Easy Cucumber Kimchi (Oi Kimchi)

cuckimchipIt’s kimchi time again! After white radish (daikon) kimchi and the simplified version of Chinese/Napa cabbage kimchi, I would like to present you the most extraordinary experiment in this field, namely cucumber kimchi. Even though not in its best season now, cucumber is available all year round and brings a pleasant freshness to my meals when I’m fed up with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and other sad Winter vegetables. Combined with hot seasoning and fermented, it gains in precious nutrients, flavour complexity, colours and becomes even more welcome on cold, dark days.

First of all I must thank Charles from Five Euro Food because without his enthusiastic comments I even wouldn’t know cucumber kimchi existed and certainly wouldn’t prepare it so quickly. Charles has never made it himself, but my recipe quest wasn’t long. I found what I was looking for at Eating and Living blog, my main source of Korean recipes. I was even lucky to stumble upon a simplified cucumber kimchi recipe (Oi Kimchi), which was perfect to start with. Traditionally, in Oi Sobagi Kimchi, cucumbers are cut into big chunks, then, with half-length slits, “pockets” are formed and stuffed with kimchi seasoning. Here cucumber is simply cut up into bite-sized pieces and combined with the seasoning. (For those who want to know more about kimchi, I have written about it here and here.)

I have no idea what the traditional stuffed cucumber kimchi tastes like, but this version proved so excellent I can say without any doubts this is by far my favourite kimchi. I adore it for its freshness, crunchiness, lightness and for the fact that it is perfect at every stage of fermentation. First the cucumber’s freshness is dominating, then it reminds me of the delicate Japanese pickles and then, when it matures, the taste is is very close to the Central and Eastern European cucumbers fermented in brine. I cannot even imagine how terrific this kimchi will be when made with seasonal Summer cucumbers. Thank you, Hyosun, for one more wonderful recipe and thank you, Charles, for this discovery!

Even though I haven’t changed the original recipe, you may want to click here to see very helpful step-by-step photos.

Preparation: 45 minutes + min. 20-30 minutes fermentation

Ingredients:

1 long dark green cucumber 
1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon garlic (grated or crushed)

1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes

1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 green onion stalks, cut into 2 cm pieces

Cut the cucumber into 3 cm chunks and then cut them into 8 strips lengthwise.

Sprinkle the cucumber pieces with salt and leave them for 30 minutes.

Drain the cucumber, but do not rinse it.

Add all the seasoning ingredients and place the cucumbers in an airtight container.

Wait for 20-30 minutes and serve or leave for two days to ferment in room temperature and then put into the fridge for several days.

Exceptionally this kimchi is as good freshly made as well as after a couple of days.

I even liked it after one week.

 

40 thoughts on “Easy Cucumber Kimchi (Oi Kimchi)

  1. ping

    This is very interesting! It’s like a combination of our cucumber sambal salad (cucumber, dried shrimp and sambal belacan) and a Szechuan fiery hot cucumber salad (prepared for us by a friends daughter inlaw from China, blew my head off) and the Korean kimchi. Amazing blend of cultures! Fresh and fiery! Very appetizing!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Ping. I have never had any of the salads you mention, but they sound very intriguing. Especially the second one :-)

  2. shuhan

    ooh another kimchi recipe! im very tempted to do this one too, but maybe when cucumbers are around. for now, the radish one i’m definitely doing soon. much simpler than the usual cabbage one, and i do want a change.i like the pockets idea, i saw it before and it looks really impressive, but for now, shall probably stick to the simpler ones (:

    1. Sissi Post author

      Here (I mean in France, because I buy them in French organic shops and markets) long cucumbers are available all year round and 90% of the year even those on the outdoor markets are from greenhouses. In my opinion the long dark ones have practically the same taste all year round. This is why I use cucumbers in every season. I will try the pockets method one day to see the difference, but first I must try the whole head cabbage kimchi.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Haha! You will see it if I’m not too embarrassed by the visual results 😉 I’m not good at dishes requiring dexterity and patience.

  3. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    I realy have to make kimchi now. I have been stumbling upon this dish continuesly, must be a sign from above. looks very delicious, I can imagine liking that little spice in it. Plus I always need some veg side dishes for lunch since I am cooking indian in the day and western in the night (to satisfy my husbands and my needs). indian cuisine consists always of many small dishes, I know it has nothing to do with this korean kimchi but the ingrdients look very fitting to add it into my lunch planning.
    Thanks for sharing sissi! =)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Helene. I am not surprised you want to combine kimchi with Indian food! It’s spicy, contains chili, garlic and ginger (which are present in so many Indian dishes) so why not? Personally I eat kimchi even with standard sandwiches and they are a great side-dish even with Italian food :-)
      The nice thing with kimchi is that you make it, put into the fridge and then you have an instant small, healthy side-dish for at least two weeks (or mroe if you make cabbage kimchi). Good luck!

  4. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Sissi, this looks absolutely refreshing and I bet it taste delicious! Because of all your kimchi postings lately, when I went to the Asian store last night, I HAD to pick up a container. Kimchi fried rice will appear on the dinner table real soon!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Jeno. I am happy you have bought something so healthy because of my kimchi obsession 😉 Good luck with kimchi rice!

