14 November 2015

Oi-Sobagi- Korean Fermented Cucumber Kimchee

My last post was about eating fermented foods for health and to help reverse the affects of the Standard American Diet, (also known as S.A.D), so I thought I would share my tutorial  on making one of my favorite fermented foods, Oi-Sobagi.

I ran across a video on youtube.com last year, made by Maangchi, who specializes in Korean foods. Her video is very thorough and made it easy for me to give fermented cucumber kimchee a try, but her recipe isn't vegan, and she recommends eating it fresh, with just a side thought about fermenting it. So I have developed my vegan naturally fermented version of Oi Sobagi that I eat practically every day.

The initial process is a little time consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort!

7x11 inch Pyrex baking dish with tight fitting plastic lid or equivilent sized plastic food storage container with tight fitting lid.

2 lbs. cucumbers, (persian cukes or pickling cukes, but not the 8" smooth waxy skinned type, they will turn to sludge) 
Enough salt to rub on cukes, 1/4 cup or maybe more
1 cup buchu, (garlic chives I get from the oriental market), or bunch of green onions
4 cloves garlic, peeled 
1 large white onion, peeled, cut in half through the equator,1/2 slivered other put in reserve to be blended.
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup Korean hot pepper flakes, *note..regular red pepper flakes will not work with this!
1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup or agave
1 tbsp. tapioca flour, (unbleached white flour will do in a pinch, but is more starchy that tapioca flour which can be found at any Asian market Bob's Red Mill also carries it)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp hot sesame oil, (found on the International food aisle in most grocery stores)
1 heaping tbsp. dried wakame and 1 heaping tsp. dried Hijiki, soaked for 15 minutes then drained, (found in Asian market or at links below)
1/2 daikon Radish, matchsticked
1 capsule probiotic (optional, this recipe will ferment on its own, but it ferments slower and in warm weather there is more risk of it molding so I add probiotic for a quick ferment).
2" piece of ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp. salt

Split cucumbers lengthwise, stopping 1/2" from the stem end of the cucumber.  Do half-turn and split again. the cuke should fall open slightly when stood on its end.

 Sprinkle salt over each of the spears, making sure to get it into the center. Note this technique makes for a very attractive presentation, but if you just want to slice them in forths lengthwise it will be less time consuming, you just have to handle the cukes more carefully when turning and rinsing.

 Set aside.  Turn the cukes in the bowl moving the ones on the bottom to the top, every half hour for 2 hours.

  Meanwhile, with a mandoline, Spirooli or a sharp knife cut carrot and daikon into matchsticks.

 I use the Spirooli for the daikon,it makes quick work of the daikon and then you can cut the spirals into smaller 1-2 inch long pieces. 

 Cut the Buchu into 1 1/2-2 inch lengths, if using green onions split lengthwise and then cut into 1 1/2-2 inch long pieces.

Heat water, dissolve tapioca power until thin paste is made.  Place tapioca water, chili oil, half of wakami, (make sure wakame and Hijiki are soaked and drained before using!!), half of chili pepper flakes, ginger, 1/2 of white onion, and the garlic in the blender.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt, the agave or maple syrup, then add the capsule of probiotic and blend until a smooth paste. 


Wearing gloves to protect your hands from the chili oils, work chili paste, reserved chili flakes and the remaining wakame and the hijiki into the other vegetables,(carrots, daikon, onions slivers, green onions or buchu),then Mix thoroughly to cover all the vegetables with the chili paste mixture, set aside. 

After 2 hours, rinse cucumbers thoroughly using 3 rinses; drain and pat dry gently. 

When cucumbers are rinsed and drained, stuff each with the paste/vegetable mix; press firmly to close cucumber around stuffing somewhat, or if you chose to just cut the cukes in lengthwise quarters, make a layer of the cukes in dish and cover with  the vegetable/chili mixture.

 Place snugly together in container that seals tightly. Cover the surface of the cucumbers with plastic wrap to seal out air and press lightly to remove any air bubbles trapped between the cucumbers. put lid on container, making sure it is completely closed. Leave sitting out on counter to ferment for 2-4 days ( depending on how sour you like it. I let mine go 3-4 days, tasting every day starting at day 2 to see when it is the right degree of sour...it depends a lot on the temperature and each environment is different), removing lid twice a day to press gently on plastic wrap lining to remove air bubbles. Do not remove plastic wrap.When pressed, liquid should start to rise around the edges of the container. At the end of two days the Oi-Sobagi should smell appealingly sour, they are ready to eat at this point, but you may leave it up to 4 days to achieve your desired degree of tart.. Place container in fridge. 

Oi-Sobagi is delicious served with a small bowl of jasmine rice, or chopped and added to a dinner salad of mixed greens and other vegetables. I find that with the Oi-Sobagi on the salad no dressing is required, so it makes for a very lo-cal salad. It lasts for weeks on end in the fridge after being fermented... unless you are at my house... then it's days are numbered, since I just can't get enough of it!

Please don't be intimidated by the ingredient list, the ingredients are easily obtained from an Asian market or online, (I have made a list of links for then ingredients below). 


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