Spicy stuffed cucumber kimchi

Oisobagi kimchi 오이소박이 김치

Cucumber kimchi (oi-sobagi) is made by turning a cucumber into a pocket and stuffing it with vegetables and kimchi paste. It’s delicious and refreshing and it’s a great kimchi to make when cucumbers are in season and you don’t feel like waiting for your kimchi to ferment. You can eat this right away: they’re cool, spicy, and crunchy and go well with beef and radish soup. Cucumber kimchi is a good example of a kimchi that doesn’t have to be fermented to be great.

It’s  been a very popular recipe on my website ever since I first posted it. However my original video used copyright-protected music (‘A Message to You, Rudy’ by The Specials), and the sound was recently removed by the copyright holder. Many people have been asking me to remake the video, so with cucumbers in season it’s a good time to do it. Enjoy the updated video!



  • 2 pounds kirby cucumbers (9 or 10 cucumbers) or 4 4½ inch long small, thin cucumbers.
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup buchu (Asian chives), chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup hot pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds



  1. Wash the cucumbers. Make pockets out of them by slicing them twice lengthwise at right angles, ½ inch from one end so the cucumber quarters are still connected to each other at the end.oisobagioi-sobagi
  2. Put them in a big bowl, and sprinkle and rub them with salt inside and out. Let them sit for 10 minutes on the kitchen counter, and then turn them over so they’re evenly salted. Then turn them over and let them sit another 10 minutes.cucumber kimchi
  3. Rinse the cucumbers in cold water a couple of times to remove excess salt. Drain and set aside.
  4. Combine buchu (Asian chives), carrot, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stuff the seasoning paste into the cucumber pockets. If you have sensitive skin, you can wear rubber gloves for this because the paste might irritate your hands.oisobagioisobagi seasoningoisobagi stuffing
  6. Serve immediately as a side dish for rice, and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. If you prefer it to be fermented a bit more, let the container sit at room temperature for a couple of days until it smells and tastes sour. Then put it into the fridge. Serve cold.



My original video shows how to make barley rice. Eventually I’ll make a videos for this, too, but in the meantime here’s the recipe:

Barley Rice


  • 1 cup short grain rice, 1 cup  barley


  1. Combine rice and barley rice in a heavy pot.
  2. Wash and drain a couple of times. Drain water as much as you can and add 2½ cups water.
  3. Cover and let it sit at least 30 minutes.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
  6. Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a rice scoop to remove excess steam. Serve immediately with side dishes.



  1. piperjohn3 NYC joined 12/11
    Posted June 20th, 2014 at 6:18 pm | # |

    I made this not expecting anything too special. Boy, was I wrong–this is absolutely fantastic!

    It’s very good fresh, but I think it’s magically transformed after a day or two in the fridge when the flavors have a chance to meld. It hasn’t lasted long enough to ferment yet!

    Thanks Maangchi!

  2. JenKanG Malaysia joined 3/17
    Posted March 16th, 2017 at 8:01 pm | # |

    Hi MaangChi,

    I tried cucumber kimchi, it’s crunchy while fresh like it, but after fermentation it become bitter? Also a lot of water inside and become soggy..

  3. JJNaftali Surabaya, Indonesia joined 12/14
    Posted February 10th, 2017 at 10:02 pm | # |

    Can i fermented it?

  4. esthersy Anseong, Korea joined 11/16
    Posted November 23rd, 2016 at 8:39 am | # |

    안녕하새요 Maangchi,

    I moved to Korea recently, and I’m trying to cook more foods at home. I would like to make this cucumber dish, but I can’t find fish sauce in the Korean markets. Can I substitute fish sauce with something else???

    Thanks a lot!!!


  5. Jcabe1963 Coshocton, Ohio joined 9/16
    Posted September 29th, 2016 at 3:42 pm | # |

    Maangchi, I have a question. I love you kimchi recipes, but my husband doesn’t like the ground dry red pepper powder because of the “gritty” texture. Can I use crushed red pepper flakes instead or will this change the flavor?

