Cucumber kimchi (oi-sobagi or oi kimchi) 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 quick cucumber kimchi recipe 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, have a crunchy texture 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.

If you’re interestied in making more cucumber side dishes, you can check out my oi muchim (quick, simple, cucumber salad) recipe and my cucumber pickles (oijangajji) recipe. And if you like this oi-sobagi you should definitely try my traditional cabbage kimchi recipe too!

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!



  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 a sealed container or jar 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.

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  1. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    Good Morning Maangchi,
    I wanted to tell you about this wonderful thing that happened for me.
    My local dry cleaner is owned by a lovely Korean couple. I realized they were Korean after I had been watching you because the woman’s accent is much like yours. One day I greeted her with Anyounghasayyo
    I’ve learned how to say hello and goodbye from eating at Korean restaurants. This started us on many great discussions of food. She has shared tips and recipes with me and I run home and try them out.
    Yesterday she called and had made oisobagi and had saved a container for me. I was very touched by this gift. I took her a bunch of flowers from my garden (Peony) and learned they are called Moran. The husband told me the story of a soldier who writes to his love that he will return when the moran is in bloom and she waits for him every year. I am so happy to be making friends with these wonderful people and I want to thank you for helping open the door to knowing about Korea.
    I believe the foods of a culture are not just about flavor and nutrition, they are about tradition, respect, family roles, history and customs of the culture. In any study of food a person must be open to understanding the agriculture and customs of the country and it’s people. Then we can truly enjoy the flavors and textures.
    By the way her oisogabi was the best I’ve ever had. It was s perfect balance of sour and spicy.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      What a touching story! I can see you are a very open minded person! I totally agree with what you say, “I believe the foods of a culture are not just about flavor and nutrition, they are about tradition, respect, family roles, history and customs of the culture.”

  2. This is my favorite so far of all your recipes!

  3. hi!today i made the cocumber khimchi.your made it look’s
    so easy for us foreign to learn how to make korean
    i always like khimchi.
    oh i know korean i study korean language.

  4. hi maangchi!..what can be a substitue for KOREAN CHIVES? if i don’t have korean chives.

  5. Maangchi, would the cucumber kimchi taste even better if it was fermented? And if so, how do you go about doing that? Do you just bury it in a container in the ground or something?

  6. Hi Maangchi,
    i was wondering why you take the bubbles out when the soup is boiling?
    my mom does the same thing, but i always forget to ask her why

    oh by the way im learning korean
    and it’s fun and very easy to learn

  7. Maangchi joined 7/08 & has 12,045 comments

    haha, you surprised your mother-in-law!

  8. Thank you so much for the Oisobagi kimchi recipe. My wife is Korean and I made this for my mother in law on her birthday. The whole family could not believe I made this. Your recipes and instructions are FABULOUS!

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Chris, you!!! : )
    I’m glad to hear about your successful oisobagi making!
    It looks awesome! I’m going to post it on my website so that others could see your oisobagi, too.

    You ran out stuffing while filling only half amount of your cucumber pieces? haha! I’m sure it won’t happen next time you make oisobagi.

  10. Looking just at the ingredients, I would have never thought I’d like this type of kimchi.

    I had all the ingredients, though, so I decided to give it a try. Wow! It’s delicious! I think I stuffed mine way too fat, or my cucumbers were too big, because I ran out of stuffing after only filling half my cucumbers.

    They don’t look as good as yours, but I decided to take a picture as proof of having made it.

    Now I have to worry that I won’t eat it all in one night. Thank you for posting the recipe!

    Yes, this is the Chris from your recent Toronto trip.)

  11. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Hi, Happy New Year!
    Kimchi paste for oisobagi is different from the paste for cabbage kimchi. I would not use the leftover kimchi paste to make oisobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi). Keep the leftover kimchi paste in the freezer and use it when you make next batch of cabbage or radish kimchi.

  12. Hiya, this is my first post!!
    I gotta say that your web is just so awesome, i’m salivating just by looking at the recipes. You made it looks so easy for us non-Korean to learn how to cook our fav foods. Thanks alot!
    P.S: is it ok for me to use left over kimchi sauce (paste) left-over to make this cucumber kimchi? Or is it gonna be weird?

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    oh, well, I can’t think of something else that can replace fish sauce. Why don’t you just skip the fish sauce? Or Leave your question on the forum here
    I hope someone else gives you good answer.

  14. can i use something else rather than fish sauce for the oi sobaegi?? i dont have it but i have everything else!

  15. OMG that Oi Sobaegi was so GOOD!

    Ill take a pic tomorrow

  16. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    I’m glad to hear about your success at making oisobagi. Good!

    Fantastic! You must be a good cook! : )

  17. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    Today I saw some small english cucumbers at my local store. I bought them and made oisobagi.
    This is a very good recipe, it’s easy and delicious.

  18. Maangchi, I love you! I have tried a half dozen cucumber kimchi recipes, and nothing even came close to the ones I had while in Seoul. Yours are so amazing and spot on. Plus I just love the background music in the video!
    I used organic hothouse cucumbers (the long, seedless ones) for mine, so I didn’t have to worry about the skins, and they were just amazing.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  19. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    If you use kirby cucumbers, use about 10 kirby cucumbers for this recipe.

