Recipe for Oi Sobagi (오이 소박이) - Spicy Cucumber Kimchi

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  • About 1½kg (3-4lbs) of Cucumber Kimchi
  • Preparation:
  • Waiting:


  • 1-1½kg (about 2½-3lbs) Kirby Cucumbers, or Korean Cucumbers
  • 30g (3T) Kosher Salt
  • 150g (about 1½ cups) Garlic Chives
  • 125g (2) medium Carrots
  • 150g (2) small Onions
  • 12g (1½T) Garlic, minced
  • 25g (3T) Red Pepper Flakes
  • 36g (2T) Fish Sauce
  • 12g (1T) Granulated Sugar


  • Wash the cucumbers. If using Kirbys, slice off the stem and flower ends of each cucumber; if you are using Korean cucumbers, cut them to about 9-10cm (3½-4in) in length. Make crosshatch cuts straight down the length of each, stopping about 1cm away from cutting straight through.
  • Place all of the cucumbers into a large bowl and generously salt all surfaces, exterior and interior.
  • Set the bowl aside for 45 minutes, flipping the contents every 10-15 minutes.
  • While the cucumbers are brining, wash the garlic chives and remove any wilted strands. Cut away any woody pieces, and chop the chives to ½-1cm. Peel and matchstick the carrots, and thinly slice the onions. Place all three into a medium bowl.
  • Add the garlic, pepper flakes, fish sauce, and sugar to the sliced vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • After 45 minutes, rinse the cucumbers and drain well. Carefully open the end of each and begin stuffing the cucumbers with the seasoning.
  • Stack the stuffed cucumbers into a container, cover, and leave on the counter for 4-6 hours. Refrigerate and consume within 7-10 days.

*Bunny Wisdom*

  • I like to slice the ends off to allow the seasoning to reach every part of each cucumber. If you would like to keep the ends to maintain the cucumber shape, you may do so.
  • If you have a mandoline, use it to shred the carrots; otherwise, slice into short matchsticks.
  • Taste-test the stuffing: is it salty or sweet? Adjust the levels with fish sauce or sugar. Another thing to think about: if your carrots and onions are naturally sweet, consider putting less sugar into the seasoning, and adding more as you go. We want to have a good level of salinity, but have the mixture be balanced off with sweetness and spiciness.
  • After rinsing the cucumbers, I give them a gentle squeeze to get the excess water out of the crevices.
  • Don't over-stuff the cucumbers; they only have so much capacity until they break at the connection point. Any extra seasoning can be placed above and below the cucumbers, and taken out when serving.
  • I leave my cucumber kimchi on the counter to let it ferment a little bit, but you can make this dish and serve immediately if you enjoy eating fresh cucumbers. On a warm day, I tend to place the container in the refrigerator earlier to prevent over-fermentation. This is really a dish that is best eaten promptly, for fear that you may be eating squishy cucumbers. That's never a good thing. Small batches are key!
  • When ready to serve, you can leave them whole and place them onto a serving dish. However, I like to cut the cucumbers into their four sections to make it easier for everyone to eat!

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