This spicy Korean cucumber salad has a refreshing crunch in every bite, coated with a delicious sauce that’s garlicky, savory, and tangy with a touch of sweetness. This quick & easy side dish comes together in a single bowl and makes for the perfect dish to add to your dinner table.
What is Korean Cucumber Salad?
Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim/오이무침) is a banchan (side dish) staple in Korean cuisine that is especially popular during the summer months.
Its popularity spans across the world and is now one of the most commonly found side dishes in Korean restaurants, especially in a Korean BBQ setting.
Oi Muchim, which translates to “seasoned cucumber” in Korean, is light and refreshing, yet loaded with a burst of flavor that is the perfect balance of spicy, savory, tangy, and slightly sweet, that is truly appetizing to have as an accompaniment to any main dish.
With respect to its name, this Korean cucumber side dish is just as quick & easy as preparing a salad or if not easier, and the result is absolutely remarkable despite the concise list of ingredients.
It’s truly amazing how at times a few simple and humble ingredients are all you need to create such perfect harmony of flavors, and this dish is the epitome of just that.
With a handful of simple pantry ingredients and fresh cucumber, you can easily make your own spicy cucumber salad in the comfort of your home, and I guarantee you will be hooked at the first bite!
What do I need to make Korean Cucumber Salad?
This spicy cucumber salad, despite its rich and bold flavors, only calls for a handful of simple ingredients to put together. Here is a list of ingredients you will need:
- Cucumber of choice: this recipe is based on the measurements of one medium-sized English cucumber, but you can use any cucumber that you have at your local market, and portion it to your needs.
- If you want the best possible results, you can aim for seedless/low-seed varieties such as Kirby, English, Persian, or Korean, or Japanese cucumbers that are ideal for pickling.
- If your cucumber has a lot of seeds, you may prefer removing them as they can make the salad very watery, or draining out excess liquid with salt as demonstrated in the recipe notes.
- This same step can be applied when making this dish in advance, to ensure that the cucumber stays crunchy over a long period of time.
- Onion, green onion + garlic: for the aromatics and the extra crunch.
- To reduce the bitterness of the onion, you can soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes before adding them to the salad.
- Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes), toasted sesame seeds + salt: for the dressing.
- I personally like the taste of rice vinegar in salads, but you can also opt for regular white vinegar if that’s all you have at hand.
And that’s it! All the ingredients you’ll need to make to make your own fresh batch of Korean cucumber salad.
Can you make Korean Cucumber Salad in advance?
If you’re looking for an easy make-ahead side dish, Oi Muchim is a great option as they store incredibly well over time.
The best way to prepare this dish in advance is to take the preliminary step in draining the extra moisture from the cucumber by sprinkling some salt all over and setting them aside for 10-15 minutes, rinsing with water, and squeezing out any excess water before mixing in the marinade.
This will ensure that the cucumbers will remain crunchy over time, and stored in an airtight container, it will last for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
Please keep in mind that even with the salting process, the cucumbers will release some more liquid over time, but this is perfectly normal. The flavors will be just as bright, if not more flavorful and delicious on the next day!
The versatile and sustainable elements of this dish make it to be the ideal dish for any time of the day – for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a late-night snack.
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as it is easily one of my favorite side dishes of all time! Please leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any questions. Happy cooking!
Other easy Korean recipes you may like:
- Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)
- 5-Minute Silken Tofu
- Korean Marinated Eggs (Mayak Eggs)
- Korean Braised Potatoes (Gamja Jorim)
- Easy Dubu Jorim (Korean Braised Tofu)
Easy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- 1 (260g) English cucumber or 3 small cucumbers
- 1/4 onion sliced
- 1 green onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- Thinly slice the cucumber to about 1/4 inch thickness. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the sliced cucumbers to a large mixing bowl. Add onion, green onion, garlic, and dressing over the cucumbers.
- Toss well with your hands or a pair of tongs until the cucumbers are evenly coated, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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