This spicy Korean cucumber salad is the perfect summer side dish to enjoy around a backyard BBQ. This banchan is commonly found in Korean BBQ restaurants and is one of our favorite side dishes. It's refreshing, yet sweet, tangy, and savory.
As summer slowly makes it's way back, we have been loving making more light dishes that doesn't take too much time to make. This Korean cucumber salad gives a refreshing crunch, but doesn't compromise on taste!
What is Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (OI MUCHIM 오이무침)
Oi Muchim translates to seasoned cucumber, and this is exactly what this spicy Korean cucumber salad is. This is one of our favorite banchan, Korean side dish, and is so easy to make. Refreshing, yet packs so much flavor. We love to make this dish when we're in need for vegetables for a meal, but want to whip up something quick and easy. It requires only pantry-staple ingredients, and stores very well over time. It's the perfect side dish to serve this summer for a backyard BBQ.
The inspiration behind the dish
We love Korean Barbecue and there's this one very popular restaurants that serves it's meat with so many different types of banchan. One of them is this refreshing cucumber salad and we wanted to recreate this recipe at home as it seems like the perfect las minute side dish. It literally takes no more than 5 minute, and no cooking is required. We *almost* love it as much as kimchi!
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Tips to make the best Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- Use a low-seed variety of cucumber, such as Kirby, English, Persian, Korean or Japanese. We used Persian cucumbers as we love the small size which makes the sliced cucumbers the perfect bite-size. Any pickling cucumbers would also be perfect!
- Soak onions in water before if you want to reduce the bitterness. We personally enjoy it so we skipped that step!
- To reduce water produced by the cucumber, salt the cucumber 15 minutes before and let the water drain. Then rince the cucumber slices, and proceed to follow recipe instructions. As we usually make it just before eating, we skip this step.
- Use low-sodium soy sauce to avoid overpowering the salad with saltyness.
- The salad will look on the drier side at first, but the cucumber will soon release moisture. You don't need to add more soy sauce, although it will be tempting!
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container. The salad is good for 3-4 days.
- Cucumbers, preferably seedless or low-seed variety. Our preference is Kirby or Persian cucumbers for their small size.
- Small onion because we love onions, and it adds a nice layer of extra flavor. If you don't have any on hand, this ingredient can be omitted but we do love it.
- Low-sodium soy sauce for that umami and savory flavor.
- Rice vinegar is essential to create the vinaigrette to our salad.
- Sugar will add a nice sweet note and pair perfectly with the tangy flavor of the rice vinegar.
- Gochugaru for a spicy kick, but feel free to adjust the amount. It can easily be found online.
- Sesame seeds and sesame oil to add a nice nutty taste. A little bit goes a long way!
- Garlic adds a nice touch, but do make the salad on the heavier salad. If you're looking for something more refreshing, skip the garlic.
- Green onions because we love it on every dish and add a nice oniony flavor.
Prep your ingredients. Thinly slice your cucumbers and onion.
Prep the vinaigrette. In a mixing bowl, combine together soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Mix until sugar is mostly dissolved.
Combine ingredients together. Add your cucumbers and onions, and all other seasoning ingredients (gochugaru, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, green onions). Mix well together and serve!
Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- 2 cups cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1/2 small onion thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp gochugaru
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- green onions chopped
- Thinly slice your cucumbers and onion.
- In a mixing bowl, combine together soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Mix until sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Add your cucumbers and onions, and all other seasoning ingredients (gochugaru, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, green onions). Mix well together and serve!