Cucumber Kimchi, easy peasy summer kimchee


Cucumber Kimchi

Don’t you just love SUMMER?
The heat, the humidity, the sweat, nicely preheated car in the parking lot, fully crowded beach, kids nagging out of boredom, loads of Popsicle boxes taking over your freezer, etc…

Okay, these are not my favorite things of summer but there is nothing like sipping lemonade on your porch and watching the whole world goes by in front of your eyes.

I am proud to present the “Cucumber Kimchee”, the kimchi of summer in Korea.

This cool and crunch kimchi is sure to please your lost appetite in this hot season.
They are so easy to make.
However, you have to know a trick to maintain the crunchiness of cucumber even after the fermentation. Not a huge trick but not everyone knows that. I’ve made this cucumber kimchi about a month ago and they are still crunch and cool to bite on. The flavor is so awesome that my l0 year old go nuts over it, regardless of its spiciness for her age. She drinks milk after each bite.

Cucumbers are in season and they are cheap. Grab a few and make some kimchi with them. You will be happy that you tried.

 NOTE : 
For the choice of cucumber, I highly recommend Kirby cucumbers. They are short and has rough skin but they are tender to eat as raw without peeling off the skin. Kirby cucumbers are widely used in making pickles all around the world. If you can’t find this refreshing cool Kirby cuke, substitute with English cucumbers. They are longer and usually sold as wrapped in plastic film.

Let’s learn how to make these awesome cuke kimchi called “오이 소박이, Ooi Sobaggi”.


Welcome to Ooi Ooi kimchi camp. These are your camp buddies.
Kirby cucumbers, onion, garlic, radish, chives, salted shrimp, ginger, sugar,  sea salt, anchovy sauce, Korean chili flakes, and a little bit of cooked rice.

Cut off the ends of cucumbers and cut each cucumber in half in the middle.
Give a cross slit to each log from the top toward the bottom but leave about 1/2″ from the base uncut.
This will hold the stuffing together later and lock the flavor and texture in.

Now, time to share important trick to make very crunch kimchi.

Mix water with some salt and bring to full boil.

Pour the boiling water over the cucumber logs in a shallow bowl and let them sit for 45 minutes.
Pouring salted boiling water rather than sprinkling salt directly over cucumbers will make great difference in crunch texture of this cucumber kimchi when fermented.

Meanwhile slice the radish into thin matchsticks. The thinner the better, but do not grate.

In a blender, process a tiny bit of cooked rice, water, garlic, and salted shrimp altogether.
You can add a tiny piece of fresh ginger if you are using fresh one.

Blend them well until you don’t see their existence.

In a mixing bowl combine radish slices, chopped onion, chopped chives, chili flakes, pureed ginger, anchovy sauce, and sugar.

Give them a nice massage until they turn into a red beauty.

Pour the rice shrimp puree over the filling and mix very well. Set aside.
Now, give yourself a few minutes to check your email, facebook, tweeter, or simply walk out to the old fashioned mailbox to be connected with outside world.

Get off from your social networking station and get back to work.
Your cucumbers should be nicely seasoned with salt by then. Rinse them briefly

and dry them with paper towel to remove extra moist outside.
Time for a fun part…

Open up their mouth on top. Be gentle, please.

Stuff each cucumber with about 1 Tbsp of filling into the crossed cracks toward the base.
Be careful not to break them.

Rub the outside with some chili filling as well. That’s it. You got it!

Stack them upright together in an airtight container.
Let them sit on the counter for 1 day first and then put them in the fridge for a longer storage. After about 3 days you should be able to taste the perfectly fermented stage of this kimchee. They can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.
You will see cucumbers releasing their juices continuously as time goes. It is natural thing (cucumbers are mostly water). That’s why you need to keep them upright so the juice will run to the bottom without diluting the filling inside.

To serve, just slice the uncut bottom ends and spread the filling evenly over each pieces. I like to sprinkle a tiny bit of sesame seeds on top for a presentation.

My, oh, my!
You will love the taste and the texture.
Cool, crunch, and just the right amount of pungent flavor with kick at the end…
You know what?
This kimchi will make a great partner to Korean BBQ
Hmmmm, now I am craving the smoky Koran BBQ on charcoal grill.

