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Cucumber Kimchi

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This quick cucumber kimchi recipe is so full of flavor! These are a take on Korean cucumbers (called Oi Kimchi) that are spicy, quick-pickled, and a little vinegary.

These are stuffed cucumber kimchi (Oi sobagi). You'll cut through the cucumber to create four strips, but leave the end of the cucumber whole so it stays together after you stuff it.

The cucumber can be served whole or cut into smaller pieces and served as a cucumber kimchi salad.

Cucumber kimchi in a white bowl.

Why You'll Love This Korean Cucumber Kimchi

This traditional Korean side dish is often served in summer. While the dish is spicy, it's still cooling and refreshing because the cucumbers are quite juicy. You'll love the crunchy texture and bold flavors.

The cucumbers can be served cold or at room temperature. I like to serve them as a simple side dish or topping on a bowl of rice with some fish or chicken.

Ingredients for kimchi cucumbers on a marble background.

Ingredients You'll Need

Cucumbers - You can use 12 Persian cucumbers or Kirby cucumbers (about 1.5 pounds), or 3 English cucumbers. I wouldn't recommend using regular hothouse cucumbers, because their skin is too bitter.

Other Vegetables - You'll stuff the cucumber with 1 large carrot, 1/2 a medium yellow onion, 1 cup of chopped chives (you can substitute for green onions if you can't find chives), and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Gochugaru - You'll need 1/2 cup of Gochugaru (also called Korean chili flakes or Korean red pepper flakes).

Sauce - You'll use 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of cold water.

Optional Toppings - If you'd like, you can top the kimchi cucumbers with sesame oil or sesame seeds as well.

Salted cucumbers in a plastic container.
Kimchi stuffing ingredients, including shredded carrots, chives, onions, and Gochugaru.
Kimchi cucumbers in a plastic container before going into the refrigerator.

More Kimchi Recipes to Try

If you love Korean cuisine or traditional kimchi, try some of our other favorite ways to make kimchi or use it.

A fork with a bowl of kimchi cucumber.

Tips for Making this Recipe

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Specialty Ingredients - You can find Gochugaru online or at an Asian grocery store. If you'd like to use a Korean fish sauce, this one is good.

Storing Tips - You can serve this recipe immediately after stuffing the cucumbers or after letting it ferment slightly (2 hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the refrigerator). This recipe will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

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Yield: 12 small cucumbers (6 to 12 servings)

Cucumber Kimchi

Cucumber kimchi in a white bowl.

This easy cucumber kimchi recipe is a great side dish or snack.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 Persian cucumbers (or 3 English cucumbers)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup chives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (more if the sauce is too dry)

Instructions

  1. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise, leaving a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch at the base of the cucumber whole. Flip the cucumber and cut again - creating 4 equal strips of the cucumber with the end of the cucumber still whole. 
  2. Sprinkle the kosher salt across and inside the cucumbers. Place them in a colander and let them drain while making the stuffing. 
  3. Combine the shredded carrots, sliced onion, minced garlic, Gochugaru flakes, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and cold water in a medium bowl. Toss till fully combined. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of water if the stuffing is too dry. 
  4. Drain the cucumbers and wipe off any excess salt. Stuff the cucumbers with a handful of the stuffing and place in a large glass or plastic container. 
  5. Top the cucumbers with any excess stuffing and cover the container. Eat immediately or let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerator for 24 hours to let the flavors come together. 
  6. Serve the cucumbers whole or cut them up as a side dish or topping.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 872mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

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