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Cucumber Kimchee

Ming says: Kimchee is the spicy pickle served with almost every Korean meal. It's usually made with fermented cabbage or turnip, and stored in a tightly sealed jar, it lasts forever. My cucumber version is equally spicy and has the added flavor of fresh ginger. The traditional method involves burying the kimchee to ferment it. You won't have to dig up the kitchen, however, as I use vinegar to do the same job. I call for the traditional Korean chile, kucho karu, to make this, but you can just as effectively substitute regular red pepper flakes (and feel free to adjust the amount). Also, be very careful about putting unprotected fingers into the mixture, as you can too easily rub your eyes with them—not a good thing. Instead, use clean tongs or chopsticks to serve or transfer the kimchee.

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To make ginger matchsticks, first slice a peeled 1-inch-long piece of ginger horizontally into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Stack these and cut them vertically into 1/8-inch-wide sticks. Kucho Karo is a traditional Korean hot red pepper powder that is hot (very hot), flavorful, and slightly sweet. Three kinds are available: fine- and coarseground, and flake, which is similar to Western hot pepper flakes. I find coarse-ground easiest to work with.

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Andrew Graham

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are the best wines to pair with Cucumber Kimchee.


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