I’m always on the look out for new and interesting pickle recipes. This quick cucumber pickle caught my eye because it reminds me so much of kimchi. It is savory, crunchy, salty, and the perfect side dish to serve with a bowl of rice and grilled teriyaki chicken, beef, fish, or tofu.
It’s amazing how the seed pockets detach from the cucumbers once they are smashed. I use my mallet which works perfectly. You can use the blade of a large knife if you don’t have a mallet (or a small skillet).
The dressing for the cucumbers is simple to prepare. Mix everything together in a small bowl, set aside until ready to serve. You could also drizzle this dressing over steamed bok choy, watercress, or blanched bean sprouts.
- 1½ pounds thin-skinned cucumbers
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt for dressing plus ¼ teaspoon for cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I use avocado oil which is milder than olive oil)
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru (medium heat Korean chili pepper flakes that have a fruity and slightly smoky flavor) or red chili pepper flakes to taste
- Cilantro leaves
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
- Place cucumbers on a cutting board cut side down. Using a mallet or the blade of a knife, smash down lightly until the flesh breaks down a bit and the seeds separate. Slice pieces diagonally into bite-sized pieces leaving seeds behind.
- Place cucumber pieces in a strainer over a bowl and toss with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and a few big pinches of sugar. Place a plate or bowl over the cucumbers and weigh it down with something heavy such as a large can of tomatoes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
- In a small bowl, combine ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Stir in sesame oil, soy sauce, grated garlic, and Korean chili flakes.
- When ready to serve, lightly pat dry cucumbers with paper towels and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Stir in half of the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt if needed. Stir in more dressing so that the cucumbers are well coated. Garnish with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds before serving.