Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I'm always delinquent in updating the blog, but I think procrastination is part of my DNA. Just as an FYI, I was born long past my due date and I've been a top-quality procrastinator ever since!!! I could win procrastination contests. If there were a procrastination event in the Olympics I'd be a gold medalist for sure. I'm going to try to get caught up here because there has been some fabuloso food cooked in our kitchen lately that I want to share with you. Maybe this New Year's Day my resolution will be to post more often ... or maybe next New Year's Day ...
The following recipe is from singleguychef.blogspot.com . I've made these savory, crispy pickles twice now. When I made them I reduced the amount of sugar and increased the amount of salt from the original recipe because in my home we prefer a salty pickle as opposed to a sweet pickle.
The most important thing about this recipe is that you need to use Korean cucumbers if you can possibly find them. If not, use Kirby cucumbers (also called pickling cucumbers). Regular cucumbers just don't have the proper snappy crispiness for pickling.
Korean gochujang (hot chili paste) is available at most Asian markets. You may see it with different spellings, such as gokujang. I think it has something to do with the translation from Korean to English. If the word looks similar, you probably have the right thing. If you can't find gochujang, you can substitute a few squirts of sriracha sauce. You've seen sriracha even if you don't realize it; it's that sauce in the squirt bottle with the rooster on the label and the green plastic top that's readily available at most every grocery, even at Wal-Mart.
For the chili flakes you can use crushed red pepper flakes which are easy to find. But if you're lucky enough to have an Asian market nearby that stocks Korean staples, use mild or hot Korean red pepper powder, depending upon your taste. Korean red pepper powder is a lovely ingredient for recipes because it doesn't include the pepper seeds, so it gives you a nice, smooth texture.
These pickles are so easy and so full of flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
1 lb. Korean cucumbers or Kirby cucumbers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon hot chili paste
1 teaspoon chili flakes
Cut cucumbers about ¼-inch thick (leaving on the skin) and sprinkle with kosher salt. Gently work salt through the cucumber pieces with your hand and let sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse quickly under running water and drain in colander.
In a large bowl, mix together sugar, vinegar, water, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, chili paste, and chili flakes. (If you prefer a pickle that is more salty and less sweet, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to this mixture and reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup.) Add cucumbers and then transfer everything into a clean mason jar.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes about 3 cups of pickled cucumbers.