Instant Cucumber Kimchi

Technically, this Instant Cucumber Kimchi probably doesn’t count as kimchi as kimchi, Korea’s national dish, requires time to ferment. This often takes months ore years but this cucumber kimchi is great when you have a kimchi craving but haven’t had the foresight to have a jar of it fermenting in the fridge. Unlike the other kimchi recipes that you can find in the “Korean” category to the right, this one is totally vegan. If you’re up for trying the grown-up, fermented versions but would still prefer to keep them vegan, just replace the fish sauce with additional light soy ┬ásauce.

Traditional Korean meals usually have a main dish, usually with meal, served with lots of side dishes, or banchan. Soup is commonly served as one of these banchan, rice too and always kimchi. So if you’re planning on trying a few Korean dishes for friends but don’t have the time for the fermented kimchi, this cucumber kimchi is ideal. Though when Koreans make classic kimchi, or Chinese cabbage kimchi, they do eat the unfermented leftovers. This is called geotjeori so maybe this recipe should be called Cucumber Geotjeori instead? Doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Instant Cucumber Kimchi


  • 1 large cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
  • 2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
  • 2 tsp sugar, preferably brown
  • 2.5 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds


  1. Add the cucumber and salt to a bowl, mix it up really well and set it aside for 30 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the garlic, gochugaru, sugar, vinegar and oil.
  3. After 30 minutes, drain off any excess water that has leached from the cucumber, add the cucumber to the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  4. Put the bowl into the fridge for at least half an hour or until chilled.
  5. In the meantime, toast your sesame seeds by adding them to a dry frying pan and cooking them on high for a couple of minutes until the are just starting to brown.
  6. Once the cucumber has chilled, decant into a serving bowl, scatter over the toasted sesame seeds and serve.
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