No need to ferment these cucumbers before you can eat them! This is a 15 minute Cucumber Kimchi Recipe that’s fizzy and pungent just like the real thing!

In keeping with my promise to make more pickle recipes this year, I’ve come up with an easy and delicious Korean classic – cucumber kimchi.

This quick cucumber kimchi recipe is much more pungent and spicy than its Japanese counterpart (e.g., pickled daikon) and because of that, contains higher levels of nutrients and vitamins. Kimchi is also known to be one of the top anti-aging foods and has been the latest beauty trend among Japanese women for the past few years.

It’s known to decelerate the cells aging process from 54% down to 25% and is packed with good bacteria that protect against certain cancers, and help digestion by cleansing the digestive tracts.

Kimchi is easily available in store these days but I prefer to make it at home because I like mine to be seriously spicy and stinky. Yes, this fresh kimchi recipe is just that – bright red, lip numbing, savory, pungent kimchi that’s so good you will want to eat it all the time!

Ready? Let’s go!

Sliced English cucumber

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi, also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It’s often described as spicy, garlicky, sour, pungent and sometimes fizzy.

You either love it or hate it, there won’t be any mixed feelings about it.

There are many different types of kimchi but the most common ones are:

  • Oi sobagi (stuffed cucumber).
  • Baechu (napa cabbage).
  • Kkakdugi (cubed radish).
  • Baek (white kimchi – this kimchi is made without pepper flakes and has a much milder flavor).
  • Nabak (red water kimchi is more like a soup and is milder than regular kimchi).

What Cucumber To Use For Kimchi

Ideally, kirby or persian cucumbers are what you want to use because they have a tougher texture, last longer, and won’t be as watery as other types of cucumber.

But as you can see from my recipe, English cucumber also works. The only downside is the kimchi won’t last as long as if it were made with kirby cucumbers (2-3 days versus a whole week).

Chopped scallions, carrots, onions and cucumber

Ingredients For Quick Cucumber Kimchi

  • Cucumber: kirby or persian cucumber are the best options, but English cucumber also works.
  • Carrot: carrot adds texture and sweetness to the dish and makes it more fun to eat.
  • Onion: to add more pungency to the dish. Hey, it’s kimchi, it should be very stinky!
  • Chives: milder than onions and a little sweet, they marry beautifully with the other vegetables.
  • Garlic: Yep, you guessed it, to make it more pungent and also spicy!
  • Gochugaru: a staple in Korean cooking, gochugaru is made of ground chili pepper flakes. It’s super smoky, and the reason why kimchi is fiery red. Despite its color, it’s not that spicy.
  • Fish Sauce: to add saltiness and a biting taste.
  • Sugar: nothing balances savory and sour like a little granulated sugar.
  • Rice Vinegar: to inject a little sourness to this already powerful mix of flavor. Use plain rice vinegar, not seasoned.
  • Salt: to make the dish more salty than fishy.
  • Sesame Oil: one last layer of flavor, sesame oil adds nuttiness and mellows the flavors just enough that they are perfectly enjoyable.
  • Sesame Seeds: they are more for decorations than for taste since they taste so mild.
oi kimchi sauce

How To Make Cucumber Kimchi

  1. Make the kimchi sauce by mixing gochugaru, fish sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, salt, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a bowl and pour the sauce over the chopped vegetables.
  2. Mix using a spoon or your hands (preferable cover with plastic gloves) until all the vegetables are coated with the sauce.
  3. Serve or leave for a few hours for more flavor. Enjoy!

Variations

You can use other vegetables such as thinly sliced radish, green onions, sliced button mushrooms, bell peppers and cauliflower. Daikon and napa cabbage also work but would need a few hours to soften.

cucumber, scallions and carrot kimchi

What To Serve With Cucumber Kimchi

Strong flavors are at the forefront of this dish so it’s fair to say that serving something equally strong would be a very bad idea. Stick to milder sides like white rice and a kombu soup.

As for additional side dishes, I recommend you try:

cucumber kimchi pickles

Did you like this Easy Cucumber Kimchi Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

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Cucumber Kimchi Recipe

No need to ferment these cucumbers before you can eat them! This is a 15 minute Cucumber Kimchi Recipe that’s fizzy and pungent just like the real thing!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Side, Pickles
  • Method: pickling
  • Cuisine: Korean
Scale

Ingredients

  • 45 small kirby or persian cucumbers, sliced in half, or 1 English cucumber, sliced into 4 sticks lengthwise, and each stick into 4 pieces.
  • 1 carrot (cut into thin strips)
  • 1 small onion (cut into thin slices)
  • 1 cup chives (chopped into strips)

For the kimchi sauce:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes powder)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Put all the vegetables in a large tupperware container (black color is better to prevent staining)
  2. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well.
  3. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and using your hands (covered with gloves) or a spoon, spread/mix evenly to coat the vegetables.
  4. Serve immediately or leave for a few hours for softer texture and more infused flavors.

Notes

Keep the leftovers in an airtight storage container and refrigerate it. It will keep for up to 2-3 days with English cucumber and up to a week with kirby cucumber.

You can make this kimchi right before serving it or a few hours earlier if you prefer the veggies to be softer and more pickled.

Keywords: recipe, Asian, pickles, topping, appetizer, snack

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