Oi Sobagi (Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi)


Oi sobagi (오이소박이) 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 hot salted water before being stuffed with the filling. Don’t worry, the hot water won’t cook the cucumbers. This is 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)

Salting water:
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.)

To clean, rub each cucumber with a little bit of salt and rinse. If using long Korean cucumbers, cut in half crosswise.

Add 6 cups of water with 6 tablespoons of salt in a medium size pot. Bring it to a rapid boil. Turn the heat off. Pour the boiling water over the cucumbers in a bowl. Keep the cucumbers submerged by weighing them down with a bowl or plate. Let it sit for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the chives into 1/2 inch lengths. Julienne the radish, and then cut into the same lengths.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients and mix well. It should taste a bit salty.

Drain the cucumbers. Holding the top end of the cucumber on the cutting board, run a small knife through the middle lengthwise. Leave 1/2 inch uncut at both ends. Turn the cucumber and make another cut through the middle lengthwise to make a cross cut, again leaving 1/2 inch uncut at both ends. Repeat with all the cucumbers.

Gently open each slit and insert about a teaspoonful or two of the stuffing. Be sure to fill all 4 slits of each cucumber. Repeat until all the cucumbers are stuffed. Place them in a jar or an airtight container. Leave it out at room temperature for half a day or so. Then, store in the fridge.

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.

Leave a Comment



  1. Oh wow! I love anything kimchi and these are really calling out to me. Great recipe!
  2. I never seen such kimchi before, looks like I will have to do it on my own together with some grilled meats
  3. Absolutely loves these with a bowl of steamed rice! Mmmm! My mother is returning this Wednesday and my youngest(8) who loves Korean food said, "Grandma's coming! Finally, Korean food!" I'm sure he meant that he is happy to have HER back, right? :)
  4. I have never tried stuffing cucumbers. They look absolutely delicioous and this dish certainly is something I would love to make and enjoy!
  5. Hi, love your blog, new cuisine to try :) by the way can I use regular red chilli powder as we dont find korean chilli flakes around here
  6. Your stuffed cucumber kimchi looks so perfect and neat! Years of experience and an exceptional dexterity I suppose... I have been making your easy cucumber kimchi for many months now and love it. I will try preparing this version when I will feel brave and full of energy ;-)
  7. I gotta try to make this. :)
  8. What an interesting recipe! I never did any type of kimchi but if there are easy versions like this, maybe I should give it a try!
  9. Oh i LOVE these things, i haven't had them in years. I think i told you i used to live in Pusan? For 5 years. I have my favorite Korean restaurants here but no cucumber kimchi there. And i still have not make kimchi at home yet. We have an excellent Asian grocery store here and they make fresh kimchi, radish and cabbage so i get it there all the time.
  10. How interesting! I'd never imagined that we can stuff cucumbers! :D It sounds and looks fancier than regular kimchi.
  11. WANT. That looks amazing. Love kimchi and I could graze on these as a snack all day long, given the opportunity.
  12. Hyosun, I love your new blog name. I miss Korean Bapsang. I love cucumber kimchi in the summer time. Just perfect for the season. Your kimchi looks really delicious and I want a bowl of rice now to enjoy the crunchiness of spicy cucumbers.
  13. I am not sure if I like cucumber so much. I guess not.
  14. So, it's oi sobagi making time. Last year, was my first attempt and used julienned carrots as part of the stuffing. My first attempt and I was impressed. Well...my mom, not so much. She told me that carrots shud not be used, as they are not a flavour companion to cucumbers....hmmm..... And yes I noticed that she never used carrots when making her oi sobagi. What do you think? Is my mom stating something that she grew up believing or is it just a taste preference. What do you think? I'm puzzled, because oi sobagi recipes include carrots.
  15. Hi! I tried this recipe two before. The first batch was absolutely delicious!! The second one turned out too soft and quite watery. When the cucumbers sit out, water collects at the bottom in the container. Would you recommend draining the water or keeping it? Or what else would you suggest. Wonderful site though! I love your recipes (:
    • Hi Jill - Once in a while, I moderate comments and forget to go back to reply. And that happened with yours. Sorry about that! Was the first time in the summer? Winter cucumbers are not usually nice and crunch. That's if you used the same type of cucumbers both times. You can drain water if you want, but not necessary. Look for firm and thin cucumbers. Hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!
  16. Thank you so much for this recipe! The kimchi my mother (and her friends) makes brings up so many memories for me. I've been wanting to continue this tradition and finally made my first batch of kimchi a few weeks ago -- starting with your cucumber kimchi recipe! I tried making baechu kimchi after that but the recipe I used just wasn't right. Do you have one you'd recommend? :)