This is an easy kimchi recipe to make. Cucumbers ferment the quickest—about 1 day out of the fridge. Use this recipe and method to make any kimchi you like. Napa cabbage is the most common but must be fermented for longer. You can play around with fermentation time and temperature until you get the perfect sour-funky balance you like.
Mix 8 cups water with 3/4 cup salt, stirring until the salt dissolves to make a brine.
Cut about 1/4 inch from each end of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers in half in the middle, not lengthwise. Hold the cucumber facing the circular middle. Cut them in half lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch at the end uncut. Cut them in half lengthwise again, perpendicular to your first cut, leaving the end uncut. You should have 4 semi-equal parts of cucumber, cut but still attached. Make two incisions, about 1/2 inch deep, on the top of the cucumber piece, then cut two more perpendicular to create a 3-by-3 grid. Repeat on all ends. This will help the cucumber catch and absorb the flavors. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers.
Soak the cucumbers in the saltwater for 30 minutes, no longer. Remove the cucumbers from the brine. Combine the onion, green onions, garlic chives, garlic, ground chile, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon optional sugar in a large bowl. I recommend wearing gloves for this.
Set three 1-quart jars on your work surface. Using your fingers, separate the cucumber quarters and stuff the chile mix into the cucumbers. Divide them evenly among the jars, pressing the cucumbers down firmly into the jars, so that all of the cucumbers are standing up, filling towards towards the top.
Stir 1 teaspoon of sugar into 1/3 cup water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the sugar water over the cucumbers.
Let it sit 1 day, at room temperature, before serving. Cucumber kimchi ferments very quickly. Refrigerate after opening and consume within 3 to 4 days.
Reprinted with permission from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.