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Best Easy Korean Cucumber Salad: Oi Muchim recipe

The best Vegan Korean Cucumber salad recipe – Hello crunchy cucumber, spicy sweet chili sauce, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and spices. Your regular salad just got a major delicious overhaul with this delicious side dish.

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This might just be the best vegan Korean Cucumber salad ever. And I’m not just saying that. It’s something I hear over and over again every time I serve this spicy crunchy salad. This Korean cucumber side dish pretty much has it all. Imagine fresh juicy and crunchy cucumbers wrapped in a spicy chili dressing, and topped with crunchy roasted nuts, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs.

Say goodbye to the days of drab and dreary salads. This spicy Korean cucumber salad has come to take over as the new king of chopped salads. It’s one of the best low carb cucumber recipes ever! Full of flavor, loaded with spicy goodness that’s perfectly balanced by the cooling cucumbers and sweet dressing. Bring it to every potluck, or get-together, or just make it for your own family to enjoy as a super tasty hydrating spicy salad that everyone will adore.

Cucumbers are one of my favorite summer vegetables because they’re so fresh, cooling, and light. It’s like a shower for your soul…but cucumbers don’t really have that much flavor in themselves. It doesn’t take much to take cucumbers from ordinary to amazing spicy and fresh deliciousness. 

In this Korean Cucumber Salad recipe we’re covering 

Origins of Korean Cucumber Salad recipe 

The Korean Cucumber Salad recipe, known as “Oi Muchim” or “Oi Namul” in Korean cuisine, has roots in traditional Korean culinary traditions. It’s a classic side dish that has been enjoyed in Korean households for generations.

Korean cuisine, characterized by its use of various vegetables, spices, and fermentation techniques, often includes a wide range of banchan, which are small side dishes served alongside the main course. These side dishes, including cucumber salads, are an integral part of Korean dining culture.

Cucumbers and other fresh vegetables are often used in Korean cooking and can be traced back to the rich agricultural history of Korea. Cucumbers have long been grown in the region, and their inclusion in salads and side dishes is a reflection of the availability of these ingredients.

While the exact historical origins of the Korean Cucumber Salad recipe may not be documented, it’s safe to say that it has evolved over time, with variations and regional adaptations. Different households and regions in Korea may have their own unique ways of preparing and seasoning this refreshing dish.

In modern times, Korean Cucumber Salad has gained popularity internationally as part of the broader interest in Korean cuisine and its healthy and flavorful offerings. It’s a versatile dish found in Korean restaurants worldwide, and it continues to be a beloved side dish in Korean households.

Other names for Korean Cucumber Salad 

Korean Cucumber Salad is known by various names, depending on regional dialects and local variations. Here are some alternative names for Korean Cucumber Banchan Salad so you can always find this perfect side dish at your favorite Korean restaurant:

1. Oi Muchim: This is one of the most common names for Korean Cucumber Salad, and it’s often used to refer to the dish.

2. Oi Namul: Similar to Oi Muchim, this name is also widely used to describe cucumber salads in Korean cuisine.

3. Oi Bokkeum: “Bokkeum” means stir-fried or sautéed in Korean. While Korean Cucumber Salad is typically not stir-fried, this name might be used colloquially.

4. Oi Sobagi: This name is used specifically for a stuffed cucumber kimchi, where cucumbers are slit and filled with a mixture of seasonings.

5. Oi Muchae: In some regions or dialects, you may hear this variation of the name for cucumber salad.

6. Oi Namuru: A variation of the name that may be used in certain contexts or regions.

Remember that the specific name used can vary depending on the household or region in Korea, but the dish generally refers to a cucumber salad prepared with a flavorful dressing.

What sets Korean spicy cucumber salad apart from other cucumber salads 

Korean cucumber salad, known as “Oi Muchim” or “Oi Namul,” is distinct from other cucumber salads primarily due to its unique flavor profile and the use of specific Korean ingredients and seasonings. Here are some key characteristics that set Korean cucumber salad apart:

1. Flavor Profile: Korean cucumber salad offers a balance of flavors that includes sweet, savory, tangy, and umami notes. The dressing typically combines elements like sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and sweet chili sauce, creating a complex and well-rounded taste.

2. Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil is a fundamental ingredient in Korean cucumber salad, providing a nutty and aromatic flavor that distinguishes it from many Western-style cucumber salads.

3. Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is often a prominent component of the dressing, contributing a robust and pungent garlic flavor.

4. Korean Red Pepper Flakes (Optional): While not always included, Korean red pepper flakes, known as gochugaru, can add a subtle spiciness to the salad, that is not typically found in Western cucumber salads.

