Korean Cooking: A Spicy Stuffed Cucumber Side Dish (오이소박이)
My third Korean side dish success! To be honest, this was my second try at this dish and it turned out much better than my first go at it. The first time I went to make this I started not realizing we didn’t have fish sauce in the house. As I live with a Korean man who enjoys cooking, I had assumed he would have all of the basic necessities for Korean cooking already here, but alas, he did not. Instead of using the recipe that needed the fish sauce, I found another one that didn’t use fish sauce and instead directed me to pour hot water over the final mixture. Hot water is no fish sauce substitute, not that I thought it was at all, and the final dish just ended up tasting like wilted cucumbers with hot pepper flakes on them. Failure.
Today, I tried again after going to the market and finding the right fish sauce, which I found with the help of the lovely ajjumma who was working. I went back to Maangchi for the basics and then pared everything down because she seems to make quite a bit more than our household of two would need.
2 Tbs. Shredded Carrots
2 Tbs. Thinly Sliced Onions
1/2 Cup Green Onions
1 Garlic Clove Minced
2.5 Tbs. Fish Sauce
3 Tbs. Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp. Brown Sugar
- Wash the cucumbers and cut them in half or thirds, taking into account your storage container to decide. Then cut them down the center twice making pockets. Be careful not to cut all the way through.
- Put the cucumbers into a bowl and rub them with coarse salt. Mix and get the salt everywhere thoroughly and set aside and let rest for thirty minutes.
- In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients: Carrots, Onions, Green Onions, Garlic, Fish Sauce, Hot Pepper Flakes and Sugar. If you have cats, be prepared for some excitement around the table when you pour the fish sauce. Mine thought they were getting a treat. Also, 3 Tbs. of Hot Pepper Flakes makes for a quite spicy side dish. Don’t put as much if you want something milder.
- After thirty minutes has passed, wash the cucumbers and stuff them with the mixture. Get as much in the slits you made as possible.
This can be eaten right after it’s made. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge. Another boost to my Korean cooking confidence. Currently giving myself a pat on the back.