Dang! I am salivating now.

Cucumber Kimchee
Cucumber Kimchee (ooi sobaggi)

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Cucumber Kimchee (ooi sobaggi)


  • 7-8 Kirby cucumbers or 3-4 English cucumbers
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 small bunch of Asian chive, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Korean radish sliced into thin matchsticks
  • For the filling:
  • 1 Tbsp salted shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece of ginger, size of a garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup Korean chili flakes
  • 4 Tbsp Korean anchovy sauce


  1. Cut the ends of each cucumber and cut in half in the middle. Each log should be about 2 - 2 1/2" long.
  2. Give a cross cut from the cut edged top of each log toward the bottom, but leave 1/2" uncut at the bottom so that it can hold the filling later on. Place all the cucumber pieces in a large bowl.
  3. In a pot, mix water with salt and bring to full boil. Pour the salted boiling water onto cucumbers in a bowl, and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make a filling. Combine salted shrimp, rice, water, garlic, ginger in a blender and puree until smooth. In a mixing bowl mix thin radish sticks, onions and chives. Add sugar, chili flakes, anchovy sauce and combine well. Pour the shrimp rice puree to the filling and mix very well with your hand. Set aside so that the radish will extract their moisture and get wilted.
  5. Drain the water out of cucumbers and rinse them with water briefly. Dry them with paper towels.
  6. Open up the cross cut top of cucumber gently with your hand, stuff with 1 - 2 Tbsp of filling, pushing toward the bottom ends without breaking the cucumbers.
  7. To store, stack them upright in an airtight container. Let them sit in a room temperature for 1 day and keep them in the fridge afterward. They will last up to a month or longer.
  8. To serve, after about 3 days of refrigeration, your kimchee is ready to serve. Slice the uncut bottom ends and spread filling to each pieces. Bite on! you will love the crunchiness. Enjoy!

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  1. 3


    this is my very favorite type of kimchi! i remember asking my mom to make it all the time when i was a kid (i also loved sitting at our low table on the floor for korean dinners!). this is also the first kimchi i learned to make. next time i make it i will definitely employ the hot salt water method! thanks for sharing! 

  2. 4


    ahhh, i have been meaning to make oisobagi for a long time…this looks so good!  thanks for the great tips!  i will have to try some when i visit Korea this summer in August!

  3. 5

    Christy Z. says

    i just started following your blog a few weeks ago and looove it! i definitely want to try this recipe; it looks soooo good! cucumber kimchee is my favorite type of kimchee :)

  4. 6

    beyondkimchee says

    Thanks.  I miss the cool air. Spring went so fast.

  5. 7

    beyondkimchee says

    cindy ensley 
    Oh, yes, those low table… my childhood meal table.
    I never met anyone who doesn't like cucumber kimchee yet. They are good, aren't they?

  6. 8

    beyondkimchee says

    Erica Sommermann 
    Where in Korea are you staying? Have a fun. Enjoy lots of good old Korean food.
    I miss cold noodles.

  7. 9

    Mike says

    Wow, I must try this sometime this summer.  By the way, I tried your spring cabbage kimchi, and oh boy was it delicious.  My korean friends and I ate a whole jar in one sitting!

  8. 10

    Aesoon says

    Hi H. Thanks for this recipe. I've made cucumber kimchee in the past and it always turned out mushy. Now I know the secret…can't wait to make this. FYI, Hong Kong has gotten unbearable hot.

  9. 11

    beyondkimchee says

    I am so glad to hear that you like the kimchee recipe. Don't eat too much in one sitting though. You can suffer later… :)

  10. 12

    beyondkimchee says

    Good to hear from you again. It is hot here, too, over 100 degree.
    I miss HK and all my friends there. Please, let me know how the kimchee turn out when you make them.

  11. 13

    beyondkimchee says

    Hi Christy
    Thanks for following my blog. I am glad that you like it. Hope you can try this recipe soon. It is really good.

  12. 14

    Hyosunr says

    Looks delicious! My mouth is watering. It's so cute your 10 year old loves this spicy kimchi even if she has to drink milk after each bite. Great post!

  13. 16

    Rowena says

    You are a master at recipes that seem so effortless and quick.  I will have to try this recipe as soon as I can get a bunch of cucumbers from the market!

