Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Difficulty Easy

A classic Korean side dish that’s quick and easy to make — Oi Muchim or Korean Cucumber Salad! Fresh and crunchy cucumbers quickly mixed with a vibrant, exciting dressing that’s salty, spicy, and sweet. Put this Korean banchan on the table in 15 minutes!

Korean Cucumber Salad or Oi Muchim

Korean Cucumber Salad or Oi Muchim is a popular Korean side dish made from fresh, crunchy cucumbers and a Korean dressing. The quick preparation and intensely delicious flavors make Korean cucumber salad recipe a go-to for many meals, especially with Korean BBQ meats.

The tantalizing, heady flavors are especially exciting and delicious. No boring cucumber salad recipes 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 quickly dressed vegetables — meaning that the dressing and vegetables are mixed quickly and easily by hand. Oi means cucumber and Muchim roughly means hand-mixed. Similar to Korean Romaine Salad, Spinach (Siguemchi) Muchim, or Kongnamul (Beansprout) Muchim, hand mixing is an essential Korean cooking method to infuse flavor.

Spicy, juicy, crispy, and crunchy — make Cucumber Muchim or this Korean cucumber side dish your go-to salad that’s incredibly fresh and crisp!

korean cucumber salad (oi muchim) with rice

Ingredients:

A simple Korean cucumber salad made with pantry ingredients:

  • Cucumbers. I recommend Mini, Curly, Persian, or Korean cucumbers for best texture and crunch. I do not recommend English cucumbers wrapped individually in plastic wrap as they will quickly become soggy and water-logged.
  • Gochukaru. Korean dried chili powder or flakes add spicy, smoky, fruity flavor. There is no substitute!
  • Fish Sauce. Loads of salty, sharp umami flavor. Can be subbed with soy sauce for a vegan option.
  • Rice Vinegar. Just a little to add an acidic tang.
  • Sugar. To make it slightly sweet and round out all the other flavors.
  • Garlic + Green Onions. The aromatics make this dish zippy, fresh, garlicky.
  • Sesame Oil. For that nutty fragrance.
  • Sesame Seeds. Adds crunch!
hands holding a rice bowl with cucumber muchim on the side

Instructions:

  1. Prep cucumbers. Wash cucumbers and trim ends, if needed. Cut into half lengthwise then chop into chunky, 1-inch half moons. You can also cut into cucumber slices, but make sure they are thick 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Add dressing. In a large bowl, add ingredients for the dressing directly on top of the cucumbers.
  3. Serve and enjoy. Mix Oi Muchim well and serve immediately!

PRO Tips:

  • Use food preparation gloves. To make hand mixing easier. Also, to prevent cross-contamination. If you don’t have them, wash your hands well before mixing.
  • Store leftovers in a table-ready glass Tupperware container. That way, you can pull it out and serve directly on 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!

Watch how to make it:

Variations:

  • Make it vegan. Swap out the fish sauce with soy sauce to make it vegan.
  • Adjust spicy level. Add only 1 Tbsp of Gochukaru instead of 2 Tbsp for a less spicy version.
  • Add chives. When wild chives are in season, I often add a large handful of fresh wild chives cut into 2-inch chunks. So delicious and incredibly fresh!

Serve with:

Refreshing and crisp, Oi Muchim goes especially well with Korean BBQ meats: Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi, Chicken Bulgogi, or LA Galbi (Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs.

I also like to serve with Korean Purple Rice and a bubbling jjigae (soup or stew): Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew) or Seafood Soondubu Jjigae. So good! A complete Korean meal.

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

FAQ

Is Oi Muchim a kimchi?

No, Oi Muchim is not a 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.

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.

Do I really need to hand-mix the Korean Cucumber Salad?

You don’t need to mix the cucumbers and the dressing by hand but that’s the way it tastes best. Hand mixing releases the juices and it’s the way Koreans make this simple cucumber salad.

Other easy Korean side dishes:

close up shot of korean cucumber salad

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Fresh, crunchy cucumbers. Fiery, vibrant dressing. Make this classic Korean side dish for your next BBQ, party, or weeknight dinner. Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad) tastes good with anything and everything! And SO EASY to make at home. On the table in 15 minutes.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6 (as side)
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

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

Ingredients
  

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

Dressing:

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

Instructions
 

  • Prep cucumbers. Wash cucumbers and trim ends, if needed. Cut into half lengthwise then cut into chunky, 1-inch half moons.
  • Add the dressing. Add 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 and enjoy. 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.

Video

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Use food preparation gloves. To make hand mixing easier. Also, to prevent cross-contamination. If you don’t have them, wash your hands well before mixing.
  • Store leftovers in a table-ready glass Tupperware container. That way, you can pull it out and serve directly on 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 519mgPotassium: 303mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 940IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cucumber Salad, Korean, Oi Muchim, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
15 minutes, All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Featured, 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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