regular in my house. We grill up some meats, and organize a slew of different banchan to accompany them. Banchan are small dishes of various foods that can accompany Korean barbecue. The style and preparation of each of these dishes varies, but commonly includes various condiments, many different kimchees that add an entirely new level of flavor, and lettuce leaves and large rice noodle squares for wrapping all of it together into a nice package for shoving down your gullet.
My absolute favorite is cucumber kimchee. Sometimes it is prepared in a sweet manner with sugar, or with just a bit of rice vinegar and scallions. But what floats to the top for me is the hot version. Don’t act like you are surprised.
Persian cucumbers are soaked in two types of chile along with rice vinegar, fresh ginger, fish sauce, a bit of sugar and fresh garlic. It’s candy. Spicy spicy candy.
Double Chile Cucumber Kimchee Recipe
adapted from The Single Guy
1 lb Persian or Kirby cucumbers, cut into 1/4-1/2″ slices (NOTE: Do not use Hot House or conventional cucumbers. They will become mushy after pickling)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c rice wine or white wine vinegar
1/4 c water
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp hot chile paste
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Toss the cucumber slices with the salt in a bowl and let sit for 30m. The salt will pull the water content from the cukes so it can later be replaced with the tasty pickling liquid.
While the cucumbers are resting, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. After 30m, rinse the salt from the cucumbers and drain well. Add the cucumbers to the pickling liquid, and mix well.
Pack the cucumbers into mason jars, or some other resealable container. Pour the pickling liquid over the cucumbers in each of your containers until the liquid comes to a 1/2″ from the top of the container. Seal and let sit overnight or at least 4 hours in the fridge. The pickles will keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator. No canning needed, but feel free.
If you aren’t a fan of the heat, and you haven’t been scared off, then you are awesome. You can ALWAYS reduce the amount of chile in the recipe or remove it entirely. You’ll still come out the other end with some very nice pickles great for serving with beef or pork.