5. Korean Dates (Jujubes): In some variations, Korean cucumber salad may feature Korean dates, also known as jujubes, which provide a sweet contrast to the crisp cucumbers.

6. Serving Temperature: Korean cucumber salad is usually served cold. It’s a refreshing side dish, particularly in Korean barbecue or other warm-weather meals.

More things that sets simple Korean cucumber salad recipe apart

7. Use as a Banchan: In Korean cuisine, this salad is often categorized as a banchan, which refers to a variety of small side dishes served with rice and main courses. This differs from many Western cucumber salads, which are often standalone salads.

8. Texture: Korean cucumber salad typically maintains the crispness of the cucumbers, and the dressing enhances their flavor without causing them to become overly soft or mushy.

9. Cultural Context: Korean cucumber salad is deeply rooted in Korean culinary traditions. It’s a common side dish in Korean households. Cucumber salad is often served as part of a larger spread of banchan, contributing to the overall dining experience.

In summary, what sets Korean cucumber salad apart is its unique combination of flavors, the use of specific Korean ingredients like toasted sesame oil and garlic, and its role as a banchan in Korean cuisine. These distinctive elements create a salad that is both flavorful and culturally significant.

The secret to a delicious Korean spicy cucumber recipe: Tips and tricks 

The trick to making really come-back-for-seconds amazing cucumber salad all lies in the spices. We’re talking garlicky, savory, Asian spices that dance on your tongue. Use cold cucumbers for the very best and crispiest salad. I like to use cucumbers that have been stored in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

To make the best Korean Cucumber Salad, also known as “Oi Muchim” or “Oi Namul,” follow these easy recipe tips and tricks:

1. Choose the Right Cucumbers: Use thin-skinned cucumbers like Korean cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. These cucumbers are less watery and have a crisp texture, making them ideal for salads.

2. Salt for Crispiness: After slicing the cucumbers, sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for about 15-20 minutes. This helps draw out excess liquid and keeps the salad crisp.

3. Rinse and Squeeze: After the salting process, rinse the cucumbers thoroughly to remove excess salt. Then, gently squeeze them to remove any remaining moisture. This ensures the salad isn’t too salty and maintains a good texture.

4. Uniform Slicing: Slice the cucumbers uniformly to ensure consistent flavor and texture in every bite. You can use a mandoline or a sharp knife for this.

5. Garlic and Sesame Oil: Use fresh minced garlic and high-quality toasted sesame oil for an authentic and robust flavor. Adjust the amount of garlic to your preference.

6. Balancing Flavors: Achieve a balance of flavors by adjusting the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar to your taste. Start with a small amount and gradually add more, tasting as you go.

7. Chili Flakes (Optional): If you like a bit of heat, add Korean red chili flakes (gochugaru) for a subtle spicy kick. Adjust the amount of Korean chili flakes based on your spice tolerance.

More great tips to make the best crunchy Korean cucumber salad

8. Marinate for Flavor: Allow the cucumbers to marinate in the dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.

9. Chill Before Serving: Refrigerate the salad for a while before serving. It’s best when served cold and refreshing.

10. Garnish: Just before serving, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions or chives. This adds texture and freshness to the salad. For extra deliciousness you can add a sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro or basil.

11. Customize: Feel free to add other ingredients like julienned carrots, thinly sliced radishes, or even a touch of julienned Korean pear for extra flavor and texture.

12. Serve as a Side: Korean Cucumber Salad is great as a side dish (banchan) with other Korean dishes. It pairs well with grilled meats, rice, and Korean barbecue.

13. Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ingredients for the best results. Fresh cucumbers, good-quality sesame oil, and soy sauce make a noticeable difference.

Remember that Korean Cucumber Salad is versatile, and you can adjust the seasoning to suit your personal taste. Experiment and find the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that you enjoy the most.

What we’re working with to make the best Easy Korean Cucumber Salad 

Let’s start with the basics because this easy salad only requires very few ingredients for a maximum flavor impact. 

A typical Korean cucumber salad, often known as “Oi Muchim” or “Oi Namul,” features simple yet flavorful ingredients. Here are the typical ingredients in Korean cucumber salad:

1. Cucumbers: Korean cucumber salad uses thin-skinned cucumbers, often referred to as Korean or Persian cucumbers. These cucumbers are crisp and less watery than regular cucumbers, making them ideal for salads.

2. Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are minced or finely chopped. It gives the salad a strong, aromatic flavor.

3. Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil is a key ingredient that adds a nutty, rich flavor to the salad.

