Oi Sobagi (Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi)

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What is your favorite summer kimchi? Oi sobagi (오이소박이), stuffed cucumber kimchi, is a summer favorite in Korea. It’s crisp, crunchy and deliciously refreshing! Oi means cucumber, and sobagi means it’s stuffed with a seasoning mix. This oi sobagi recipe was originally posted in August 2012. I’ve updated it here with minor changes to the recipe and new photos.  

What type of cucumbers to use

Needless to say, oi sobagi is best made in the summer when cucumbers are in their peak season. I usually make it with Korean cucumbers whenever I can find them. They are long and slender with thin whitish/pale green skin. The flesh is thick, but less seedy than other cucumbers. I love how crisp, juicy, and sweet they are!

When Korean cucumbers are not available, Kirby (aka pickling) cucumbers are the next best thing to use. Always look for cucumbers that are firm and slender.

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How to make oi sobagi

As is the case with most kimchi varieties, you’ll need to salt the cucumbers first. I use boiling hot salted water. 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.

Then, make a pocket in the middle by making slits to create 4 cucumber spears that are held together at the end. Traditionally, both ends are left intact, which I prefer. Some people cut straight through one end, only keeping the other end intact. The latter will be easier, if that’s what you want.

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I make slits after the cucumbers are salted so as not to lose the flavor in the water during the salting process. However, the salting process will go faster if you cut them before salting.

For the stuffing, buchu (garlic chives) is classic. I also added some Korean radish in this recipe, but you can substitute with onions or simply use more garlic chives. If you can’t find garlic chives, you can use scallions instead.

This cucumber kimchi can be eaten right away but will taste better after a day or two in the fridge. This is a quick kimchi not intended for several weeks of storage.

Hope you get a chance to make this easy and refreshing summer kimchi before the summer is over! It will be excellent with your Korean BBQ!

More Korean cucumber dishes to try

Oi muchim (spicy cucumber salad)
Oi kimchi (cucumber kimchi)
Oiji (pickled cumcumbers)
Oi bokkeum (stir-fried cucumbers)

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Oi Sobagi (Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi)

5 from 8 votes
Print Recipe


  • 5 Korean cucumbers or 10 Kirby/pickling cucumbers (about 5-inch long)
  • Salting water:
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup coarse sea salt


  • 3 ounces Korean garlic chives buchu (부추)
  • 3 ounces Korean radish mu or 1/4 medium onion
  • 5 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper flakes gochugaru
  • 2 tablespoons salted shrimp (finely chopped) saeujeot (새우젓)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, myeolchiaekjeot (멸치액젓)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  • Rinse cucumbers. Cut off both ends. If using long Korean cucumbers, cut in half (or thirds if long) crosswise.
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  • Add 6 cups of water with 1/2 cup of salt in a medium size pot. Bring it to a 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 until the cucumbers are bendable, about an hour or two, depending on your cucumbers and salt.
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  • Meanwhile, cut the chives into 1/2 inch lengths. Julienne the radish (or onion), and then cut into the same lengths.
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  • Combine all the stuffing ingredients along with 1/4 cup of water, and mix well. It should taste a bit salty.
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  • 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.
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  • 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 a day. Then, store in the fridge.
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This cucumber kimchi can be eaten right away but will taste better after a day or two in the fridge. It will keep well for a couple of weeks.
Originally posted in August 2012 and updated here with an improved  recipe and new photos. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating



  1. 5 stars
    Could you sub tofu for shrimp?

    • You mean for the salted shrimp? No. Salted shrimp is fermented shrimp with distinct flavor that’s used in kimchi. Just omit it and use more fish sauce. Hope this helps.

  2. I am not Korean but love Korean food… I always get all my kimchi from the Korean markets in the San Francisco Bay Area but your recipes have give me the courage to try making my first kimchi! I’ve had a packet of guchujaru in the pantry for a while now. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Payal! Happy to hear that! Hope you enjoy making first kimchi and it turns out well for you. You’ll only get better each time.

  3. Myung Moon says

    Thank you for the update. I just made some the other day. Oi sobagi is my go to summer kimchi.

  4. 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? 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. I am not sure if I like cucumber so much. I guess not.

  8. Holly | Beyond Kimchee says

    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.

  9. leaf (the indolent cook) says

    WANT. That looks amazing. Love kimchi and I could graze on these as a snack all day long, given the opportunity.

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

    How interesting! I’d never imagined that we can stuff cucumbers! 😀 It sounds and looks fancier than regular kimchi.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. Tammy Quackenbush says

    I gotta try to make this. 🙂

  14. 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

  15. 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 😉

  16. I have never tried stuffing cucumbers. They look absolutely delicioous and this dish certainly is something I would love to make and enjoy!

  17. Kay @ The Church Cook says

    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? 🙂

  18. angsarap.net says

    I never seen such kimchi before, looks like I will have to do it on my own together with some grilled meats

  19. katherine Martinelli says

    Oh wow! I love anything kimchi and these are really calling out to me. Great recipe!