Oi sobagi is stuffed cucumber kimchi. Oi means cucumber, and sobagi refers to dishes that are stuffed. The term, sobagi, is usually used for stuffed vegetables. Oi sobagi is best made in the summer time when cucumbers are in season. I had been wanting to post this recipe for all summer. The perfect opportunity came when my friends at World on a Plate announced that this month's theme will be stuffed vegetables. I usually make this kimchi using Korean cucumbers, which are less seedy, very crunchy and tasty. Kirby (aka pickling) cucumbers are also good. Always look for cucumbers that are firm and slender. For the kimchi, the cucumbers are first salted in boiling salted water before being stuffed with the filling. Don't worry! It won't cook the cucumbers. That's the method traditionally used for Korean pickled cucumbers, called oiji, to keep the cucumbers crisp and crunchy for a long time. I cut the cucumbers for stuffing after being salted so as not to lose the flavor in the water during the salting process. Hope you get a chance to make this quick and refreshing summer kimchi before the summer is over.
Now, don't forget to check out the other stuffed vegetables my friends at World on a Plate have for you! They are all linked at the end of this post.
5 Korean cucumbers (10 kirby/pickling cucumbers)
6 cups water
6 tablespoons coarse sea salt
4 ounces Korean garlic chives* (buchu)
3 ounces Korean radish (mu) or carrots
5 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon salted shrimp (saeujeot)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
(*If unavailable, you can use Chinese chives, which are a little thicker and tougher. You can also substitute scallions for the chives.)
This cucumber kimchi can be eaten right away and will keep well for a few days. This is a quick kimchi not intended for weeks of storage.