4. Soy Sauce: Use Light soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce to provide a savory, salty element to the dish.

5. Vinegar: Rice vinegar or white vinegar add a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the salad.

6. Sugar: Small amounts of sugar is added to balance the flavors and provide a touch of sweetness.

7. Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle Toasted sesame seeds on top of the salad for added texture, flavor, and visual appeal.

The extra ingredients that takes the spicy Korean cucumber salad recipe to the next level

8. Red Pepper Flakes (Gochugaru): Optionally, red pepper flakes can be added to provide some heat and a mild spiciness to the salad. The amount can be adjusted to suit your spice preference.

9. Green Onions: Thinly sliced green onions or scallions are often used as a garnish and to add a mild onion flavor. Alternatively, you can use red onions like I did in the recipe photos.

10. Salt: Salt is used to season the cucumbers and draw out moisture before mixing with the other ingredients.

11. Jujubes (Korean dates): Jujubes have a natural sweetness and a chewy texture that can provide a similar contrast to the crispness of cucumbers, much like sun-dried tomatoes. Alternatively, you can use dried medjool dates or sun dried tomatoes. 

12. Optional Additions: Some variations of Korean cucumber salad may include additional ingredients like Fresh herbs, Roasted Peanuts or almonds, sliced carrots, radishes, or even julienned Korean pear for added texture and sweetness.

Keep in mind that the exact proportions of these ingredients can vary based on personal preferences and regional variations. Korean cucumber salad is known for its refreshing and slightly tangy taste, making it a popular side dish in Korean cuisine.

That’s it. It only takes minutes to make and tastes so good. I could eat it for lunch and dinner and everything in between. In fact, I just finished a bowlful of this quick salad before I sat down to write this post.

Meal prep friendly Korean cucumber salad recipe 

As if this salad wasn’t already great it actually gets even better. And that’s because it’s also a meal prep, store it in a jar and take with you on the go kinda salad. It’s a great healthy summer salad you can make in advance. So, next time you need a healthy and tasty salad to go, just jar this cucumber salad up and you’re all set. 

What you get in this 10-minute amazing Korean Cucumber Salad

  • A super convenient store in a jar and bring with you on the go salad
  • Quick and easy make-in-minutes salad recipe 
  • All the flavors – spicy, crunchy, nutty, and delicious 
  • Meal prep friendly – make it in advance and store it in a jar, ready to eat
  • A quick and healthy nutritional lunch 
  • Makes a super tasty spicy side dish that goes well with any main meal

How to make Korean cucumber salad

Making Korean cucumber salad is a breeze. Just follow these four simple steps and you will be munching on your spicy salad in less than 10 minutes.

Korean cucumber salad recipe Ingredients:

– 2 Fresh Cucumbers, thinly sliced

– 4-5 Korean Dates (or Oil-packed Sun-dried Tomatoes), chopped

– 1 green onion, or 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced

– 2-3 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds

– 1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro or Basil

– 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil

– 3 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce

– 1/2 tablespoon Vinegar

– 2 Cloves Garlic, minced

– 1/2 teaspoon Salt

– 1/2 cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts or Almonds (Optional)

How to make Korean Cucumber Salad Instructions:

1. Prepare the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the aromatic toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, tangy vinegar, and the delightful sweet chili sauce.

2. Slice the Cucumbers: Trim the ends of the fresh cucumbers and slice them lengthwise down the center. Proceed to cut the cucumbers into medium-thin slices. Place them in a spacious bowl.

3. Add Flavorful Ingredients: Top the sliced cucumbers with thinly sliced red onions for a touch of sharpness, chopped Korean dates (or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes) for a sweet contrast, and chopped nuts (like roasted peanuts or almonds for crunch). Sprinkle in some fresh herbs, such as cilantro or basil, to enhance the aroma.

4. Drizzle and Toss: Drizzle the prepared dressing over the cucumber mixture. Toss everything together to ensure an even coating of the flavorful dressing.

5. Season to Taste: Taste and add salt if needed, then toss again to combine all the ingredients harmoniously.

6. Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle the salad with toasted sesame seeds for an added layer of flavor and visual appeal. Now, it’s ready to serve and enjoy.

This Korean Cucumber Salad recipe offers a refreshing blend of flavors and textures. It’s an ideal side dish to complement a variety of Korean meals. Enjoy its crisp cucumbers, sweet dates, and nutty sesame undertones.

Let’s talk about serving sizes 

The serving size is for 4 people if serving as a main meal, up to six people if serving as a side dish. You can easily eat this salad as a main meal for a healthy lunch. Serve it as is or with a side of bread.