  6. NabiLim Syria joined 9/16
    Posted September 4th, 2016 at 12:19 pm | # |

    Is it ok if I used gochujang instead of hot pepper flakes?

  7. Anapingofness Ohio, USA joined 11/11
    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 1:28 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi!
    Two great things happened yesterday.
    The first was that I finally made your oi-sobagi recipe! I couldn’t find buchu so I followed your suggestion to use scallions. I’m sure it would taste much better with buchu- I love the garlicy taste it has! Nevertheless, the oi-sobagi turned out great!
    Actually, my older sister was jealous because she cannot eat spicy food. (She loved your baek-kimchi recipe!)
    Do you know of a way to make oi-sobagi without the red pepper flakes? I considered adding red bell pepper for the color but I found myself a bit puzzled as to how to bind all of the stuffing together.
    But I digress- the second great thing that happened was that your cookbook arrived!
    I couldn’t wait to go through it and I was not disappointed. You and your team did a great job in breaking everything down and explaining it.
    It is only the third cookbook I own but I am excited to start using it!
    Keep up the great work!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 20th, 2015 at 4:44 pm | # |

      I’m glad you like my cookbook! You’re very ready to cook with the book.
      “Do you know of a way to make oi-sobagi without the red pepper flakes?” Well, you can do some experiment to make non-spicy but beautiful red color. I can’t think of any better idea than using real Korean gochugaru(hot pepper flakes). Freshly ground red bell pepper won’t stick to the cucumber. How about adding chopped red bell pepper to the stuffing? Chop it into tiny pieces and insert into the pocket of cucumber.

      • Anapingofness Ohio, USA joined 11/11
        Posted May 21st, 2015 at 12:09 am | # |

        I will experiment a bit after I finish this batch of oi-sobagi.
        If it turns out well, I’ll let you know so that others can try it as well. ^^

  8. tiggerization joined 5/10
    Posted December 6th, 2014 at 3:12 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I have been successfully making Kimchi (mostly from Napa cabbage) which I have left for ages to become nice and sour! But after one day or so, the Kimchi was nice, but not yet really sour though! I have had Kimchi in Korean restaurants that seemed to be self made, really fresh and still crunchy, but yet sour and tangy! How do they achieve that? Especially for cucumber Kimchi, as my cucumbers get soggy very quickly once they’re salted!
    Can you give me some hints?

  9. Pipepippook Beijing joined 11/14
    Posted November 20th, 2014 at 1:04 pm | # |

    I’ve made it twice and it’s awesome. My 5-year-old loves it and asks for it when it’s dinner time!☺️ Thank u again. I just love all your videos and wished I lived near u to share food! I think u r so cute in your videos! Wish I knew how to share pictures. I want to show mine!

  10. kurena198 USA joined 5/14
    Posted May 31st, 2014 at 9:01 am | # |

    Hi, just wanted to say that I love this recipe! Plus, after I left it fermented fora couple days, I made some of them into like fried pickles style. it was so awesome. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Kimek Poland joined 3/14
    Posted March 20th, 2014 at 11:04 am | # |

    Oh, looks so yummy! Crunchy fresh cucumbers and salty, spicy hot filling. I love it!

  12. Rosemary4 Sanford fl joined 9/12
    Posted January 20th, 2014 at 12:10 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi! I wonder it can without to put stuffing in cucumber kimchi? Is that taste better with stuffing? Let me know before I head to make soon. Look forward you respond soon. :-)

  13. zipurlip2 USofA joined 7/11
    Posted October 25th, 2013 at 8:25 pm | # |

    Thank you for another great recipe!

  14. spicykimchijigae NJ joined 9/13
    Posted September 16th, 2013 at 10:30 pm | # |

    This is probably one of the most delicious maangchi recipe that I have ever tried. Tasting this dish brought tears to my eyes (I exaggerate)…honestly, I could not get enough of this all summer long. Just a warning: it’s quite garlicky but so so good.

