Cucumber kimchi (oi-sobagi) is made by turning a cucumber into a pocket and stuffing it with vegetables and kimchi paste. It’s delicious and refreshing and it’s a great kimchi to make when cucumbers are in season and you don’t feel like waiting for your kimchi to ferment. You can eat this right away: they’re cool, spicy, and crunchy and go well with beef and radish soup. Cucumber kimchi is a good example of a kimchi that doesn’t have to be fermented to be great.
It’s been a very popular recipe on my website ever since I first posted it. However my original video used copyright-protected music (‘A Message to You, Rudy’ by The Specials), and the sound was recently removed by the copyright holder. Many people have been asking me to remake the video, so with cucumbers in season it’s a good time to do it. Enjoy the updated video!
- 2 pounds kirby cucumbers (9 or 10 cucumbers) or 4 4½ inch long small, thin cucumbers.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup buchu (Asian chives), chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup onion, sliced thinly
- ½ cup hot pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Wash the cucumbers. Make pockets out of them by slicing them twice lengthwise at right angles, ½ inch from one end so the cucumber quarters are still connected to each other at the end.
- Put them in a big bowl, and sprinkle and rub them with salt inside and out. Let them sit for 10 minutes on the kitchen counter, and then turn them over so they’re evenly salted. Then turn them over and let them sit another 10 minutes.
- Rinse the cucumbers in cold water a couple of times to remove excess salt. Drain and set aside.
- Combine buchu (Asian chives), carrot, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Stuff the seasoning paste into the cucumber pockets. If you have sensitive skin, you can wear rubber gloves for this because the paste might irritate your hands.
- Serve immediately as a side dish for rice, and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. If you prefer it to be fermented a bit more, let the container sit at room temperature for a couple of days until it smells and tastes sour. Then put it into the fridge. Serve cold.
My original video shows how to make barley rice. Eventually I’ll make a videos for this, too, but in the meantime here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup short grain rice, 1 cup barley
- Combine rice and barley rice in a heavy pot.
- Wash and drain a couple of times. Drain water as much as you can and add 2½ cups water.
- Cover and let it sit at least 30 minutes.
- Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
- Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes.
- Fluff with a rice scoop to remove excess steam. Serve immediately with side dishes.