Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Spicy. Garlicky. Crunchy. Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim) is the BEST easy side dish! Transform ordinary cucumbers into a heaping, dripping platter of Korean deliciousness! In 15 minutes!

Korean Cucumber Salad is the kind of exciting, super-simple recipe that makes every meal better!

One crispy, crunchy bite will get you hooked. Garlicky. Spicy. Addictively tasty. And SO EASY to make at home! On the table in 15 minutes.

Fresh, crunchy cucumbers. Fiery, vibrant dressing. You MUST make this classic Korean dish for your next BBQ, party, or weeknight dinner!

What is Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)?

Korean Cucumber Salad (or Oi Muchim) is a fresh cucumber salad that’s served at the Korean table. Often served as banchan or one of many side dishes, the quick preparation makes it an easy favorite.

The tantalizing, heady flavors are especially exciting and delicious. No boring cucumber salads here! Garlicky, spicy, salty-sweet, tangy — there is no better way to eat cucumbers, in my opinion.

Oi Muchim is part of the Korean family of “mixed” salads — meaning that the dressing and vegetables are mixed by hand. Similar to Siguemchi (Spinach) Muchim or Kongnamul (Beansprout) Muchim, the hand mixing is an essential way to infuse the flavors together.

Spicy, juicy, crispy, and crunchy — make Cucumber Muchim your go-to easy cucumber salad that perks up everything else on the table!

hands holding a rice bowl with cucumber muchim on the side

Ingredients:

A simple dump-and-mix recipe. Pour everything into a bowl and mix.

  • Cucumbers. Crispy, crunchy, fresh cucumbers! I recommend Mini, Curly, Persian, or Kirby cucumbers for best texture and crunch. English (regular) cucumbers will not yield the same result!
  • Gochukaru. Korean dried chili flakes add spicy, smoky, fruity flavor. There is no substitute!
  • Fish Sauce. Loads of salty, sharp umami flavor.
  • Rice Vinegar. Just a little to add acidic tang.
  • Sugar. Sweetness rounds out all the other flavors.
  • Garlic + Green Onions. The aromatics that make this dish zippy, fresh, garlicky.
  • Sesame Oil. For that nutty fragrance.
  • Sesame Seeds. Adds crunch!
Kirby or Pickling Cucumbers

Instructions:

There are 2 methods, depending on the type of cucumbers.

For Mini Cucumbers (my favorite), Persian Cucumbers, or Curly Korean cucumbers:

  1. Trim ends and quarter into 2 inch chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, add ingredients.
  3. Mix well and serve immediately!

For Kirby or Pickling Cucumbers:

  1. Cover sliced cucumbers with water and salt for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain and add seasoning.
  3. Mix well and enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Use food preparation gloves. To make hand mixing easier. Also, to prevent cross contamination. If you don’t have them, wash hands well before mixing.
  • Store leftovers in a table-ready glass tupperware container. That way, you can pull it out and serve directly onto the table. That’s the Korean way to store dishes that can be pulled out of the fridge and immediately consumed.
  • Tastes best the day it’s made. The fresh, crunchy texture is so delicious and appealing!

What to serve with Korean Cucumber Salad:

Refreshing and crisp, Oi Muchim goes especially well with Korean BBQ meats:

Other side dishes that taste great with Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad:

Or, serve alongside a bubbling jjigae (soup/stew):

FAQ

Is Oi Muchim a kimchi?

No, Oi Muchim is not kimchi because it’s not fermented. The flavor profile is similar but it’s a quick, mixed salad that does not undergo the fermentation process.

What kind of cucumbers should I use?

To make crispy, crunchy Oi Muchim, I recommend cucumbers that are thin, narrow, and extra crunchy and sturdy.

The cucumbers need to be sturdy enough to soak up all the flavorful ingredients without getting water logged. But with a thin enough skin that’s not too tough.

My recommendations: Persian Cucumbers, Mini Cucumbers, or curly Korean cucumbers (you’ll find them at the Korean store). Pickling Cucumbers (also known as Kirby cucumbers) also work but they require a salt-water soak first.

The most commonly found cucumber in North American grocery stores — English cucumbers — don’t work well. They are long and wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. Also known as “slicing” cucumbers or “regular” cucumbers, they release too much liquid. The resulting Oi Muchim will not be crisp and crunchy but soggy and watery.

How long does this dish stay good?

Oi Muchim can last for 3-5 days in the fridge, tightly wrapped. It won’t be as crunchy but as it soaks in the dressing over time, it will become juicy and deeply flavorful.

two hands holding a platter of oi muchim (korean cucumber pickle)

Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Spicy. Garlicky. Crunchy. Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim) is the BEST easy side dish! Transform ordinary cucumbers into a heaping, dripping platter of Korean deliciousness! In 15 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Side
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6 (as side)
Calories

Equipment

  • Colander
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • rubber or disposable gloves (optional, for mixing)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs Cucumbers (mini cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, curly Korean cucumbers, or Kirby cucumbers preferred)

Salt Soak for Kirby cucumbers:

  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 5 cups cold water

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes) (3 Tbsp if you like things spicier)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (regular vinegar also works)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted)

Instructions
 

For Mini, Persian, or Curly Cucumbers:

  • Trim ends and quarter into 2-inch chunks. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the dressing ingredients directly on top of the cucumbers. Mix thoroughly, preferably by hand, until juicy and completely coated with seasoning.
  • Note: If the dressing looks sparse, keep mixing, making sure to bring up the dressing that's pooling at the bottom of the bowl. (Disposable food service gloves work well here.)
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The Oi Muchim tastes best the day it's made but should last in the fridge 4-5 days.

For Kirby (Pickling) Cucumbers:

  • Slice Kirby cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place in bowl. Cover with water and salt. The water should just cover the cucumbers. Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Drain cucumber slices. Do not rinse the cucumbers with fresh water!
  • In a large bowl, add the drained cucumbers. Add the remaining ingredients directly on top. Mix thoroughly, preferably by hand until juicy and completely coated with seasoning.
    bowl of korean cucumber pickle on cutting board
  • Note: If the dressing looks sparse, keep mixing, making sure to bring up the dressing that's pooling at the bottom of the bowl. (Disposable food service gloves work well here.)
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The Oi Muchim tastes best the day it's made but should last in the fridge 4-5 days.
    two hands eating bowl of rice with Korean Cucumber Pickle (Oi Muchim) nearby
Keyword Cucumber Salad, Korean, Oi Muchim
15 minutes, All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Korean, Potluck, Salad, Side, Weeknight Meals

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So easy to make and a great addition to ANY meal!

  2. 5 stars
    New favorite go-to side — love this recipe, Lis! The flavor is spicy and delicious served immediately and mellows out in the following days in the fridge. Loved the seasoning so much that I used the same method on some Korean radish I had in my fridge… a keeper for sure, and I’ll be making this consistently from now on!

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