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Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8

Considering that traditional cabbage kimchi takes at least 3 days to make, this 1-day version is considered quick. The finished cucumbers are salty, tangy, slightly spicy, and utterly delicious.


  • 1 lb. small cucumbers, such as Kirby or small Persian (about 6), ends trimmed, halved crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced scallions, both white and green parts (about 2 medium)
  • 10 fresh chives, sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped saeujeot (Korean salted shrimp) or fish sauce
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes) or crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 15
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 0
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 240
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Stand the cucumber pieces on their trimmed ends and, using a small knife, cut an X into each, stopping about halfway down. Season inside and out with 1-1/2 Tbs. salt and let sit in a shallow bowl at room temperature for 1-1/2 hours to soften.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the onion, scallions, chives, saeujeot, garlic, ginger, gochugaru, and 2 Tbs. water; set aside.
  • Rinse the cucumbers well inside and out under cold running water and shake dry. Gently spread open the cucumbers and press about 1 heaping tsp. of the chile mixture into each piece. Transfer to a shallow glass or plastic container, standing them on their trimmed ends and packing them tightly together. Press any of the remaining chile mixture in and around the cucumbers and pour over any accumulated liquid. Cover and let sit at room temperature to ferment for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes, and then serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The cucumbers can be left at room temperature to ferment for up to 2 days. Chill before serving. The kimchi will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.

The kimchi will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.


Rate or Review


  • User avater
    chinamoon | 07/22/2017

    I liked this a lot. It is not very spicy but added nicely to the other dishes in the full Korean BBQ menu.

  • User avater
    TheMomChef | 07/23/2013

    Delicious. Spicy, but very tasty. I did miss the zip from salt or vinegar, but the flavors with the cucumber are fantastic. You can read my full review at Taking On Magazines: http://bit.ly/16WPMRd

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