  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Oh, what a delight, and I just happen to have ALL the ingredients on hand – including fish sauce which I adore – so I’m making this puppy today! I love that it has such a long life too. You know, I’m always using out of season ingredients 😉 I mostly just go with what I’m in the mood for. (In Canada, if we only ate what was actually in season, we would all be mighty hungry! :)). What a great recipe – cheers Sissi.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Kelly, are you serious? You want to make it? I’m really excited! If you like spicy food and pickled cucumbers, you will love it from the first bite!
      You are totally right! Eating seasonal food should be a pleasure and not a restriction. I usually don’t eat tomatoes in the Winter but just because they are tasteless here (on the other hand my beloved guacamole requires tomatoes, so I do buy even the tasteless ones because it’s better than nothing), but cucumber has almost the same taste all year round. Only the short ones are different, but they are available only for a couple of weeks at the end of the Summer. Most of them come from greenhouses anyway.
      I am usually happy with Winter vegetables in December, but I’m fed up with their monotony in February and really enjoy Summer vegetables imported from warmer parts of Europe (or elsewhere). I’m looking forward to see if you like cucumber kimchi!

  6. Mr. Three-Cookies

    This sounds really awesome, and a friendly reminder for me to try making kimchi. I will most likely make this rather soon. I love pickled cucumber, all styles, with and without vodka:) This is along similar lines, very refreshing. I have one childhood memory – once I was feeling really sick and I had cucumber pickle (cucumber, lemon, chili, salt) and I immediately felt better. Good memory, but doesn’t work all the time:(

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Your childhood memories cucumber sounds delicious. N wonder you felt better! Seriously, fermented cucumbers (like cabbage) develop vitamin C and other nutrients, so it’s normal we feel a bit better. I hope you try making kimchi soon. This one is a real delight!

  7. Charles

    AAAAH, I must say, your cucumber kimchi looks delicious Sissi – just like the stuff I’ve had before in restaurants. I had no idea the cucumber was stuffed with kimchi seasoning… it sounds like a lot of hard work so I’m very glad you have posted an easier, faster recipe. I really have to try and push myself to make this now, since you made it look so simple (and delicious!)

    I think cucumbers really are under-appreciated. Very often people just slice them up and do boring things with them – salads, sandwiches etc, but I’ve even had them stir-fried before with red chilli – they’re really quite versatile!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Charles. And thank you again for having encouraged me to make it (you sounded extremely convincing 😉 ).
      The stuffed cucumber kimchi looks beautiful, but I’m lazy, so I have chosen the easier one first. This one is even easier than easy cabbage kimchi because there is no need to make the sweet rice flour paste!
      Charles, I am one of the rare people who appreciate this underrated vegetable. Cucumbers are practically all year round in my fridge. I put them in salads, on sandwiches and I love their freshness. I also think they don’t have a very different taste for example in Winter (not like tomatoes!). Some people say there is no point in eating cucumber since it has no taste. I think it has a very delicate taste and I love its aroma. You know, what? I have even tried the famous (at least from Oscar Wilde’s books) cucumber sandwiches and they are excellent if freshly made!
      Not to mention how they get transformed in kimchi, vinegar pickles or brine fermentation! (By the way I have opened one more jar of my Moomin Salad and it’s fantastic!).

  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I like all kinds of pickles and cucumber is one of my favorites (then maybe daikon). Pickles are so important between dishes in Koren or Japanese dishes and it’s the best when you make it at home so there is no preservatives etc. I have so many recipes that I need to make, and you just make me adding more. 😉 I’m so craving for good korean food now…. Thanks for sharing Sissi!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Nami, I also love cucumber pickles (and also fresh cucumber) I hope you make this super easy kimchi one day!

  9. Hotly Spiced

    These pickles look great. I normally don’t buy cucumbers because I’m not a fan and find them quite boring but pickled! That’s another story. That’s where they come in to their own. Great post!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Liz. I’m very flattered by your compliment especially since your photos are gorgeous and so much better than mine!

  10. Hyosun Ro

    Sissi – Again, I am totally impressed. Not only your cucumber kimchi looks delicious, but your description of the kimchi taste makes my mouth water. And I eat kimchi every day. As always, thanks for trying my recipe and publishing it on your blog, with a lot more information than my post has. You know we all are so busy with our own blogging and do not have enough time to try many of our fellow bloggers’ recipes, even if we love them. You’re amazing!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hyosun, thank you for the kind words and compliments. I am really touched.
      I totally agree, but some recipes (or maybe also photos?) are such a love at first sight, they won’t go out of my mind and I simply have to make them. Your blog is full of these! Thank you for the inspiration and foolproof recipes.

  11. Barb @ Profiteroles and Ponytails

    You’ve really opened my eyes about kimchi. Thanks for sharing this recipe. If I ever make kimchi — I would make the cucumber version because my family loves cucumbers so much. I’m just back to following/reading blogs again…I was “out cold” with a cold the past few days.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Barb. I’m so sorry to hear you were ill. If you like cucumber, then you will love this kimchi! It’s really my favourite and, accidentally, the easiest too!

  12. Linda

    Mmm…lots of wonderful flavors going on in here! This is truly one of those staple foods I could keep on hand to enhance and compliment my meals. I’m always thanking Charles too for his inspirations!!

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