Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 31/05/2022 Updated: 30/11/2023
Prep 35 minutes
Total 35 minutes
Level up your Korean dinner with this tangy, sweet, and spicy Korean cucumber salad side dish. This quick and easy spicy cucumber salad has rich bold flavors and the most satisfying crunch.
Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Level up your Korean dinner with this tangy, sweet, and spicy Korean cucumber salad side dish. This quick and easy spicy cucumber salad has rich bold flavors and the most satisfying crunch.

A bowl of Korean cucumber salad with table settings nearby.

My favorite part of Korean cuisine is the plethora of side dishes served with every meal. The abundance of food on the table always brings a smile to my face and a mini happy dance. The one banchan that I look forward to the most is Korean cucumber salad.

Nothing beats the invigorating flavor of the quick-pickled cucumbers coated in a tangy, garlicky, sweet, and spicy dressing. It instantly elevates any meal with the first crunchy bite.

Korean cucumber banchan is the best pairing for Korean cuisine because it immediately brightens and enhances the rich savory flavors. You can pair this Korean cucumber salad with some kimchi fried rice, Korean tofu soup, or Korean army stew!

Looking down at a bowl of Korean cucumber salad.

What is Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim/오이무침)?

Korean cucumber salad or (Oi Muchim/오이무침) is a popular side dish (banchan) in Korean cuisine. You can find this popular Korean cucumber banchan in many Korean restaurants all across the world. It is a delicious side dish that can be a quick kimchi substitute.

Oi Muchum, which roughly translates to “cucumber mixed with seasonings” is made with Korean spicy red pepper flakes (Gochugaru), rice vinegar, garlic, sugar, green onion, and sesame oil.

A slice of cucumber from a Korean cucumber salad being lifted by a pair of gold chopsticks.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This is a quick and easy recipe for the most delicious spicy cucumber salad which includes step-by-step instructions with photos to help you along the way.
  • Korean cucumber side dish has a delicious crunch with a vibrant, sweet, and spicy flavor.
  • You can eat this Korean cucumber banchan as a side dish with your favorite Korean dinner like sundubu-jjigae (Korean tofu soup)

Kitchen Equipment

As promised, this is an easy Korean cucumber salad recipe. Easy means no complicated kitchen equipment!

  • Colander: you will need a colander when you salt the cucumber to draw out the excess moisture.
  • Mixing bowl: you will need a mixing bowl to mix all the ingredients together.

Ingredients

This spicy cucumber salad only requires a few Asian pantry essential ingredients. You can find these ingredients at your local Asian grocery market or online!

  • Cucumber: the best cucumbers to use are the ones with thin skins, less moisture, and minimal seeds such as Korean cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, or English cucumbers.
  • Salt: is needed to draw out the extra moisture in the cucumbers and it also aids in bringing out the flavor of the cucumbers too.
  • Green Onion: used as an aromatic
  • Garlic: adds a rich garlic aromatic flavor
  • Gochugaru: or Korean red chili flakes is the key ingredient for this “spicy” cucumber salad. Gochugaru is a very popular ingredient in Korean cuisine and is slightly sweet, earthy, and not overly spicy. I do not recommend substituting it with any other chili flakes.
  • Granulated Sugar: sweetens the Korean cucumber banchan and balances out the tangy and spicy ingredients.
  • Soy Sauce: adds a hint of umami flavor
  • Rice Vinegar: is the main pickling agent for this quick pickled Korean cucumber side dish. Rice vinegar has a lightly sweet and vibrant vinegar flavor.
  • Sesame Oil: sesame oil adds a delicious nutty sesame flavor that adds umami to the spicy cucumber salad.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds: for an added garnish and nutty sesame flavor. Make sure you use toasted sesame seeds for the best-tasting flavor.
All the ingredients to make Korean cucumber salad.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Vinegar: if you do not have rice vinegar, regular white vinegar works just as well. It is slightly more acidic and less sweet than rice vinegar, so you may need to adjust the sugar to taste.

How to Make Korean Cucumber Salad

This Korean cucumber side dish is probably the easiest and most satisfying banchan that you can make. All you need to do is drain the cucumbers and mix everything together.

  1. Prepare the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers and gently toss them with 1 teaspoon of salt to draw out the excess moisture. Place them in a colander over a mixing bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then pat dry.
Sliced cucumbers tossed with salt in a colander draining into a large bowl.
  1. Mix together. In a large bowl, mix the cucumbers with green onion, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Gochugaru, sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds until combined.
  1. Serve. This spicy cucumber salad is best served immediately. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Korean Cucumber Salad

  • Salt your cucumbers for at least 30 minutes! The longer you salt the cucumbers, the less liquid it’ll draw out later in your spicy cucumber salad. Remember to pat dry before adding the cucumbers to your spicy dressing.
  • If you want to prepare the Korean cucumber banchan in advance, I recommend salting the cucumbers for a minimum of 1 hour in the refrigerator so that they will remain crunchy for a few days.

Storage Instructions

Korean cucumber salad is best served immediately for the ultimate crunch and flavor. However, it can last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What types of cucumbers can I use for this Korean cucumber side dish?

For this Korean cucumber banchan, I recommend using any type of cucumber with a thin skin and minimal seeds such as Korean cucumbers, English cucumbers, Japanese, Kirby, or Persian cucumbers.

Cucumbers with more seeds and a thicker skin like slicing cucumbers will be overly watery and will dilute the flavor of the salad.

Why do I have to salt my cucumbers?

Salting the cucumbers will drain off the excess moisture and liquid from the cucumbers. This will result in an extra crunchy Korean cucumber side dish.

How long does spicy cucumber salad last in the fridge?

This Korean cucumber side dish can last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Note that as time passes the cucumbers will release more juice and dilute the flavor.

Did you make this Korean Cucumber Salad?

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Recipe

Up close of a bowl of Korean cucumber salad.

Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Level up your Korean dinner with this tangy, sweet, and spicy Korean cucumber salad side dish. This quick and easy spicy cucumber salad has rich bold flavors and the most satisfying crunch.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Cucumbers

  • 3 small cucumbers Persian or Korean
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Dressing

Instructions

  • Prepare the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers and gently toss them with 1 teaspoon of salt to draw out the excess moisture. Place them in a colander over a mixing bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then pat dry.
  • Mix the dressing. In a large bowl, mix the green onion, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Gochugaru, sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds until combined.
  • Toss together. Next, gently toss in the drained slices of cucumber until evenly coated and the sauce is absorbed for about 2 minutes.
  • Serve. This spicy cucumber salad is best served immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Salt your cucumbers for at least 30 minutes! The longer you salt the cucumbers, the less liquid it’ll draw out later in your spicy cucumber salad. Remember to pat dry before adding the cucumbers to your spicy dressing.
  • If you want to prepare the Korean cucumber banchan in advance, I recommend salting the cucumbers for a minimum of 1 hour in the refrigerator so that they will remain crunchy for a few days.

Nutrition:

Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 3011mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2823IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg

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