  15. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13
    Posted September 15th, 2013 at 5:50 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I know this has nothing to do with this recipe but can you please write my name in Korean?
    Its Krynauw, the pronunciation is Cray (as in crayfish) + no (as in yes- no)
    I would REALLY appreciate it!!!
    Thanks :)

  16. urfatutkunu Türkiye joined 4/13
    Posted September 14th, 2013 at 5:35 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I’m going to make oi sobagi but you say sugar in the recipe. But didn’t add sugar on your video. Sugar or not???

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 14th, 2013 at 6:30 pm | # |

      You make me watch the video again! Watch it again. I add 1 tablespoon sugar in the video. Good luck with making delicious oisobagi!

      • urfatutkunu Türkiye joined 4/13
        Posted September 15th, 2013 at 3:11 am | # |

        Sorry Maangchi, I watched for four times but I couldn’t see sugar. Now, I watched again and see sugar =) Really very interesting =))) Sorry again. And thank you. I’m going to make the recipe today.

  17. bellehorn Ohio joined 8/13
    Posted August 17th, 2013 at 9:28 pm | # |

    Hello i was wondering if there is any substitute for red pepper powder?

    • spicykimchijigae NJ joined 9/13
      Posted September 16th, 2013 at 10:36 pm | # |

      I’m not an expert by any means but I tried this recipe many times. You should not substitute with anything other than Korean red pepper powder (coarse). You can order it online (amazon)–it just makes the dish really yummy.

  18. urfatutkunu Türkiye joined 4/13
    Posted August 11th, 2013 at 4:06 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    For this recipe, can I use something else instead of fish sauce?

  19. jeansuki joined 2/11
    Posted August 8th, 2013 at 1:54 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you for re-posting this; it’s time for Oi-Sobagi! Yay Oi Kimchi!
    I JUST bought these cukes at the farmers market. A friend came over and I showed her how to make them and we had a great time. We did have to run to the korean market to purchase buchu garlic chives…but I think that makes them super authentico. Just like last year, I put in too much carrot, but I can’t complain about that! The stuffing falls all over, but I just press it all into the large jars that I have.
    Thank you again for re-posting this seasonal favorite and congratulations on your book deal! You are the best!
    I would love to have a garlic stem kimchi recipe too! You do have a thread manul julgi but no recipe yet. (I’m still going to try it! I think I have figured it out.)
    So, you are a great teacher and person. I LOve your videos, posts and pictures!
    Thanks Maangchi!
    Your devoted fan,

  20. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13
    Posted July 20th, 2013 at 3:57 am | # |

    OMG Maangchi, I made this following your recipe a long time ago. This is one of my fav banchans to eat on hot summer days. It’s so good. I just love the spicy, sour, salty, refreshing taste of this dish. I love eating a bowl of rice in cold ice water and having this as a side dish. I can eat a meal like that all summer long haha. I haven’t had it in a while. I should make some soon!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 23rd, 2013 at 11:05 pm | # |

      “I love eating a bowl of rice in cold ice water and having this as a side dish.” oh yeah? I always like warm rice but I should try your way sometime! : )

  21. JoyceWu Taiwan joined 7/12
    Posted July 18th, 2013 at 11:58 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, this is first I made it .
    It’s look like tasty but I feel too salty.
    Is it normal or I have to wash more times before I put stuff ? Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 23rd, 2013 at 11:03 pm | # |

      yes, check out the step 3 please. “Rinse the cucumbers in cold water a couple of times to remove excess salt”

  22. urfatutkunu Türkiye joined 4/13
    Posted July 18th, 2013 at 6:23 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,
    If I protect this kimchi and coluldn’t finish in the same day, how many times it could be fresh? And how must I hide it? In the refrigerator?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 18th, 2013 at 8:27 am | # |

      You can enjoy fresh oisobagi for a couple of days if you keep it in the fridge.

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