  20. 6 cucumbers in the recipe? Kirby cucumbers come in small and medium and yesterday I found Korean cucumbers in the Koream supermarket. I think in your video you used Korean cucumbers wich is much longer than Kirby cucumbers. Can you give me the weight of the cucumbers? I like eating Kimchie and make my own. Thanks.

  21. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Please follow the recipe.
    “Wash the cucumbers once and drain them and stuff the seasoning paste into the slotted cucumber and put it in a airtight container.” You can cut your cucumber 2 or 3 times to make it short.

  22. Hi..
    I have a question about cucumber’s size.
    I have too big size of cucumber, so after i mixed with kimchi paste.
    And i can taste only cucumber and spicy from hot pepper flake.
    What can i do about it? and is there any other way to make cucumber kimchi? such as like slice them? and do you have other receipe?
    hehe sorry i have too many questions..

  23. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Thank you very much for your compliment!
    wow 50 pounds of cucumbers!

  24. I made the cucumber kimchi this morning and had it with dinner. Outstanding! I have three Korean cookbooks, yet none make preparation as enjoyable as your site. The videos and explanations are superb. Plus, I can write and receive help while seeing what others are saying. This is cucumber time here, so we had 50 pounds of canning cukes from which I stole seven to devote to your recipe. My wife cans garlic dills, and she makes kosher new & sour pickles that, like some kimchi recipes, are fermented for a few days.

    Helena, MT

  25. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Mark & Georgie,
    oh, What a wonderful place you are living in! Beautiful! I'm very interested in seeing your garden!

  26. Hi Maangchi-

    Thanks for the recipe. This is the time of too many cucumbers, and I thought cucumber kimchi might be possible. So your recipe came to the rescue and we really love it. I used Turkish Aleppo pepper since its a little toned down from typical hot pepper flakes.

    Here's a link to our site:

    Mark & Georgie

  27. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    You still can eat them. It sometimes happens to me, too. I think it’s from not fresh cucumbers.

    Koreans usually don’t ferment cucumber kimchi and eat it fresh though.

  28. Hi Maangchi,

    After two days of fermentation, the flavors were just perfect! However, a lot of liquid developed and the cucumbers were sitting in the liquid and turned into mush after one day in the refrigerator. Help! :(

  29. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    I usually use “Tae yang cho” hot pepper flakes or “Wang pyo”. I have never used “Tae gyung nong san”‘s hot pepper flakes. It should be smokey smell.

  30. Hi Maangchi,

    The Oi Sobagi turned out wonderful! The only things was that there was a hint of “smokey” red pepper taste. Do you think it could be the brand of Gochugaru that I use?

    As with Gochujang and Kanjang, different brands produce a slightly different flavor…some are more salty and some more sweet. I use Tae Kyung Nong San Gochugaru. I personally love this brand for cooking. Do you think I should buy the Gochugaru brand you recommend for making kimchi?

  31. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Hi,salty oisobagi maker!
    : ) Salty kimchi or oisobagi would not ferment easily. So I recommend taking out the oisobagi from the refrigerator and keep in at room temperature. I don’t know exactly how long it will take for it to ferment. It would depend on how salty it is.

  32. Hi again Maangchi!!! I finally opened my oi sobagi last week to try it and I ran into a problem, it was far too salty (I think I used a lot more salt than the recipe asked for ^^”), and also I found that it did not ferment very much because it wasn’t sour yet, but I left it in the fridge for almost a week! I remember buying oi sobagi from the store before that was sour and fermented which my family loved (we prefer sour kimchi), but the Korean market does not have it anymore, so I need to make it at home. Could you please recommend some tips as to how to make the oi sobagi ferment and become sour?? Thank you!

  33. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Hello 3 squares, (can’t read your id and only I can see 3 squares. : ) )

    I envy you that you have lots of asian chives(bu chu) in your backyard.

    Making buchu kimchi is very very simple.

    Wash and drain your buchu and cut it into bite size about 7 cm in length and then sprinkle some salt (not much)
    Make kimchi paste by mixing fish sauce, hot pepper flakes(1/3 amount of hot pepper flakes for regular chinese cabbage kimchi), and some sugar.
    Mix the paste with buchu and put it into a container and seal it tightly.

    You won’t need to add garlic.

    hope good luck with your making buchu kimchi. : )

  34. Wah! Thank you so much for the recipe Maangchi!!! I absolutely LOOOOVE oisobagi kimchi, so I always wanted to learn how to make it!!! =D Thank you, thank you!!!

    Also, I was wondering if I could request you do a recipe on puchu kimchi because I went to gather some chinese chives in my garden for the oisobagi, but I still have too much chives leftover, and I don’t want it to go to waste, so I was wondering if you please do a recipe on puchu kimchi sometime!! Thanks!!

  35. Hi can I use zucchini instead?Which type of cucumber are you using?Thanks!

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