  14. 17

    beyondkimchee says

    Ha ha ha, Thank you. Hope you can try this recipe soon. It is not that difficult but needs a little patience to stuff the cucumbers. Have a fun!

  15. 18

    Meagann says

    Could I use Mochiko Rice flour mixed with water instead of cooked rice? If I must use cooked rice, can it be cold and leftover or do I need to cook it fresh?

  16. 19

    beyondkimchee says

    Hi Meagann
    Of course you can use rice flour but you need to cook with water to make glue like consistence. That's why I introduced using cooked rice instead. A lot easier and quicker. You can absolutely use leftover rice, perhaps heated in the microwave for a few seconds to bring to a room temperature. Cold rice doesn't blend well.
    Hope this helps.

  17. 21

    SoO says

    I will be making this today with cucumbers from my garden that I didn't know what to do with.  Also, I LOVE your blog.  I'm Korean, but never learned how to cook a lot of korean food.  Your blog helps me so much.  I've already made kimbab and japchae from your blog for parties and get togethers with great success.   Thank you so much! 

  18. 22

    Caitididwaat says

    I initially made this roughly a month ago. This being the third cucumber kimchee recipe i tried. After a few days of fermentation I wasn't too thrilled about it. I FORGOT about it in the fridge, until a few hours ago, and o my goodness it is the Best I have ever had. I have since made my household taste it and they are all in love. Considering my results with first the baby radish kimchee and now the cucumber kimchee I am super looking forward to attempting your baechu kimchee. Your recipes are seriously gold. Thank you so very much!

  19. 23

    beyondkimchee says

    So happy to hear that. Thanks for your compliment.
    I hope you can try the cabbage kimchee when the weather gets cool. Have a great summer!

  20. 24

    Mirlandra Ebert says

    Thank you so much!  I just got married last month to a man who is half Korean and though I'm a great cook I'm not familiar with any of the things he loves.  His mother gave me instructions for cucumber kimchee that were not very detailed and your blog is very similar to her recipe but with real instructions!  I just put up a batch tonight and my husband is so excited!  Thank you so much!!!!!!

  21. 25


    Hi Holly!
    I love your blog. Thanks for the patience and details you put in your recipes.
    I want to make this kimchi, although where I live it is difficult to find proper ingredients.
    I don’t think I can get salted shrimps. If I’m lucky I can get some SE asian shrimp paste for the shelf…do you think it is a acceptable substitute? In this case, do you have a suggestion?
    I need to use daikon instead of korean radish and thai fish sauce for korean. Asian chives are also a rarity. Can I do with regular chives or just scallions?
    I found some korean ground pepper, it is very mild, maybe my Aleppo pepper is spicier.
    Sometimes I miss living in the US so it’s easier to find Asian ingredients than Europe (at least where I’m living right now).

    Thanks so much.

    • 26

      Holly says

      Hi Francesca

      I know it is hard to find the right Korean groceries in Europe. But You can make a decent dish with the substitutions. You can take off the salted shrimp from the recipe, instead increased the amount of fish sauce. However Thai fish sauce is much saltier than Korean fish sauce so you need to juggle the amount to balance. You can add the tiny bit of SE Asian shrimp paste, like belachan, to this kimchi but I don’t think it is necessary. Also you can substitute Asian chives with scallions and Korean radish with daikon, but daikon won’t stay crunch that long. Good luck and let me know if you have further questions.

      • 27


        Hi Holly,

        I’m back to report my result. I think I could have made a better job. My impression is that it’s not salty enough, infact the one we had yesterday night was a little mushy in a spot. I didn’t use the shrimp paste and I didn’t add more fish sauce either because I wanted to compensate the fact that thai sauce it’s saltier. The overall flavor is not very salty so I’m thinking I could have used more salt. I’ll keep in mind for next time.
        Can I ask you the total weght for the cucumbers? It would be easier. I half the recipe (in my mind, I though I did ah, ah), using 750 g on net cucumbers. I don’t know what kind of cucumbers I had, no English, no kirby, but they were from the farmers market so hopefully organic.

        Other thing, do korean fish sauces report the amount of salt in on the bottle as percentage? Because I noticed a big difference also in Thai sauces. I used one with 27% salt (pretty high) but I just bought another brand “the squid” with 20% salt.

