Korean cucumber salad (oi muchim) is a delicious side dish that is super simple to make! It goes really well with a variety of main dishes and is perfect for adding some extra vegetables and flavor to your meal.
This Korean cucumber salad is one of my go-to side salads whenever I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It perfectly complements simple main dishes like teriyaki salmon or gochujang chicken wings that can be served with fluffy white rice to turn them into a full meal.
Another great thing is that this spicy cucumber salad can be prepared with ingredients that can easily be stored in your pantry for future use. You can use them to make Korean dakgalbi (my favorite Korean dish!) or tasty chili oil noodles.
This is one of those recipes that you definitely want to save as it is incredibly delicious and super easy to make with very simple ingredients.
Korean Cucumber Salad Ingredients
To make this Korean cucumber salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Persian cucumbers: I love to use Persian cucumbers to make this cucumber salad. They are super crispy and delicious. But other types of cucumber work, too! If you decide to use English cucumbers, I recommend cutting them in half and then into slices.
- Green onion: Green onions are great for adding extra flavor! If you don’t have green onions on hand, feel free to use white onions or yellow onions.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients for the sauce. Just use your favorite brand to make this Korean cucumber salad.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil is another important ingredient. I prefer lighter sesame oil as it doesn’t taste as intense. But dark sesame oil works just as great if that’s what you like most!
- Gochugaru: Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) is another key ingredient in this recipe. Make sure to not substitute them with other chili flakes as they taste different. And please make sure to check the package for the heat level as they can range from mild to very spicy.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is great for adding some acidity to your cucumber salad so I’d recommend using it.
- Sugar: Sugar balances the acidity of the cucumber salad. So I’d recommend using it! You can substitute the sugar with another sweetener like brown sugar or honey.
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are great for adding texture and are a must in this recipe. So please don’t skip them!
- Garlic (optional): Garlic tastes really great in this salad and I’d definitely recommend using some. But if you don’t like garlic, then feel free to make this Korean cucumber salad without it.
How to make Korean cucumber salad
Here is how you make this simple Korean cucumber salad.
- Prepare the sauce: Add the gochugaru, sugar, sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to a large mixing bowl. Then stir until everything is combined.
- Combine: Next, add the sliced cucumbers, sliced green onion, and minced garlic. Toss until everything is covered in sauce.
- Serve: Serve immediately with your main dish of choice. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Although this cucumber salad is super easy to make, I’d recommend reading through the following notes to ensure that everything turns out perfectly.
- Serve the Korean cucumber salad immediately. If you let it sit, it will become watery due to the salt that’s added. The cucumbers will also be softer and less crunchy. So keep this in mind when you try this recipe.
- For less water and softer cucumbers, add some salt and wait 10 minutes to remove the cucumbers’ water. Then drain the water and rinse the cucumbers. I usually skip this step since I always eat the cucumber salad immediately and prefer the cucumbers crunchy. But if you have some extra time you can definitely do this before proceeding with the recipe as described.
- Use mild gochugaru if you don’t like a lot of spice. I don’t mind some extra heat but if you don’t like it, then make sure to check the gochugaru’s package to find out how spicy it is. If the heat level is not indicated, you may want to start with less gochugaru and then add more as needed.
There are different ways to make Korean cucumber salad. Here are some extra ingredients that you can add if you want.
- Gochujang: Gochujang (Korean red chili paste) can be used in addition to gochugaru. Just use less gochugaru and some extra gochujang to taste. It is super delicious and easy to find in most Asian grocery stores.
- Onions: In addition to green onions, you can add other types of onions. White onions or yellow onions taste great in this spicy cucumber salad!
Frequently Asked Questions
It really depends on the gochugaru you use. I’d say that it’s a little spicy but not super hot. It should be enjoyable for most people who like foods that are slightly spicy.
Yes, you can! Just use tamari instead of regular soy sauce, make sure that the rice vinegar you use is gluten-free, and use gluten-free gochujang if you decide to add it.
I like to enjoy this cucumber salad with rice and some type of protein. I personally love gochujang chicken wings, teriyaki chicken, honey sriracha salmon, and silken tofu. I’d recommend checking these recipes out as they taste really great and are very easy to prepare!
I’d recommend making only as much as you plan to eat. If you want to make a few extra servings that you can store, remove the cucumbers’ liquid with some salt (see tips & notes). You can store the cucumber salad in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a few days.
More quick and delicious side dishes
If you love side dishes that can be prepared without much effort I’d recommend checking out the following recipes.
Simple and tasty Asian dinner recipes
If you want to try more Asian recipes, make sure to check out the following posts. The recipes are super easy to make and taste amazing!
- Chicken Yaki Udon
- Korean Dakgalbi
- Ground Beef Stir Fry Noodles
- Korean-Style Spicy Noodles
- Japanese Beef Curry
Korean Cucumber Salad
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) mild or hot
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 Persian cucumbers cut into slices
- 1 green onion cut into slices
- 1 garlic clove (optional) minced
- Add the gochugaru, sugar, sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to a large mixing bowl. Then stir until everything is combined.
- Add the cucumbers, green onion, and garlic to the bowl. Then toss until the cucumbers are covered in sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!