Cuke-Chi: Traditions, Updated

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb Kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 “ spears
  • 2 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 gochugaru (Koren chile powder)
  • 1 1/2 TBS thinly sliced peeled ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 carrot, cut into 2” matchsticks
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
  • optional brine for fermentation, 1 TBS sea salt dissolved in 1 pint non-chlorinated water


This recipe can be treated in different ways to create entirely different flavors. It's crisp, salty, spicy and delicious, just prepared fresh and left in the fridge to chill before serving. Or, to add probiotic benefit and the unmistakable tang of fermentation, set an airlock on top of a mason jar, and allow it to ferment for 3-5 days before enjoying. 

*Note: Because this pickle contains sugar, a traditional kimchi ingredient, it will ferment faster than a cucumber pickle would generally do. Don't leave it for too long!


1) Sweat cucumbers with salt and sugar

Toss the cucumbers with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, until the cucumbers have given up some of their juice and softened slightly.
salted cucumbers

2) Mix seasonings with cucumbers

Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt with the gouchugaru, ginger, garlic, scallions, onions, and soy sauce.
Toss well and let it sit for 15 minutes.
kimchi spices

3) Serve, store, or ferment

At this point, you can serve the pickles chilled or at room temperature. Cucumber kimchi will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
cuke chi

4) Fermentation is an Option!

If you like, this pickle can also be fermented for a short time. Because it contains sugar, it will bubble away faster than you may be used to.

Place the mixture in a pint and a half mason jar and cover the veggie spice mix with a 5% salt brine. You will need to mix up about 1 pint of brine (1 heaping tablespoon of sea salt to 1 pint non-chlorinated water). Leave 1/2" headspace. Screw on a jar-top-fermenter like this Pickle Pipe and ferment. 

Taste it after a couple of days, and every day thereafter, to determine the most delicious time to eat it. Usually 3-5 days does the trick nicely; too much longer and it gets soggy.

fermented cuke-chi

Over to You

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.