This Korean Cucumber Salad (oi muchim) recipe is so delicious! Spicy, crunchy, and full of flavor it is an Asian Cucumber Salad made with gochugaru, which is Korean red pepper flakes. It's quick to make and comes together in just a few minutes. Perfect to serve when entertaining, or great as a side or I love it as a snack!
This salad is light and refreshing and delicious year round, and we make it more often during the warmer months.
This would go great as a side to our Asian Chopped Salad Chicken Wrap or even our Gluten Free Orange Chicken. We love to serve it when we're having fried rice, bibimbap, Korean bbq or bulgogi.
Why I Love This Recipe
I love having a healthy way to eat cucumbers if I'm sick of eating them plain. The first time I took a bite of this I was floored at the flavors and textures. It's spicy, tangy with a hint of sweetness and the cucumbers are perfectly crunchy. I love how easy it is to make and how I can throw it together quickly for a side. I love how other people like it too and it's a more unique side to serve.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy - this recipe is SO quick and SO easy, it comes together in just 5 minutes. Just chop some cucumber, measure and mix together the other ingredients and combine and it's ready to go! No cooking here!
- Great for Entertaining - follow our make ahead directions for maximum cucumber crunch, and this is a recipe great for gathering. Everyone loves it and it's something more unique yet fresh, healthy and delicious.
- Fresh and Healthy - this salad is fresh, refreshing, healthy and tastes amazing. You'll feel great after eating this!
- Allergy Friendly - it is naturally gluten free, dairy free and top 8 free, making it the perfect side dish for those with common allergies.
Korean Cucumber Salad is very quick and easy to make and only takes a few short minutes until it's ready to enjoy.
The flavor is spicy, tangy, slightly smoky and slightly sweet. It's a little crisp and and absolutely delicious with the light sauce and sesame seeds.
- cucumbers - cucumbers are the highlight of this dish! They are light and refreshing and add the perfect crispness. I used an English cucumber. We recommend using any long, thin cucumber. Other types of cucumber also work great, just make sure they are a variety without a lot of seeds or they will get mushy.
- soy sauce - soy sauce it used to add a little flavor and saltiness.
- rice vinegar - the rice vinegar adds the tanginess and is the main liquid for this sauce.
- gochugaru - the star of the show and adds the spice! It also adds a hint of smokiness and a slight hint of sweetness. There isn't a great substitution for gochugaru, but see the "substitution" section below for some ideas
- sugar - just a touch of sugar, gives it that added sweetness for that spicy/ slightly sweet flavor and really accents the other ingredients.
- minced garlic - the minced garlic adds a lot of flavor and pulls it all together for the perfect taste.
- green onions - for garnishing and add a little flavor and texture.
- sesame seeds - the sesame seeds also add a finishing flavor and texture wrapping it all up into one delicious dish.
See recipe card for quantities.
1. Slice cucumbers into ⅛" slices. If making the "make ahead" version, place cucumbers in a sieve. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over top and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water then blot off the water with a tea towel or similar.
2. Pour the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and minced garlic over the sliced cucumbers in a bowl. OR place in a small, separate bowl.
3. Pour the gochugaru over top and mix until well combined. OR add the gochugaru to the small bowl of spices and whisk together to combine. Then pour over the cucumbers and toss to combine.
4. Sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds over the top and serve!
Hint: If you're in a hurry, you don't have to mix the ingredients together in a bowl first. You can simply measure them over the cucumber and give it a good stir.
- Cucumbers - you can use any type of cucumber desired, you just want about 250 - 300g of cucumber. You can use Persian, cucumber, pickling and more!
- Gochugaru - There isn't a good substitute for gochugaru, but you can use red pepper flakes instead. It isn't a great subsitute and you'll need a lot less. Start with ½ teaspoon then add to taste. While not a great substitute, it will still taste delicious. You can also try mixing some cayenne pepper with smoked paprika for a similar taste.
- Coconut Aminos - you can absolutely use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce for this recipe, but you might find you need to add a pinch of salt.
- Garlic Powder - we highly recommend minced garlic or fresh, but if you can use garlic powder in a pinch. Use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Black Sesame Seeds - use black sesame seeds instead of white for a stronger sesame taste and a few more antioxidants.
- Scallions - substitute scallions for green onions at a 1:1 ratio, if desired.
- Extra Spicy - add another ½ Tablespoon gochugaru powder or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for a spicier version.
- Sugar Free - make this sugar free by skipping the sugar. You'll miss that hint of sweetness that goes in its flavor profile, but it is still delicious.
- Kid friendly - reduce the gochugaru to 1 teaspoon to make it more kid friendly. My kid who is most sensitive to heat said that it's really spicy (without the suggested kid changes) but worth it because it tasted so good!
You need very little equipment to make this recipe! All you need is a serving bowl, some measuring spoons to measure, and a fork to stir it with. I even like to mix mine together in the serving bowl to create less dirty dishes.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We recommend eating this fresh, but if storing or serving later, we recommend following our "make ahead" directions to keep the cucumbers from getting mushy.
Use the "make ahead" directions to draw the water out of the cucumbers if not serving immediately. This will help keep the cucumbers crisp and from getting mushy.
Thinly chop cucumber. Mix together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic and gochugaru together in a bowl. Pour on top of the cucumber and mix until well coated. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
It lasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We highly recommend using salt to draw out the moisture in the cucumbers before making if not serving immediately. This will prevent the cucumbers from becoming mushy.
Oi Muchim will usually last about 3 days in the refrigerator. Re-mix all the ingredients together if they've separated at all before serving. If not eating Oi Muchim immediately, we recommend using salt to pull out the moisture from the cucumbers before making.
Other Light Dishes
Looking for a light fresh dish? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with this:
Korean Cucumber Salad
- 1 English cucumber about 300g,
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce I used low sodium
- 1 Tablespoon gochugaru korean red pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Slice cucumber into ⅛"-¼" slices.
- Mix together rice vinegar, soy sauce, gochugaru, sugar and minced garlic together in a small bowl. Pour over the cucumber and combine well. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve.
To Make Ahead:
- After slicing the cucumber, place in sieve or strainer and pour 1 teaspoon salt over top and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water, then squeeze out any excess water. Finish the recipe as directed. This will keep the cucumbers crunchy.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Mix it around before eating.
- It is not recommended to freeze this recipe
Korean Cucumber Salad is my new favorite way to eat cucumbers. It's light, fresh, spicy and so yummy! Love Love LOVE the gochugaru