        Sorry to take advantage of your kindness, one last thing. Can you suggest me an american web site where I can buy a good brand of spicy korean chilli flakes?
        I managed to find some at an Asian store around here (I’m in the South of France), they were selling it for kimchi, but it was less spicy than my aleppo pepper (which is very similar to the Korean pepper). I used the Aleppo pepper and my husband didn’t find it spicy enough. He is going to the States next week so I can ask him to bring back a bag.

        Thanks for your help. I definitely going to make it again.

        • 28

          Holly says

          Hi Francesca

          I am travelling this month so It is not easy for me to give you the exact amount of cucumber.

          It is hard to tell you exactly what to do to fix the problem since you are using different types of cucumbers, chili flakes, and fish sauce. And they are the main ingredients in the recipe.

          One advice I can give you on your not-so-salty enough cucumber kimchi is that, you can always pour more fish sauce over. I ALWAYS taste my filling before I assemble my kimchi so that I can adjust the sodium level. Cucumber Kimchi in general will never be salty like cabbage kimchi.
          Since you took out shrimp sauce, you have to add more fish sauce to make up the difference, which might result your filling to be more liquidy and might have to add more chili flakes to even out.

          I don’t know what type of cucumber you used but some cucumbers will have more water content than others and that can effect deluting the sodium level of your filling as well. Not all the cucumbers are suitable to make pickles and cucumber kimchi is not an exception.

          Look or feel for the right filling consistency and taste always. It is like knowing the right consistecny of your pancake batter from the mix.
          It should be paste-like without being too thick and not to loose either. If I can compare, it should be like banana bread batter consistency. Make any sense?

          Most Thai fish sauce I use (can’t remember the name) are more saltier than Korean fish sauce but I bet some of them is not as salty than others. Korean fish sauce should mention their soidum amount in the bottle. If I remember correctly it is usually around 20%. If I am home I can double check but since I am travelling, I can’t.

          For the online Korean grocery source, go to this site:
          I don’t know if they do international shipping. If your husband is travelling to U.S, ask him to look for Korean chili flakes (coarse flakes) that is Korean origin. The lable on the back of the package usually mentioned that. Or look for 100% sign on the pacake (if he can’t read Korean). That usually means they used 100% something Korean. They are a lot more expensive than Chinese or Mexican chili origin, but for me it is worthy. Since he is getting the chili flakes, I think it is good idea to get Korean fish sauce, and other Korean condiments if he is willing.

          I hope you get the kirby cucumbers and Korean chili flakes and sauces, so you can give this another try. It is very good kimchi to master.
          Good luck and let me know if you need further assistence.

          • 29


            Thanks Holly,

            I really appreciate your help. I’ll wait untill my husband is back with the right pepper and fish sauce to give it another try.
            I also wanted to try your bai tsai (bok choy) kimchee but I’m giving up…I’ll better enjoy more foie gras untill I’ll be living here :-)

            I can always come and read your blog and dream of the things I cannot cook at the moment. If we move back to the States next year it would be easier.

            Have a wonderful summer and happy travelling.


  22. 34

    Soo says

    I just made a batch of these the other day with English cucumbers and it turned out so good!! I couldn’t stop eating them so i just made another batch with Kirby cucumbers. I didn’t have the radish and korean chives so I just used regular chives and shredded carrots. Probably not as good as the original recipe but still excellent! Oh and I just realized I posted here two years ago as well. I consistently come back to your blog for recipes again and again. Thank you again for sharing all your wonderful recipes. Your cooking really reminds me of my moms which I cannot get anymore so I am able to recreate a lot of the tastes i grew up with through your blog.

  23. 35


    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your site on
    my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you provide here
    and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog
    loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI,
    just 3G .. Anyways, wonderful site!

  24. 37


    Hi I love cucumber kimchi and would like to give this recipe a try.

    One question, is it really necessary to use cooked rice as part of the filling? Can I omit it and still get the good taste? Thanks

    • 38


      Yes, you can omit the rice part. However, usually starch is used to feed the bacteria, so it helps the fermentation to more ideal level. It also helps the filling to bond better to the cucumbers, too. But you can still omit it.


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