What dishes to serve with Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad 

This easy cucumber salad works really well as a side dish with most mains. Try serving it with my: 

How to prepare Jujubes

Here’s how you can use them:

Instructions:

    1.    Prepare the Jujubes: Start by soaking dried jujubes in warm water for about 15-20 minutes to soften them. Once they’ve softened, drain them.

    2.    Slice or Dice: Slice the softened jujubes into thin strips or dice them into small pieces, depending on your preference and the texture you want in your cucumber salad.

    3.    Mix with Cucumbers: Add the sliced or diced jujubes to your cucumber salad along with the cucumbers.

    4.    Season: Adjust the seasoning of your cucumber salad to balance the sweetness of the jujubes. You might need to reduce the amount of sugar or other sweet elements in your dressing or seasoning.

    5.    Additional Flavors: Depending on your recipe, you can also enhance the flavor by adding a touch of sesame oil, soy sauce, or vinegar to complement the jujubes and cucumbers.

Jujubes will bring a delightful sweetness and a chewy texture to your Korean cucumber salad, creating a unique twist on the traditional dish without the use of sun-dried tomatoes. Adjust the quantity of jujubes to your taste, keeping in mind the balance of flavors in the salad.

Delicious Korean cucumber salad recipe variations 

There are several delicious variations of Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim or Oi Namul) that you can try to add different flavors and textures to this classic dish. Here are some tasty Korean cucumber salad recipe variations:

1. Spicy Cucumber Salad: Add more Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or hot pepper paste (gochujang) to make the salad spicier. Adjust the spice level to your preference.

2. Cucumber and Seaweed Salad: Mix sliced cucumbers with rehydrated and thinly sliced seaweed (miyeok) for a refreshing and nutritious twist. Season with a sesame-based dressing.

3. Cucumber and Kimchi Salad: Combine sliced cucumbers with chopped kimchi for a unique blend of flavors. The tangy and spicy kimchi complements the fresh cucumbers.

4. Cucumber and Apple Salad: Add thin slices of crisp apple to the salad for a sweet and crunchy contrast. The combination of cucumber and apple is refreshing and delightful.

5. Cucumber and Avocado Salad: Incorporate sliced ripe avocado into the salad for creaminess and richness. The avocado pairs well with the cucumber’s freshness.

6. Cucumber and Radish Salad: Combine thinly sliced cucumbers with equally thin slices of radishes for a colorful and crunchy salad. Season with a soy-sesame dressing.

7. Sesame Cucumber Salad: Boost the nutty sesame flavor by adding toasted sesame seeds to the dressing and garnishing the salad with additional sesame seeds for extra texture.

8. Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad: Increase the sweetness by adding more sugar or honey to the dressing. You can also enhance the tanginess with extra vinegar.

9. Cucumber and Pear Salad: Julienned Korean pear (bae) or Asian pear can be added for a sweet and juicy element. It pairs well with the crisp cucumbers.

More delicious spicy asian cucumber salad variations and add-ins

10. Cucumber and Carrot Salad: Include thinly sliced or julienned carrots for added color and a slightly sweet crunch. The combination of cucumbers and carrots is vibrant and nutritious.

11. Cucumber and Sesame Noodle Salad: Mix the cucumber slices with cold cooked noodles, such as soba or udon, and toss them with a sesame-based dressing for a heartier salad.

12. Cucumber and Quinoa Salad: Combine sliced cucumbers with cooked quinoa, fresh herbs, and a light vinaigrette for a nutritious and filling salad.

13. Cucumber and Tofu Salad: Add cubed or sliced tofu for a protein boost. Marinate the tofu in the dressing for extra flavor.

Feel free to experiment with these variations to create a Korean cucumber salad that suits your taste preferences and complements your meal. The versatility of this dish makes it a fantastic addition to a wide range of meals and occasions.

Best cucumbers for Korean salad 

When it comes to making Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim), you can use a variety of raw cucumber types, depending on your preference and what’s available. Here’s a list of cucumbers that can work well in salads, including Korean cucumber salad:

1. English Cucumbers: These are a popular choice for Korean cucumber salad due to their mild flavor, thin skin, and fewer seeds. They’re often preferred for their crisp and refreshing texture.

2. Persian Cucumbers: These small, seedless cucumbers are similar to English cucumbers and are a great choice for salads. They have a tender skin and a slightly sweet flavor.

3. Kirby Cucumbers: Also known as pickling cucumbers, these cucumbers are smaller and have a slightly bumpy skin. They work well in salads, and their crunchiness is appreciated.

