Oisobagi (Stuffed Cucumber) Kimchi

As promised in my last post, today’s recipe is centered on the Oisobagi Kimchi, a Korean dish.

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I am major Kimchi enthusiast. Am I Korean? Nope. Do I love Korean food? YES! In fact, I’ve been making my own Kimchi for over 10 years now.

So, what got me into my obsession with Kimchi?

Growing up in Japan, Korean restaurants are everywhere and so many Japanese people love Korean cuisine. Kimchi is sold regularly in supermarkets. It is ubiquitous. As a result, I grew up eating Kimchi and can’t live without it.

When I was in college, I was on a tight budget and cooked most of the food that I ate. On top of that, I tried lots of different kinds of store-bought Kimchi that was either made in-house at the supermarket or pre-packaged from elsewhere. I was never happy with the quality of store-bought Kimchi. Because of that, I started researching how to make it to my own tastes.

When my body craves Kimchi, I listen. It’s healthy and the flavors pack such a punch. The spice from the Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and ginger gives me tons of natural energy. When a Kimchi variety is fermented, it creates natural probiotics and aids digestion.

The recipe I am posting today does not require fermentation, as it is better eaten when made fresh. I will have more Kimchi recipes that require fermentation in the future, so please keep an eye out!

The Sprightly Kitchen’s Oisobagi Kimchi (Serves 6-8)

Asian Chives Garden
Garlic chives from my garden, a key ingredient for this recipe.

To prep the cucumbers:

  • 2 pounds of cucumber, washed
  •  2-3 tablespoons of coarse sea salt

To prep the stuffing:

  • 2 to 2 ¼ cups garlic chives, cleaned and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 cup Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • ½-¾ cup carrot, julienned
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, tops trimmed and roots removed
  •  ¼-½ cup of Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling

After the cucumbers are washed, peel some of the skin off to create stripes. If the skin is too thick, remove all of it. Cut the ends off of the cucumber, like this:

This is the best way I can explain the next step: take your knife and cut each cucumber to look like a flower with four petals.  Leave about a ½ inch of room on one end of a cucumber, and slice the rest of it in half, length-wise.  Turn it over and repeat.  Hey, pictures help! You should get something like this:

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After you make your “flower” cucumbers, gently rub coarse sea salt on each of them, including the”petals.”  Set aside.  15 minutes or so later, turn the cucumbers over for even salting.  30 minutes total salting time should give the cucumbers plenty of time to get rid of some of its excess water. If you go over 30 minutes, don’t worry about it.  Try not to go over an hour of salting.

Do you see how the ends of the cucumbers are not completely cut off?  That’s what we need.  While the cucumbers are salting, prepare the stuffing.  Chop all of your vegetables in various shapes and sizes and mince the garlic and ginger:

Put all of the chopped vegetables, spices, sesame seeds, and seasonings in a bowl. Mix gently with your hands or a spoon. The stuffing should look something like this:

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Give it a taste to see how you like it, then make adjustments as needed. Set aside.

Go back to your cucumbers, rinse off the excess salt with cold water and drain. Use your hands and stuff the cucumbers with the stuffing. After stuffing, give each cucumber a gentle squeeze to ensure that the stuffing will stay in the cucumber.  Sprinkle the tops of the cucumbers with some more toasted sesame seeds. Eat immediately, or put into an airtight container and refrigerate for about, I’d say, 1-3 days.

The end product should look similar to this:

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Notes

To serve, you can dice up the cucumber and serve it on a plate, or munch down on it whole. Whatever works for you.

Drizzling a little sesame oil on top when serving will make this dish extra delicious.

I chose not to include weight in grams today. I am thinking about omitting this all together in consideration of viewership analytics.  I noticed that most of my readers are from the U.S. It takes a considerable amount of time when formulating recipes too.  What should I do?

I used a variety of cucumbers called “Salad Cucumbers”– whatever that means.  I am thinking that they are younger versions of the conventional American garden cucumber. They are similar to the Kirby variety.

If you try this with English, Persian, or Japanese cucumbers, you would not need to peel the skin off as their skins are typically thinner and easier to digest. I would not recommend using the large garden cucumbers because it requires seeding and has very thick skin.

I have seen lots of recipes where the chives were cut into anywhere about 1-2 inch pieces. Since garlic chives are fibrous, I prefer to cut them even smaller for easier digestion.

I tend to season my cucumber Kimchi heavily because the cucumber will continue to extract more water as it ages over time. Not seasoning it enough can make the kimchi bland.

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use some plastic food grade gloves when stuffing the cucumbers. The red pepper flakes are really spicy and could hurt your hands.

Enjoy!

 

Lots and lots and lots of love,

 

E.

 

4 thoughts on “Oisobagi (Stuffed Cucumber) Kimchi”

  1. Hi Em, this recipe sounds and looks great. I started to eat Kimchi just a short while ago to reap the probiotic benefits of it. I do not handle spicy food well. Is it going to be fine without the red pepper flakes in it or is it required for specific taste? I will try it for sure!

    Thanks,
    Michaela

    Like

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