Fresh cucumber ‘kimchee’

IMG_9291I know that kimchee comes in many flavours, and chinese cabbage is not a pre-requisite, but, lovely though this pickle is, I suspect if you presented it to a die hard, Korean, pickle fan they may snicker lightly. It’s a fridge pickle really, doesn’t have time to ferment as a true kimchee should, and it doesn’t use the proper korean dried chilli peppers. But, whatever, it’s a cracker of a fresh, zingy, lightly chillied relish.

Give it a go, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

I have only very slightly adapted this recipe, and the real credit needs to go to Australian House and Garden magazine, of all places.



  • 4 or 5 small lebanese cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup medium grain sea salt
  • 4 stalks of kale (I used a mix of homegrown kale and mustard greens, and I prefer there to be more cucumber than greens)

Pickling mix

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • fresh chillies to your taste – we used about 3 hot and one milder, but hey, chilli is such a subjective thing.
  • 2 tablespoons purreed/grated ginger
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon korean gochujang chilli paste (or you could use chilli powder if you really can’t find it)

First, peel and cut the cucumbers into quarters and slice thinly – about coin wide works well. Lay them in a colander and work the salt in. Leave for at least 30 minutes.IMG_9286

Strip the stalks from the kale and slice thinly. I like to mix them in with the salting cucumbers for the last 5 minutes.IMG_9289

Bring to the boil all the remaining ingredients, stirring, simmer for a minute or two then allow to cool.IMG_9284

Rinse the veggies well under running water until the saltiness is much reduced. They’ll have reduced in volume as the water has been drawn from them. Drain well.

Pack into a container and pour over the pickling liquid, pressing down to submerge fully.IMG_9290 Leave at least overnight before using. I like to give it a bit of a turn whenever I take some out. Keeps in the fridge for a week or two.


5 thoughts on “Fresh cucumber ‘kimchee’

      • Completely understood!
        Adding to my list, really just eat with anything where a crunchy fresh pickle would work – from curries, to a cheese plate; if – like us – you often do a grilled salmon/rice/veg combo it goes brilliantly with that too.

    • Excellent question! Mr C (being something of a labrador, as you know) will eat it with just about anything and so far has added it to a prawn sandwich, as a side to chilli con carne (does anyone still call it that, BTW?), and on his usual tinned mackerel fishy-tomato-toast-topping of a weekend. It may well last longer than 2 weeks in the fridge but hasn’t ever lasted that long – yet – but if this batch does hang around I will be sure to let you know!

      Incidentally there’s no problem with halving the quantities and trying a smaller amount just to see if you like it.

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