Kimchi can be made with so more than just cabbage! There are almost 200 varieties of kimchi in Korea, using different vegetables and ingredients.
This style, known as oi sobagi (오이소박이) in Korean (literally “stuffed cucumber”) uses cucumbers. It has a clean, refreshing taste (no fish products are used, making it vegan), and ferments rather quickly– in as few as 2 days! In many cases, it is actually eaten fresh (rather than being fermented at all!0
You can make oi sobagi with any style of cucumber, but in Korea, it is made with a special variety (called a Korean cucumber). To me it’s more like a pickling cucumber, but much looooonnger!
It is also perishable (only lasting a week or so), so it is recommended to only make as much as you plan to consume in that time.
- 1½-2 lbs. (800g) cucumbers
- 3 teaspoons (15ml) coarse sea salt (fine will work too)
- ½ ounce by weight, 15g red pepper powder
- 1 ounce by weight (32g), about 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ ounce by weight (13g) ginger, peeled
- 2½ ounces (63g), about 4 large scallions
- OPTIONAL ½ lb (200g) Korean or daikon radish
- If using a long variety (8"/20cm or longer), slice cucumbers in the middle, leaving one inch/2cm on each end intact so you have not cut all the way through. Turn 90 degress and make the same cut, leaving each end intact. You're creating a "pocket" in which to add the stuffing.
- If using a shorter variety, slice them in half.
- Add cukes to a bowl or pan with high sides. Sprinkle the cukes with two teaspoons (10 ml) of salt.
- Let sit for 2 hours to soften and prepare the cukes
- Peel ginger (using a spoon) and roughly chop. Add to bowl of a food processor. If not using food processor, mince the ginger and add to a bowl.
- Peel and grate the garlic and roughly chop. Add to bowl of a food processor. If not using food processor, mince garlic and add to a bowl.
- Chop the scallions into ¼" slices. Add to food processor. If not using food processor, slice into thinner (1/16") strips and add to bowl.
- Add pepper powder and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt to mixing bowl.
- Pulse together or muddle ingredients together into a thick paste.
- If using radish, julienne into matchstick size pieces and mix into finished paste.
- Slather a layer of paste on top of a cucumber half or stuff the pocket. Place them into a baking dish. Repeat with the other pieces. You can create multiple layers. Pack them close together to minimize air pockets. Sprinkle any excess paste over the dish.
- Cover with tight-fitting lid to keep insects and fresh air out. It's a short ferment, so there is little chance of excess pressure building up.
- After 1 or 2, move to the refrigerator. You can transfer them to a jar at this point. They will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.