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Cucumber Kimchi, Oi Sobagi

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nut free
gluten free
prep time: 
15 min
inactive time: 
20 min
cooking time: 
20 min
total time: 
55 min

Oi Sobagi (cucumber kimchi) is a delicious kimchi with a refreshing taste and crunchy texture. In Korea, Oi Sobagi is more often enjoyed during the spring and summer time when cucumbers are in season. However, you can enjoy it for any meals at any time of the year. Traditionally, cucumbers are stuffed with garlic chives and seasoning, which is great for presentation. To save time and effort, you can cut up cucumbers into smaller bite-sized pieces and mix up with the seasoning instead.

There are two ways of brining cucumbers: dry and wet methods. The wet method is better for the even distribution of saltiness and results in softer texture. The dry method is preferred if you want to enjoy the raw crunchy texture of cucumber. When selecting cucumbers, try to find cucumbers with less seeds. You can use Korean cucumber, kirby cucumber, english cucumber or any other pickling cucumbers for this recipe. You can modify the spicy level by adding more or less gochugaru (red chili flakes).

Oi Sobagi gets fermented faster compared to other types of kimchi and it can’t be used in soups or stews once it’s sour. So, it’s better to make a smaller amount at a time.

Buy Korean ingredients online here.

Change serving size to: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Change to: Metric US
Cucumber 오이 (can use Korean, English or Kirby cucumbers)
2 tbsCoarse Sea Salt 굵은 소금 (for cleaning)

for brining solution (optional)

6 cupsWater 물
½ cup 2 tbsCoarse Sea Salt 굵은 소금

for seasoning

2 ozBuchu, Garlic Chive 부추
Green Onion 파
⅓ cupGochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고추가루
1 tbsGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘
1 tspGinger (minced) 다진 생강
1 tbsShrimp Fish Sauce (Sae Woo Jeot) 새우젓 (can use either shrimp fish sauce or anchovy fish sauce instead of the mix of both)
1 tbsAnchovy Fish Sauce 멸치액젓 (can use either shrimp fish sauce or anchovy fish sauce instead of the mix of both)
1 tbsSugar 설탕 (can use honey or fruit juice)
½ cupWater 물

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Cucumber: Instead of 2 large cucumber, you can use 6 english or kirby (pickling) cucumbers.
Fish sauce: A mix of shrimp fish sauce and anchovy fish sauce gives a nice balanced taste. But, you can use either shrimp sauce or anchovy sauce.
Sugar: If you are avoiding sugar, use fruit juice or honey.
Coarse salt: You can use kosher salt. But, coarse ones are better than fine ones. If the particles are too small, it may speed up the brining process too much that the texture of kimchi may not be as crispy. We don’t recommend using table salt (iodized salt) because iodine prevents fermentation and the texture and the color of kimchi may not turn out right.
You can buy coarse sea salt from local Korean market or order online here.

Good to Know
Instead of using brining solution, you can sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt all over the cut cucumbers. Let it sit for 20 minutes (flip them after 10 min for the even distribution of salt). Rinse with cold water. Place the cucumber on a strainer (cut end facing down) to drain water out.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Prepare Cucumber

Rub 2 large (about 11”) cucumbers (or 6 kirby cucumbers) with 2 tablespoons of salt.

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Rub with salt

  • 2 cucumber
  • 2 tbs salt

2. Prepare Cucumber

Wash thoroughly. Drain water out.

image: CCUCAA02.JPG



3. Cut Cucumber

Slice off the ends of cucumbers. Cut cucumbers into 3” (7cm long pieces). Then, place the cucumber on end and cut in half down length without cutting through to the end (leave about ½” or 1.5 cm). Rotate the cucumber and repeat. The second cut should be perpendicular to the first cut (like a cross).

image: CCUCAA03.JPG

Slice off ends


  • 5cm long
  • place on end
  • cut in half (not through the end)
  • rotate and cut in half (perpendicular to first cut)

4. Make brining solution

Mix 6 cups of water and 10 tablespoons of coarse sea salt and bring it to boil.

image: CCUCAA04.JPG


  • 6 cups water
  • 10 tbs coarse sea salt


5. Brine

Place cut up cucumbers into a bowl and pour the boiling salt water over them. Let it sit for 30 min. You can also use a dry method instead of brining solution. See tips above for details.

image: CCUCAA05.JPG

Pour salt water over cucumbers

6. Rinse

Rinse the cucumbers in cold water and drain water in a strainer. Let it drain for at least 15 min or pat dry with paper towel.

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Rinse cucumbers

Drain completely

7. Prepare garlic chives

Wash and cut about 60g of buchu (garlic chives) into 1” (or 2 cm) long pieces.

image: CCUCAA07.JPG


  • garlic chives

Cut 1” (2 cm) length

8. Make seasoning

In a bowl, mix ⅓ cup of red chili flakes, 1 tablespoon of anchovy fish sauce, 1 tablespoons of shrimp fish sauce,1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of sugar, ½ cup of water and cut up garlic chives.

image: CCUCAA08.JPG


  • ⅓ cup red chilli flakes
  • 1 tbs shrimp fish sauce
  • 1 tbs anchovy fish sauce
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • cut garlic chives

9. Stuff cucumbers

Stuff cucumbers with the seasoning. Make sure enough buchu (garlic chives) pieces are inside.

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Stuff sauce into the cucumber cut

10. Season surface

Rub the surface of the cucumbers with the remaining seasoning.

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Rub surface with seasoning

11. Store

Place the stuffed cucumbers in a container. Pour the leftover sauce into the container. Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours for fermentation. Store in the fridge afterwards.

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Ferment at room temperature

image: clock.png 480 min


12. Enjoy

Serve on a plate as a side dish.

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