Spicy Cucumbers

serves 8

One of many traditional Korean dishes served as an appetizer. Use small pickling cucumbers for this crowd pleaser. Be sure to find Korean chili powder (gochugaru) and fish sauce; there is no substitute.

4 pickling cucumbers
2 tsp. salt

For the pepper paste:
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, minced
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. Korean chili powder (gochugaru)
4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. fish sauce

Prepare the cucumbers at least 1 hour ahead of time. Slice cucumbers in half along length, then cut crosswise into ⅛ slices, making half-moon shapes. Place cucumbers in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Let the cucumbers sit for 1–8 hours, allowing the salt to extract water.

While the cucumbers rest, prepare the pepper paste by combining the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mixing well. Drain the salt water off the cucumbers (do not rinse). Add the pepper paste to the cucumbers and mix well. Keep the spicy cucumbers refrigerated until serving; they will keep up to one week.

Julie publishes Edible Ohio Valley with her family. After 15 years in the world of commercial photography, her lens is now focused on recording the sustainability movement in the Midwest. A graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, she’s a partner and co-founder of The Fairview Agency, a multidisciplinary creative firm.