Note: Buchu, or wild leeks, can be found in Korean markets.
Active Work Time: 30 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour plus 1 day standing
1/2 gallon plus 1/3 cup water
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon salt
20 Asian pickling cucumbers
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1/2-inch lengths
1 bunch Korean buchu, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Korean ground chile
1 teaspoon sugar plus 1 teaspoon, optional
* Mix 1/2 gallon water with 3/4 cup salt, stirring for salt to dissolve. Soak cucumbers in salt water about 30 minutes. (Be careful not to soak too long.) Remove cucumbers and rinse. Cut about 1/4 inch from each end of cucumbers. Cut cucumbers in half in middle, not lengthwise. Hold cucumber facing circular middle. Cut in half lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch at end uncut. Cut 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. Repeat with remaining cucumbers.
* Place garlic in a food processor or blender and mince. Combine onion, green onions, buchu, garlic, ground chile, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon optional sugar in large bowl. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chile burn.)
* Set 3 (1-quart) jars on work surface. Using your fingers, separate cucumber quarters and stuff mix into cucumbers. Divide evenly among jars, pressing cucumbers down firmly into jars. Stir 1 teaspoon sugar into 1/3 cup water until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour sugar water over cucumbers.
* Let sit 1 day before serving. Cucumber kimchi ferments very quickly. Refrigerate after opening.
3 quarts. Each 1/4 cup: 10 calories; 0 sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.45 gram fiber.