Small handful (a heaping palm-full) of sugar
Large pinch of salt.
PUT everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. While still hot, pour it in the jars to cover the cucumbers. If you didn't make quite enough, you can heat up some more brine, or you can be lazy and just top off the jars with some vinegar and water. It won't make much difference either way.
STORE them in the fridge. You can eat them as soon as they're cool, but they'll be better after a few days and will keep for weeks.
They go great with sandwiches, especially ham and cheese.Soy-pickled cucumbers
These are my best attempt to imitate the cucumber salads that are served at Szechwan restaurants to give your mouth a cool respite from course after course of hot, chili-cloaked dishes.
Cucumbers, sugar, salt, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, cilantro
CUT about a pound of cucumbers in half lengthwise. Then cut them, on a diagonal, into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Put them in a bowl and toss them with a big pinch of sugar and a small pinch of salt. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
PEEL and finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic, about an inch-long knob of ginger and a few scallions while cucumbers are sitting.
DRAIN cucumbers. (The salt and sugar will cause them to leach some water.)
TOSS the drained cucumbers with the ginger, garlic, scallions, another pinch of sugar and a 50-50 mix of soy sauce and rice vinegar. The cucumbers don't need to be fully submerged, but you want them generously coated with soy and vinegar. Let them sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, stirring occasionally if you remember.
SERVE cold, garnished with cilantro and a drizzle of sesame oil, preferably with Chinese food.
Kimchi is kind of like funky Korean sauerkraut. It's most often made with napa cabbage, but is frequently made with cucumbers, radishes and other vegetables.
Like sauerkraut, kimchi is fermented. But while sauerkraut is fermented only with salt, with kimchi the fermentation process is usually kick-started with some sort of preserved seafood.
This recipe uses Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam in Vietnam, nam pla in Thailand), which, despite its funky smell, is fairly tame compared to other kinds of salted, preserved seafood.
Cucumber kimchi is easier to make, less fermented and less of an acquired taste than cabbage kimchi.
Cucumbers, sugar, salt, ginger, garlic, scallions, Korean chili powder, soy sauce, fish sauce.
Cut about a pound of cucumbers into thin rounds.
Toss the cucumbers with a big pinch of sugar and a small pinch of salt. (You might be sensing a theme). Let them sit for about half an hour, then drain off any accumulated liquid.
PEEL and finely chop a few cloves of garlic and an inch-long knob of ginger.
MIX that with about a tablespoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and 2 tablespoons of Korean chili powder. (Korean chili powder is milder than American and Mexican versions, so don't be bashful. It's sold at International Groceries in Kanawha City. If you can't find it, substitute hot or smoked paprika with a pinch of cayenne.)
TOSS this "dressing" mixture with the cucumbers and a few chopped scallions.
You could eat this right now and call it a cucumber salad, but it's better if you wait a day or two to let it ripen a little bit in the fridge. It goes great with grilled meats and will last for a couple of weeks.