Korean cucumber kimchi, also called Oi Kimchi, is a traditional Korean condiment or side dish.
Ingredients for Cucumber Kimchi
- Gochugaru: A Korean staple, Gochugaru, is a necessary ingredient in kimchi. Find it in a course grind for this recipe.
- Cucumbers: Truthfully, any cucumber will work for this recipe. I look for a smaller cucumber since they seem to hold the sauce and are easier to eat. Look for a Persian or pickling cucumber at the store. Leave the skins so they will hold their shape better.
- Vinegar: I used rice vinegar, but you can also use white vinegar for a sharper pickled taste.
- Sugar: White sugar will round out the vinegar flavor.
- Fish Sauce: One of my favorite ingredients when creating Asian dishes in my kitchen is fish sauce. It gives a bit of salty-tanginess to any dish I’m making. Use sparingly and taste before you add more.
How to Make Oi Kimchi
Making this dish is basically making a paste and chopping up your cucumber.
Take your cucumbers out of the bag and wash them well. You will need about 6 cucumbers for this recipe – about one pound. Take your cucumbers and chop off the ends and discard. Chop the rest of the cucumber into dimes about a quarter of an inch thick and add the chopped cucumber to a bowl.
There is the option of sweating out your cucumbers before adding the chile paste. If you want to sweat the cucumbers, add the sliced cucumbers to a colander and add about 2 teaspoons of salt to the cucumbers. Toss well and allow the cucumbers to sweat for about 15 minutes. Sweating the cucumbers will allow any excess water to drain out of the cucumbers to keep the kimchi from getting soggy.
Add the sliced cucumbers to a large bowl and start making your chile paste for the kimchi.
Add in the gochugaru, fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, minced ginger and minced garlic. Mix well and make sure all of the cucumber is coated.
Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, the kimchi can be eaten right away, but it is better after it has been sitting in the fridge for a couple hours.
Korean cucumber kimchi can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
What is Gochugaru?
Gochugaru is a staple spice in Korean cooking. It consists of dried chile peppers that have been dehydrated, deseeded and then ground. Traditionally, these peppers are sun-dried, however machine-dried peppers have become more a more widely available and less expensive option.
The spice level of gochugaru is about the same of that of a jalapeño, or even cayenne pepper – not too spicy but spicy enough to give a touch of heat to whatever it is you’re cooking.
Coarse or Fine Gochugaru
When shopping for Gochugaru, you will have a choice between coarse and finely ground gochugaru.
Generally, the fine gochugaru is used to make gochujang, a spicy fermented chile paste. While the coarse gochugaru is the chile topping that goes on almost everything else in Korean cooking.
What to Serve with Kimchi
Kimchi is traditionally served as a condiment with Korean meals. I often eat this cucumber kimchi with a variety of different dishes.