4. Japanese Cucumbers: These cucumbers are slender and have a thin skin. They are often used in Japanese and Korean salads due to their pleasant crunch and mild flavor.

5. Regular Garden Cucumbers: While not as common as the above options, garden cucumbers can still be used. Be sure to peel or deseed them if the skin is tough or if there are large seeds.

6. Hybrid Cucumbers: Many hybrid cucumber varieties are available, and some are specifically bred for salad use. These can be a good choice if you prefer a particular flavor or texture.

7. Korean Cucumbers: If you can find Korean cucumbers (short, thin-skinned, and often slightly curved), they are an excellent choice for authenticity in Korean cucumber salad.

Ultimately, the choice of cucumber for your Korean cucumber salad depends on your personal taste and what’s available at your local market. The key is to use cucumbers with thin, tender skin and relatively few seeds, as they will provide the best texture and flavor for your salad.

English cucumber vs cucumber 

English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers or seedless cucumbers, and regular cucumbers (often referred to as garden cucumbers) are two common types of cucumbers that you might encounter. Here are the main differences between the two:

1. Appearance:

   – English Cucumbers: These cucumbers are typically longer and more slender than regular cucumbers. They have a dark green, glossy skin, and their length is often wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.

   – Regular Cucumbers: Garden cucumbers are shorter and thicker compared to English cucumbers. They have a lighter green skin, and their surface may have small bumps or spines.

2. Skin Texture:

   – English Cucumbers: The skin of English cucumbers is thinner and less bitter than that of regular cucumbers. It is usually tender enough to eat without peeling.

   – Regular Cucumbers: The skin of regular cucumbers can be thicker and may have a slightly bitter taste. Some people prefer to peel regular cucumbers before eating.

3. Seeds:

   – English Cucumbers: These cucumbers have smaller and fewer seeds, and they are sometimes marketed as “seedless cucumbers.”

   – Regular Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers typically have larger and more prominent seeds. Some people remove the seeds when using them in salads or other dishes.

4. Taste:

   – English Cucumbers: English cucumbers are often described as having a milder, sweeter flavor with a crisp and refreshing texture.

   – Regular Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers can have a slightly more pronounced cucumber flavor, and the taste may vary based on the variety and ripeness.

5. Uses:

   – English Cucumbers: Due to their milder flavor and thinner skin, English cucumbers are often preferred for fresh salads, sandwiches, and as a snack with dips.

   – Regular Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers are versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes, including salads, pickles, and cooked recipes.

6. Availability:

   – English Cucumbers: They are commonly available year-round in many grocery stores and are often considered a premium cucumber variety.

   – Regular Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers are widely available during the cucumber-growing season, which is typically in the summer, but they can also be found year-round.

In summary, the primary differences between English cucumbers and regular cucumbers are in appearance, skin texture, seed content, taste, and preferred uses. Both types of cucumbers have their own merits and are suitable for various culinary applications based on personal preferences and the intended dish.

How to peel a cucumber 

Although you don’t need to peel your cucumbers to make Korean cucumber salad you can peel them if you prefer. Peeling a cucumber is a simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to peel a cucumber:

Ingredients:

– 1 cucumber

Tools:

– Vegetable peeler or paring knife

– Cutting board

How to peel cucumbers Instructions:

1. Wash the Cucumber: Start by rinsing the cucumber under cold running water. Use your fingers or a gentle brush to remove any dirt or debris.

2. Trim the Ends: Place the cucumber on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to trim off both ends of the cucumber. This provides a flat and stable surface for peeling.

3. Choose Your Peeling Tool: You can use either a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to peel the cucumber. The vegetable peeler is the easiest and safest option for most people.

4. Peel the Cucumber:

   – If using a Vegetable Peeler:

     – Hold the cucumber firmly with one hand and the vegetable peeler with the other.

     – Starting at one end, press the blade of the vegetable peeler against the cucumber’s skin.

     – Apply gentle pressure and move the peeler in a downward motion, following the contour of the cucumber.

     – Continue peeling until you have removed the entire skin, rotating the cucumber as needed.

   – If using a Paring Knife:

     – Hold the cucumber with one hand and the paring knife with the other.

     – Place the tip of the knife just under the skin, near one end of the cucumber.

     – Gently pull the skin upward with the knife while keeping the blade angled slightly downward.

     – Gradually work your way around the cucumber, peeling off the skin in thin strips.

5. Check for Remaining Skin: After peeling, inspect the cucumber to ensure that all the skin has been removed. If you see any green or white spots, carefully remove them with the peeler or knife.

