Spicy Korean cucumber salad is crunchy and refreshing with spicy, savory, salty, tangy, and a touch of sweet taste. This easy-to-make salad has English cucumbers tossed in spicy gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) soy sauce dressing.
Why I love this salad
- It’s fast and easy salad.
- Quick pickling of cucumbers allows to draw out some of the liquid from cucumber, thus this salad stays crisp and crunchy.
- The salad is packed with umami flavors with a wonderful balance of spicy, savory, salty, tangy, and a touch of sweetness taste.
- It’s a great side dish for Korean BBQ.
- It’s versatile, you can easily make it spicy as you want by adjusting the quantity of gochugaru, or make it sweet by adding more sugar.
- This restaurant’s favorite side dish can be easily made at home using a few ingredients.
- Meaty thick cucumber tossed in spicy soy sauce gochugaru dressing has bright, crisp, tangy flavors with a touch of sweetness.
Korean cucumber salad
The Korean name for this salad is Oi Muchim(오이무침). It’s a staple side dish in Korean cuisine especially with Korean BBQ. Utilize the best summer cucumbers in salads like smashed cucumber salad, creamy cucumber s,alad and Korean cucumber salad.
The cool taste of cucumber with spicy flavor-packed soy sauce gochugaru dressing is very addictive. This salad might make you sweat but you can’t stop eating, it’s a heavenly combination!
If you are looking for an easy make-ahead salad, Oi Muchim is the best salad. It can be stored in airtight container and it will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Here’s what you need-
- English cucumber
- Sea salt
- Regular soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Green onion
- Sesame seeds
All ingredients exact measurements are mentioned in recipe card below.
- Cucumber – for best results use seedless English cucumbers. You can also use Persian cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, or Korean cucumbers. Cocktail cucumbers can also be used.
- Garlic – use fresh minced garlic. If you love garlic, use more garlic in the salad.
- Soy sauce – use regular soy sauce, not the light or dark version.
- Rice vinegar – vinegar adds bright, crisp flavors to the salad giving it a tangy taste.
- Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) – gochugaru is Korean version of red pepper flakes. It’s not the same as regular red chili flakes. It has spicy, slightly sweet and earthy flavor, makes the dish vibrant red.
- Sesame oil – for toasty flavor.
- Green onion – for freshness and garnish.
- Sugar – to balance some of the heat from gochugaru.
- Sesame seeds – for garnish
How to make Korean cucumber salad
Cut cucumbers into ½ inch thick rounds. Salt cucumbers with sea salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, gochugaru, and sesame seeds.
Drain excess liquid from the cucumber. Rinse it well to get rid of salt and drain completely.
Note: even after salting, cucumbers will release liquid over time. If storing the salad, remember there is going to be some liquid left at the bottom even if you salted the cucumber before making the salad.
Add minced garlic, green onion, and dressing to the cucumbers. Toss it gently.
Just before serving add more green onion, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour to serve chilled.
- For best results use seedless English or Persian cucumbers.
- Salting cucumber is a crucial step to draw out excess liquid from cucumbers so you have a crunchy salad.
- Mixing the salad dressing separately and then adding it to the salad makes it easier to toss cucumbers in dressing.
- Want more flavor in the cucumber; slice it thin so the flavors from the dressing penetrated the cucumbers. For a meaty bite, cut cucumbers into thick rounds.
You can use any type of cucumber that is seedless and has thin skin. Cucumbers like English cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, and Kirby cucumbers all work.
No Gochugaru is a unique kind of red chili flake very common ingredient in Korean cuisine. Korean red pepper flakes have a deep red color with a more fruity, slightly sweet, and earthy flavor. Substituting Gochugaru with regular red pepper flakes will make not give the salad the same flavor and color. However, you can still go ahead and use regular red pepper flakes if you can’t get gochugaru. Adjust the amount of red chili flakes to use depending on the spice levels.
You can get it easily in any Asian store. It’s also easily available on Amazon.
This salad can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator . It’ll keep good for 3 days.
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📋Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- 3 small English cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Gochugaru
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 green onion
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Cut cucumbers into ½-inch thick rounds. Salt cucumbers with sea salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, gochugaru, and sesame seeds.
- Drain excess liquid from the cucumber. Rinse it well to get rid of salt and drain completely.Note: even after salting, cucumbers will release liquid over time. If storing the salad, remember there is going to be some liquid left at the bottom even if you salted the cucumber before making the salad.
- Add minced garlic, green onion, and dressing to cucumbers. Toss it gently.
- Just before serving add more green onion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour to serve chilled.
- For best results use seedless English or Persian cucumbers.
- Salting cucumbers is a crucial step to draw out excess liquid from cucumbers so you have a crunchy salad.
- Mixing the salad dressing separately and then adding it to the salad makes it easier to toss cucumber in the dressing.
- Want more flavor in the cucumber; slice it thin so the flavors from the dressing penetrated the cucumber. For a meaty bite, cut the cucumber into thick rounds.
Created by Jyothi Rajesh
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I’m Jyothi Rajesh (Jo for short) and i’m the founder of the food blog, Curry Trail where I share my culinary Adventures. I live in Bangalore, India. I’m a mom of two beautiful kids. My passion is creating and sharing delicious and easy recipes for the home cook. I have been blogging since 2007 and many of my recipes have appeared in both online and print publications over the years. Learn more about Jyothi Rajesh.
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