Make kimchi with summer cucumbers. It’s easy, crisp, crunchy and deliciously refreshing!
If you ask me which is the easiest kimchi you can try to make this summer, I’d say this cucumber kimchi (oi kimchi, 오이김치)! It’s summer, which means we should all be eating more cucumbers. Simply cut up the cucumbers, salt briefly, and then mix with the seasoning!
It’s an excellent alternative to the stuffed cucumber kimchi, oi sobagi (오이 소박이), if you don’t want to bother stuffing the cucumbers.
Because the cucumbers are cut similar to cubes, this cucumber kimchi is also called oi kkakdugi (오이깍두기), named after cubed radish kimchi — kkakdugi.
Cucumbers and other vegetables
As mentioned in the stuffed cucumber kimchi recipe, use Korean cucumbers if available. Otherwise, Kirby pickling cucumbers are the next best thing for making kimchi. You can also try it with other thin-skinned varieties with crisp flesh and small seeds. The resulting texture may not be as crunchy, depending on the variety. If you have a choice, select cucumbers that are firm and slender. Thicker cucumbers tend to have more seeds and softer flesh.
I like to add Korean garlic chives (buchu, 부추). It’s easier now to find garlic chives around here, and summer garlic chives are tender and delicious. You can leave them out if you can’t find them. Use some scallions instead.
Oi kimchi seasoning
Because this is kimchi, unlike oi muchim, I use salted shrimp (saeujeot/saewujeot, 새우젓) and fish sauce (myeolchiaekjeot, 멸치액젓). The ratio of these two ingredients is always a matter of preference among Korean cooks. You can also just use one of the two, not both. It’s really up to you!
How to make cucumber kimchi vegan
This is actually a question for all kimchi types. There are various ways to make vegan kimchi depending on kimchi types and preference. For this cucumber kimchi, use Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang, 국간장) as a substitute for salted shrimp and/or fish sauce. Use an equal amount and complete the dish with salt as necessary. Or you can simply use salt to season the cucumbers.
How long will this kimchi stay good?
You can eat this kimchi on the same day you make it. It will be best over the next few days, but still good for up to 2 weeks, if it lasts that long. If you like it ripe, leave it out at room temperature overnight to expedite the fermentation process and then refrigerate. Oi kimchi is not for long-term storage.
More cucumber recipes
Oi muchim (spicy cucumber salad)
Oi sobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi)
Oiji (Korean pickled cucumbers)
Oiji muchim (spicy seasoned cucumber pickles)
Oi naengguk (chilled cucumber soup)
Oi Bokkeum (stir-fried cucumbers)
Watch how to make it
Cucumber kimchi (Oi kimchi)Side Dish Print Recipe
- 1.5 pounds cucumbers (Korean cucumbers or other type such as Kirby pickling cucumbers)
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt less if using fine salt
- 2 to 3 ounces garlic chives (buchu, 부추) Or scallions
- 1/4 medium onion
- 2 to 3 tablespoons gochugaru 고추가루 (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
- 1 tablespoon myulchi aekjeot 멸치액젓 (fish sauce)
- 1 tablespoon saeujeot 새우젓 (salted and fermented shrimp) or use more fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 to 3 teaspoon sugar or 2 tablespoons maesilcheong (Korean plum syrup) Or your favorite sugar substitute
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds - optional
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Cut each one in half again lengthwise. Dice the cucumbern quarters into about 1 to 1.5 inch-long pieces. Sprinkle the salt evenly all over the cucumber pieces. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
- Drain the cucumbers well in a strainer to remove any water released. Do not rinse the cucumbers.
- Cut the garlic chives into 1.5 inch long pieces. Thinly slice the onions.
- Add the onions and garlic chives along with all the remaining ingredients to the salted cucumbers. Toss everything until the cucumbers are well coated with the seasoning. The cucumbers will look dry at this point, but will release moisture as they absorb the seasonings.
This recipe was originally posted in August 2011. It’s updated here with new photos, more information, and an improved recipe.