6. Rinse Again: Rinse the peeled cucumber under running water to remove any residual peel fragments.

7. Slice or Dice: Your peeled cucumber is now ready to be sliced, diced, or used in your preferred recipe.

Peeling a cucumber is a quick and easy process that can be done in just a few minutes, and it’s especially useful if you prefer the milder taste and smoother texture of the cucumber flesh without the skin.

How to cut a cucumber 

To cut a cucumber for Korean cucumber salad (Oi Muchim or Oi Namul), follow these steps to achieve the desired texture and presentation:

Ingredients:

– 1 cucumber (English, Persian, or Korean cucumber)

Tools:

– Cutting board

– Chef’s knife

How to cut cucumber Instructions:

1. Wash the Cucumber: Start by rinsing the cucumber under cold running water to remove any dirt or contaminants.

2. Trim the Ends: Place the cucumber on a cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off both ends of the cucumber. This creates flat and stable surfaces for slicing.

3. Cut in Half Lengthwise: Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, creating two long halves. This step is optional but can make it easier to remove seeds and achieve a consistent thickness when slicing.

4. Remove Seeds (Optional): If you prefer to reduce the moisture content and the number of seeds in your cucumber salad, use a small spoon or the tip of your knife to gently scoop out the seeds from the center of each cucumber half. This step is optional and depends on your personal preference.

5. Slice into Thin Half-Moons: Lay each cucumber half flat on the cutting board, cut-side down. Use your chef’s knife to slice the cucumber halves into thin half-moon shapes. Aim for slices that are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3-6 mm) thick.

Extra tips for cutting cucumbers

6. Maintain Uniform Thickness: Try to maintain a consistent thickness while slicing the cucumber to ensure even texture and flavor in your salad.

7. Transfer to a Bowl: As you slice the cucumber, transfer the slices to a mixing bowl.

8. Season and Dress: Once all the cucumber slices are in the bowl, season them with salt (if not already salted in a previous step), and add the dressing ingredients (such as sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, and other seasonings) according to your Korean cucumber salad recipe.

9. Toss and Marinate: Gently toss the cucumber slices with the seasoning and dressing to ensure even coating. Allow the salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld together.

10. Garnish: Before serving, garnish your Korean cucumber salad with toasted sesame seeds and, optionally, sliced green onions or fresh herbs like cilantro or basil.

Your cucumber slices are now ready for a delicious Korean cucumber salad that’s crisp, flavorful, and refreshing. Enjoy!

What to eat with Korean Cucumber Salad 

Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim or Oi Namul) pairs wonderfully with a variety of vegetarian dishes, creating a balanced and flavorful meal. Here are some vegetarian options to enjoy alongside your Korean Cucumber Salad:

1. Rice: Steamed white or brown rice is a classic accompaniment to Korean Cucumber Salad. The mild rice complements the salad’s flavors.

2. Tofu Stir-Fry: A tofu stir-fry with colorful vegetables and a savory sauce makes for a satisfying and protein-rich main dish.

3. Bibimbap: This Korean rice dish topped with sautéed vegetables, a fried egg, and a flavorful gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) sauce pairs beautifully with the refreshing cucumber salad.

4. Vegetable Jeon: Korean vegetable pancakes (jeon) made with ingredients like zucchini, scallions, or mushrooms are a delightful side dish to accompany the salad.

5. Korean Japchae: Japchae is a Korean stir-fried glass noodle dish loaded with vegetables. It’s a flavorful and filling option for a complete meal.

6. Korean Kimbap: Kimbap, often referred to as Korean sushi rolls, is filled with various vegetables and can be served alongside the cucumber salad.

7. Vegetable Dumplings: Steamed or pan-fried vegetable dumplings, known as mandu, offer a delightful contrast to the salad’s flavors and textures.

More delicious sides to eat with Korean Cucumber salad recipe

8. Korean Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi Namul): This classic Korean side dish made from blanched spinach seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil is a great complement to the cucumber salad.

9. Grilled Vegetables: Serve grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant with a Korean-inspired marinade or sauce to go along with the salad.

10. Korean Kimchi: Incorporate various types of Korean kimchi, such as napa cabbage kimchi or radish kimchi, as side dishes to add complexity and spice to your meal.

11. Miso Soup: A bowl of warm miso soup with tofu and seaweed provides a comforting and balanced addition to your Korean meal.

12. Korean Braised Tofu (Dubu Jorim): Tofu simmered in a flavorful soy-based sauce is a fantastic protein source and a flavorful counterpart to the cucumber salad.

