Savoury Probiotics: Cucmuber Kimchi

 Enough said about Kimchi. This is a serious post about how to make it!

We’ve already posted a recipe for an unfermented kimchi-like lettuce Sangchu-Geotjeori

Kimchi proper uses bacterial fermentation from lacto-bacilli to release lactic acid, glutamate and other products. This preserves the food, increases its deliciousness and provides health benefits such as supporting healthy gut function.

Making kimchi is a three-step process:

  1. Vegetables are first washed and salted. This extracts water for extra crispness. More importantly it kills off harmful bacteria, giving our salt-resistant  lactobacili a head start.
  2. The salt rinsed off, a paste of ginger, garlic, Korean red chilli and other condiments is massaged into the vegetables. Rice gruel (see below) and the addition of sugars feed the bacteria to increase fermentation. This step is optional as the vegetables contain plentiful natural sugars.
  3. Finally, the Kimchi is allowed to ferment at different temperatures for varying amounts of time.

Rice Gruel

A thin porridge of glutinous rice flour is sometimes added to the kimchi paste. This

  • helps the paste adhere to the veg rather than run off to the bottom
  • provides extra carbohydrate for fermentation


Strict hygiene helps prevent your kimchi going off and smelling – and tasting –  like wet laundry. Thoroughly wash all surfaces, containers and utensils which your kimchi will come into contact with.

Always store your kimchi in sterilized containers. [sg_popup id=”20″ event=”click”]Click here for a quick guide.[/sg_popup]


The time allowed for fermentation depends on several factors, including the type of vegetable used. Some kimchis benefit from long, slow fermentation to develop depth and complexity. We will advise on temperature and duration for different kimchis according to our own experience and research.

Cucumber kimchi is good to eat right away, allowed to ferment only lightly and best consumed within week.

Korean Cucumber Kimchi

Cucumber Kimchi

Prep Time 20 mins
Cuisine Korean, oriental


  • medium coarse sea salt
  • 8 small cucumbers

Kimchi paste

  • 1 heaped tablespoon Korean chilli-flakes or Mexican Guajillo or Kashmiri
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger root
  • 3-4 cloves of` garlic
  • 2 carrots peeled, topped, tailed and finely julienned into matchsticks
  • 1 daikon or mooli (Asian radish) or 1 large white turnip, peeled
  • 2-3 scallions or Asian chives

Rice Gruel (optional)

  • 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour millet and corn also work well
  • 1/2 tea-cup water

Seasoning And Other Condiments

  • light soy sauce to taste
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar, honey or other sweeteners such as rice or agave syrup (optional)
  • 1 level tablespoonful sweet white miso or the left over juice from your previous kimchi (optional)


Salt The Cucumbers

  • Wash the cucumbers. With a sharp knife make two cuts lengthways keeping the base of each cucumber intact
  • Rub the cucumbers with salt outside and in. Rest for 2-3 hours
  • Discard the water extracted by the salting process and wash away most of the salt

Meanwhile Make The Rice Gruel

  • Mix the flour and water until smooth, put in a small saucepan and cook until thickened. The gruel should be fairly thin. Allow to cool.

Prepare The Kimchi Paste

  • In a blender, chopper or mortar and pestle work the garlic and ginger into a paste. Add the chilli, soy sauce, sweetener and optional miso or juice from the previous kimchi, then mix in the rice gruel.
  • Toss the vegetable matchsticks and scallions / chives into the kimchi paste , coating well
  • Stuff the cucumbers generously with the paste and place in a clean, dry tapaware box or a sterilized jar
    Korean Cucumber Kimchi

Allow To Ferment

  • Rest the kimchi overnight in a cool room (10-14o C) then keep in the fridge for up to a week.


Cucumber Kimchi is a delicious accompaniment to any meal


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