Oi Sobagi – Cucumber Kimchi
I absolutely love it when Korean restaurants serve cucumber kimchi as banchan.
My (small) complaint is that they only give a few pieces - ahh!
Yes, you can ask for more - but I feel uncomfortable asking for more than one refill.
So, allow me to breakdown, how to make an amazing Oi Sobagi!
Make it at home– and eat as much as you like (especially with a hot bowl of ramen).
Now, this Oi Sobagi (Korean Cucumber Kimchi) looks quite similar to Oi Muchim (Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad).
The main difference is that Oi Sobagi (Cucumber Kimchi) gets salted and undergoes fermentation.The flavor ages and tastes deeper as it ferments.
(Important note: While traditional cabbage Kimchi stays edible for a very long time, this Cucumber Kimchi does not last as long. We recommend making smaller batches – small enough to finish within 1-2 weeks!)
Cooking Tips for Oi Sobagi:
We’ll cut the cucumbers in a cross-shape and stuff them with Kimchi stuffing.
Some of our neighbors have asked why bother stuffing it – as opposed to quartering it and simply spreading the filling over pieces?
The main reason is that the cucumbers – if chopped – immediately begin to release their water and mix with the Kimchi marinade. This creates a pool of liquid – turning the cucumber pieces soft (no good!).
A slow release of liquid is better.
To keep the cucumbers crunchy, we’ll brine them with boiling water. This shocks the cucumber and keeps the texture crunchy – even after storing in the refrigerator for some time.
Use coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt when making the brine – avoid dining salt (it will be overly salty).
When making the Kimchi marinade, I highly recommend using Korean fish sauce – I like Sand Lance Fish Sauce (Kkanari-Aekjeot) for this recipe. You can find it here at Gochujar.
(But you can also use Anchovy Fish Sauce as a substitute).
When serving, use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the stuffed cucumbers into 4 easy-to-bite pieces.
I personally love to eat cucumber Kimchi with non-spicy ramen!
Bon Appetit – and I hope you try it out. This is a fail-proof recipe 😉
If you do, tag us on IG with a pic – we love seeing pictures of your dishes in the morning.
(P.s. If you’re cooking alone, don’t get bored. Consider listening to our latest podcast episode while you cook!)
- 5 Cucumbers
- ½ Cup Coarse Kosher Salt (100g) (Coarse Sea Salt)
- 1 Liter Water (4.25 Cups)
Spicy Kimchi Filling
- ½ a whole Onion
- A small handful Asian Chives (100g)
- 6 Tablespoons Gochugaru Flakes
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
- ½ Tablespoon Minced Ginger
- 3 Tablespoons Korean Fish Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Oligodang Syrup (Or use Honey, Ssalyeot, Mulyeot)
- ¼ Cup Apple Juice
- Give your cucumbers a quick rinse. Then place a handful of coarse salt in your hands and rub the cucumbers back-and-forth - this will clean the surface.
- Afterwards, rinse-off the cucumbers in water.
- Now, cut-off both ends from each of the cucumber. (Cut enough off so that there is a large circular diameter - and the piece can stand upright comfortably).
- Then cut each cucumber into thirds. You want 3 equal-sized pieces.
- Then carefully cut a cross-shape into each cucumber piece - but don't slice all the way through! Leave about ⅓ space from the bottom (reference video).
- Place the cut cucumber pieces into a large pot.
- Measure ½ cup (or 100g) of coarse-salt (don't use fine dining salt!).
- Then pour it into a large pot, along with 1L (~4.25 cups) of water.
- Bring it to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, turn-off the heat. Then let the water briefly cool down for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, pour the hot water over the cucumbers.
- Make sure that the cucumbers are submerged - you can give a stir if you need.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes - to sit in the brine. In the meanwhile, let's go make the kimchi filling.
Make Kimchi Filling
- Start with 1 whole onion. Cut it in half first. Then cut each half piece into ⅓ sections. Then dice into thin slices (reference video).
- Next, grab a small handful of asian chives. Wash them and shake off then excess water. Then cut the chives into small 2cm pieces.
- Now, make the kimchi paste by mixing: Gochugaru Flakes (6 Tablespoons), Minced Garlic (2 Tablespoons), Minced Ginger (½ Tablespoon), Korean Fish Sauce (3 Tablespoons), Oligodang Syrup (2 Tablespoons), Apple Juice (¼ Cup).
- Now, add the diced onions and chives into the spicy paste. Give it a thorough mix.
Fill cucumbers & ferment
- After 30 minutes of brining, drain out the cucumbers through a strainer.
- Then place the cucumbers into fresh water and stir them around. Then give them a final wash under running water - we want to wash off the salty brine.
- Shake-off the excess water from the cucumbers. Then place each cucumber (cut-side, facing down) onto a few paper towels - so the water from the inside can drip out. Give it about 10-15 minutes to get dry.
- Afterwards, stuff the cucumbers with the kimchi filling. Try to get alot of the stuffing in (but don't worry if the stuffing fills out).
- Now, place the stuffed cucumbers into a clean Tupperware (or glass jar). You can spread any of the leftover filling over the top.
- Now, let the cucumber kimchi sit-out at room temperature for 2-3 hours - to accelerate the fermentation process.
- After 2-3 hours, place it in the refrigerator so it can turn cold. When it turns cold, its ready to eat!
- As the cucumber kimchi ferments (over days), you'll see the flavor deepen.
- Note: As the days pass, you'll also see more liquid forming in the container - this is totally normal. Scoop it over the cucumbers when you serve it - or use it to make spicy fried rice or when making ramen.
- Bon Appetit!!