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Spicy Pickled Cucumber (오이소박이, Oh-E-Sobak-i)

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers (Cucumber Kimchi), is one of my favorite “banchan”, or side dishes. Crunchy, fresh, and spicy, this dish is ready to eat as soon as you are done making it. You can let it ferment for a few days in the fridge if you wish for more of a “kimchi” taste.

This recipe calls for Kirby, or pickling, cucumbers. Try to choose firm, uniform, straight cucumbers. Avoid the largest cucumbers in the batch, as those tend to have the most seeds and are not as crisp.

Quick Notes:

⏲ <1 hour

🇰🇷 Some ingredients may need to be bought at a Korean grocery or online

👍🏻 Very easy and great for beginners!

What You'll Need:

8 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers

1 handful of asian chives, chopped (부추, buchu)

½ a large carrot, julienned

½ medium yellow onion thinly sliced

Salt (for pickling)

½ cup coarse red pepper flakes

¼ cup of fish sauce (equivalent to 4 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

¼ cup of water


Prepare the cucumbers:

Wash the cucumbers well. Cut into quarters as shown. Sprinkle salt outside and inside the cucumbers with a liberal amount of salt (don’t worry, you will be washing the excess off). Let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes.

Prepare the veggie mix:

Add the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix well.

Now the rest:

After the 30 minutes, rinse the cucumbers well. Stuff the veggie mix into the cucumbers. Rub some of the mix on the outside of the cucumber. Do this for all of your cucumbers. Then you’re done! Keep these in the fridge, they should be good to eat for the next 4 days.

Tastes great as a side dish to meat dishes like Korean BBQ Beef and Braised Short Rib (check out my recipes here)!

And when you're done, be sure to post some pictures and tag them with #ahjummarecipes. I'd love to see your results!


Some common Korean ingredients that may be hard to find at your local grocery store!

Black Bean Paste

Red Hot Pepper Paste

Red Hot Pepper Flakes

Dried Kelp (for broth)

Dried Anchovies (for broth)

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Who am I? YouTube/internet self-taught Korean cook, full-time working mommy of two, ahjumma and proud of it, I'm a Kim that makes bap!

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