Cucumber Kimchi

Cucumber Kimchi

Kimchi, the spicy and incomparable Korean pickle, is most often made with napa cabbage in the states, but it can really refer to any pickled vegetable made with chilis, seafood, and garlic.  Anything from fresh fruit to dried jujubes are used, and the possibilities are dizzying.  In this case, summer cucumber takes the lead.  Known as Oi Kimchi, it's an especially refreshing accompaniment on a blisteringly hot day.   


  • 1 pound slicing cucumbers, sliced very thinly (a mandolin is helpful for this)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean dried chili flakes) or 3 finely chopped jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest


  1. Combine the cucumbers with the salt in a large bowl.  Transfer to a colander and allow to drain for 30 minutes. 
  2. Combine the vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, gochugaru, fish sauce, sugar, Thai basil, and lime zest in a large bowl and whisk thoroughly.  
  3. Pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel and add to the bowl.  Toss until fully coated.  
  4. Transfer the contents of the bowl to the refrigerator to chill.  This kimchi isn't fermented, and can be eaten right away, but we recommend allowing it to marinade for at least an hour.  Best eaten within a few days.  
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