13. Korean Vegetarian Noodle Dishes: Dishes like jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles) or jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup) can be adapted with vegetarian ingredients for a hearty meal.

Remember to adjust the spice level of your dishes to your preference and enjoy the vibrant and diverse flavors of Korean vegetarian cuisine alongside your refreshing Korean Cucumber Salad.

Frequently asked questions 

What other vegetables can I add to the cucumber salad?

Spring onions 
Peppers 
Watercress 
Mushrooms 
Water chestnuts 
Kale

Is cucumber salad healthy?

Yes. Cucumbers aren’t just cooling fresh mouthfuls of crunchy deliciousness. They’re also chocked full of vitamins and minerals and help keep you hydrated. Eating cucumbers may help with digestion, lower blood sugar levels, help keep you hydrated, as well as help with weight loss.

How long does cucumber last

Up to a week if stored properly. If sliced, keep the cucumbers in a sealed container in the refrigerator to keep them fresh and crispy.

Can you eat cucumber and onions together?

Yes. Cucumber and onions bring out the best in each other and this easy Asian Cucumber Salad proves just that.

Should you keep cucumbers in the fridge?

Yes. Although cucumbers are prone to freezing easily because of their high water percentage storing them in the refrigerator is still the best way to keep them healthy for longer.

How many calories are in cucumber salad?

This cucumber salad comes in at just around 100 calories per serving.

What are Asian cucumbers called?

Trichosanthes kirilowii.

Korean cucumber salad FAQs

What is Korean cucumber salad?

Korean cucumber salad is a traditional Korean side dish made from thinly sliced cucumbers that are seasoned with a flavorful dressing, typically featuring ingredients like sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and sometimes red pepper flakes.

What type of cucumber is best for Korean cucumber salad?

The best cucumbers for Korean cucumber salad are thin-skinned varieties like English cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, or Korean cucumbers. They have a crisp texture and mild flavor.

Can I use regular cucumbers for Korean cucumber salad?

Yes, you can use regular garden cucumbers for Korean cucumber salad. However, you may want to peel or deseed them, as they can have a thicker skin and larger seeds compared to other cucumber types.

Korean cucumber salad recipe prep and variations FAQs

How do I make Korean cucumber salad less spicy?

To reduce spiciness, either omit or reduce the amount of Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) in the dressing. Adjust other seasonings like sugar and vinegar to balance the flavors.

Can I make Korean cucumber salad in advance?

Yes, you can make Korean cucumber salad in advance. In fact, it often tastes even better after marinating in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

How long does Korean cucumber salad stay fresh in the refrigerator?

Korean cucumber salad can stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Beyond that, the cucumbers may become softer and lose their crispness.

Is Korean cucumber salad vegan?

Yes, Korean cucumber salad can be vegan if you ensure that all the ingredients used in the dressing and garnishes are plant-based.

Korean cucumber salad alterations

What are some variations of Korean cucumber salad?

Variations of Korean cucumber salad may include the addition of ingredients like Korean dates (jujubes), sliced Korean pear, or different types of fresh herbs for added flavor and texture.

Can I adjust the level of sweetness in the salad?

Yes, you can adjust the sweetness by varying the amount of sugar in the dressing. Start with a smaller amount and add more if needed to suit your taste.

What dishes can I serve with Korean cucumber salad?

Korean cucumber salad pairs well with a variety of Korean dishes like bibimbap, grilled tofu, kimbap, or even as part of a banchan spread alongside other Korean side dishes.

Cucumbers and nutrition

Cucumber vs selenium

Cucumbers:
– Cucumbers are a type of vegetable known for their crisp texture, mild flavor, and high water content.
– They are low in calories and a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber.
– Cucumbers are often used in salads, sandwiches, pickles, and various culinary dishes.
– They are a healthy addition to a balanced diet and are known for their hydrating properties.

Selenium:
– Selenium is a chemical element and an essential micronutrient for humans and animals.
– It is not a food but a mineral that is found in varying amounts in soil, water, and some foods.
– Selenium plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, including the functioning of the immune system, thyroid hormone metabolism, and protection against oxidative damage.
Dietary sources of selenium include nuts, seeds, seafood, meats, and certain grains. It’s important to obtain an adequate but not excessive amount of selenium, as excessive intake can have adverse health effects.

Selenium vs cucumbers vitamins

Nutrition: Selenium vs cucumbers

Selenium and cucumbers are two different components of nutrition, and they have distinct effects on your health:

Cucumbers:
– Cucumbers are a low-calorie vegetable that provides several essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some of their nutritional effects:
  – Hydration: Cucumbers are composed mostly of water (about 95%), making them a hydrating food choice.
  – Vitamins: They are a good source of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone health, as well as vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system.
  – Dietary Fiber: Cucumbers contain dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and contributes to a feeling of fullness.
  – Low in Calories: Cucumbers are low in calories, making them a healthy choice for weight management.


