Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim) is a crunchy, refreshing side dish perfect for any meal. This quick, 10-minute recipe features a sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy sauce with a hint of gochujang, making it an ideal summer side dish.

Spicy Korean cucumber salad, or oi muchim, served  in a bowl.

“Great salad! I used a regular cucumber and it was delicious. The recipe says it lasts five days in the fridge, but we ate it in one sitting!”

BrushJL

In the summer, when cucumbers are plentiful, I love making a crunchy Korean cucumber salad called oi muchim (오이무침). It’s a popular side dish (banchan) for Korean meals, or really any meal.

The salad is super quick to make, taking just 10 minutes. It’s refreshingly crunchy with a mix of savory, tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy flavors.

Crispy and crunch Korean cucumber salad recipe (Oi Muchim) with gochujang.

This recipe uses thinly sliced cucumbers tossed in a delicious dressing. The dressing is made from soy sauce, vinegar, Korean chili flakes, sugar, garlic, and green onions.

To enhance the flavor, I add a bit of gochujang, a Korean chili paste to the salad. This gives the salad a deeper umami taste with a little heat. Try my recipe for a fresh take on the classic Korean cucumber dish! You’re going to love it!

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for Korean cucumber salad or cucumber side dish.
  • Cucumber: The best option would be a thin-skinned variety with a mild, slightly sweet taste. The recipe is good for 1 medium-length English cucumber.
    • If you only have the waxy American cucumber available, you should peel off its skin. The thick and fibrous skin.
  • Onion and Garlic: savory addition to the salad
  • Gochujang and gochugaru: These Korean chili paste and chili flakes add spicy heat and Korean flavor to the dish
  • Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang): seasons the salad and brings umami taste. If not available, substitute with small amount of salt.
  • Vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds: for the dressing to bring tangy and nutty taste to the salad.
    • Most people commonly use rice vinegar, but if it’s not available, white vinegar makes a good substitute.

How to make Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Step 1: Salt the cucumber

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the thinly sliced cucumber and toss to coat. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes until the salt draws out the excess moisture. Drain the cucumber slices to remove the liquid as much as you can.

Doing so maintains the cucumbers’ crispness and prevents the seasoning from diluting once the salad is tossed.

Step 2: Toss with the dressing ingredients

  • Add the thinly sliced onion, Korean chili flakes, Korean chili paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, Korean soup soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds.
  • Using your fingers and thumb, rub the Korean chili paste to loosen up and mingle with other seasoning ingredients.
  • Start tossing the cucumber all together until cucumber slices are well coated with the seasoning. Taste and add more salt if needed

Traditional Tossing Technique

The age-old Korean technique of tossing vegetable salads by hand, called muchim, is used to create a variety of flavorful side dishes. This traditional technique is showcased in this simple Korean cucumber salad recipe, as well as in other dishes such as Korean spinach and bean sprout side dish.

Spicy cucumber salad (Oi-muchim) served with rice as Korean cucumber side dish.

What to serve with Korean cucumber salad

Oi Muchim pairs well with various dishes. Perfect with Korean barbecue like Bulgogi and Galbi, it also complements Bibimbap and Japchae, a stir-fried glass noodle dish.

This versatile salad can enhance grilled meats (such as samgyupsal), grilled fish, chicken, and makes a refreshing addition to any picnic or barbecue.

Storing

Serve this spicy cucumber salad immediately, or chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can store this Korean cucumber side dish in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Please note that even after salting the cucumbers, they may release more liquid over time, which is normal. However, this doesn’t affect the brightness of the flavors. In fact, the salad may become even more flavorful and delicious the next day!

Korean cucumber salad (oi-muchim) made with gocujang dressing.

This recipe was originally posted in June 2010. I’ve updated the recipe with a few changes, new photos, and more information.

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Korean cucumber salad (oi-muchim) made with gocujang dressing.

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim) is a crunchy, refreshing side dish perfect for any meal. This quick, 10-minute recipe features a sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy sauce with a hint of gochujang.
5 from 7 ratings

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Slice cucumbers into thin slices. around 1/8-inch, and put them in a bowl. Toss the cucumber slices with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes. When you see some water being extracted from the cucumber, drain the water off.
  • Add the thinly sliced onion, Korean chili flakes, Korean chili paste, vinegar, garlic, Korean soup soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds.
  • Using your fingers and thumb, rub the Korean chili paste to loosen up and mingle with other seasoning ingredients and start tossing the cucumber all together until cucumber slices are well coated with the seasoning. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  • Serve this cucumber salad right away or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This cucumber salad should always be stored in the fridge up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Please note that even after salting the cucumbers, they may release more liquid over time, which is normal. However, this doesn’t affect the brightness of the flavors. In fact, the salad may become even more flavorful and delicious the next day!
Calories: 57kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 784mg, Potassium: 181mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 676IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg
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