2 lbs cucumbers
2 tbsp sea salt 2 green onions 6 cloves garlic 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp raw sugar (optional) 1 tbsp dried or salted shrimp (optional)
Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard the ends. Cut the cucumbers into approximately 2- inch sections. Stand each piece upright on a work surface and cut an X shape halfway (1 inch) down into each piece, leaving the bottom inch intact. Stand the cukes up in a shallow dish and sprinkle the salt on their bottoms and tops and down into the X cut. Let them sit upright for 1 hour to leach out some of their juice. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Slice the green onion into thin disks. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, chile flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and dried shrimp. Puree into a paste. Once smooth, fold the onions into the paste.
Drain any liquid that has pooled in the bottom of the cucumber dish, and lightly pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Stuff about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into each cucumber, working to get as much into the center as possible, and mounding a dollop on top. These “pickles” could be eaten immediately, or they can be fermented for an additional 2-3 days at room temperature. Then refrigerate and enjoy within a week.
Photo by Haejung Kim