Selenium:
– Selenium is an essential trace mineral that plays a specific role in human health. Here are its nutritional effects:
  – Antioxidant: Selenium is a component of various antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidases, which help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  – Thyroid Function: Selenium is necessary for the conversion of thyroid hormones (T4 to T3), which are essential for regulating metabolism.
  – Immune Support: Selenium supports the immune system and may help prevent certain infections.
  – Anti-Inflammatory: Adequate selenium intake can have anti-inflammatory effects.


In summary, cucumbers primarily provide vitamins, hydration, and dietary fiber, contributing to overall health and well-being. Selenium, on the other hand, is a trace mineral with specific roles in antioxidant defense, thyroid function, and immune support. Both can be valuable components of a balanced diet, but they serve different nutritional purposes. It’s important to obtain the right balance of nutrients, including selenium, for optimal health.

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Best Korean Cucumber Salad recipe (vegan)

The best spicy Korean Cucumber salad – Hello crunchy cucumber, red onions, fresh herbs, roasted nuts, and spices. Your regular salad just got a major delicious overhaul. 
This might just be the best vegan Korean Cucumber salad ever. I’m not just saying that. It’s something I hear over and over again every time I serve this spicy crunchy salad. This salad pretty much has it all. Imagine fresh juicy and crunchy cucumbers wrapped in a spicy chili dressing, and topped with crunchy roasted nuts, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs.
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Keyword vegan
Prep Time 8 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 100kcal
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

  • 2 Cucumbers Sliced
  • 4-5 Korean Dates (or Oil-packed Sun-dried Tomatoes) Chopped
  • 1 Green onion, or 1/2 Red Onion Thinly Sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp Sesame Seeds Toasted
  • 2 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ½ tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro or Fresh Basil Chopped
  • ½ cup Roasted Peanuts or Almonds (optional topping) Chopped

Instructions

How to make Korean Cucumber salad

  • Prepare the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the aromatic toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, tangy vinegar, and the delightful sweet chili sauce.
  • Slice the Cucumbers: Trim the ends of the fresh cucumbers and slice them lengthwise down the center. Proceed to cut the cucumbers into medium-thin slices. Place them in a spacious bowl.
  • Add Flavorful Ingredients: Top the sliced cucumbers with thinly sliced red onions for a touch of sharpness, chopped Korean dates (or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes) for a sweet contrast, and chopped nuts (like roasted peanuts or almonds for crunch). Sprinkle in some fresh herbs, such as cilantro or basil, to enhance the aroma.
  • Drizzle and Toss: Drizzle the prepared dressing over the cucumber mixture. Toss everything together to ensure an even coating of the flavorful dressing.
  • Season to Taste: Taste and add salt if needed, then toss again to combine all the ingredients harmoniously.
  • Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle the salad with toasted sesame seeds for an added layer of flavor and visual appeal. Now, it’s ready to be served and enjoyed.
  • This Korean Cucumber Salad recipe offers a refreshing blend of flavors and textures. It’s an ideal side dish to complement a variety of Korean meals. Enjoy its crisp cucumbers, sweet dates, and nutty sesame undertones.

Notes

How to prepare Jujubes
Here’s how you can use them:
Instructions:
    1.    Prepare the Jujubes: Start by soaking dried jujubes in warm water for about 15-20 minutes to soften them. Once they’ve softened, drain them.
    2.    Slice or Dice: Slice the softened jujubes into thin strips or dice them into small pieces, depending on your preference and the texture you want in your cucumber salad.
    3.    Mix with Cucumbers: Add the sliced or diced jujubes to your cucumber salad along with the cucumbers.
    4.    Season: Adjust the seasoning of your cucumber salad to balance the sweetness of the jujubes. You might need to reduce the amount of sugar or other sweet elements in your dressing or seasoning.
    5.    Additional Flavors: Depending on your recipe, you can also enhance the flavor by adding a touch of sesame oil, soy sauce, or vinegar to complement the jujubes and cucumbers.
Jujubes will bring a delightful sweetness and a chewy texture to your Korean cucumber salad, creating a unique twist on the traditional dish without the use of sun-dried tomatoes. Adjust the quantity of jujubes to your taste, keeping in mind the balance of flavors in the salad.

Recipe originally published May 29, 2022

Recipe updated September 8, 2023


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