Cool as a cucumber or hot as a chilli pepper? Both! Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad has it all – fresh and crunchy vegetables are tossed with sweet, salty and fiery dressing! A perfect side salad for a summer BBQ or your favourite Korean dishes, this Korean Cucumber Salad comes together in 5 minutes and is low in calories!
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What is Korean Cucumber Salad?
Korean spicy cucumber salad, also known as Oi Muchim is a popular side dish that is sometimes used as a quick kimchi substitute. Oi translates as “cucumber”, and muchim means “seasoned”. There are so many different variations of this salad, that you can definitely make it your own (see the variations section for ideas).
Ingredients and Substitutions
- long English cucumber: skin on, sliced into 2-3mm thick slices.
- red bell pepper: completely optional, but we love it for the flavour and colour in this Asian Cucumber salad.
- soy sauce: we used dark soy sauce. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, look for Tamari.
- rice vinegar: can be substituted with white wine vinegar.
- caster sugar: or white granulated sugar, but it will take longer to dissolve.
- chilli powder: ideally, you want Korean red chilli powder (Gochugaru) for this recipe, but any chilli powder will work.
- sesame seeds: could be substituted for nigella seeds.
- spring onions: thinly sliced, alternatively use finely chopped red onion.
Slice the cucumber into thin 2-3mm thick rounds. Chop the spring onion and red pepper (if using) finely.
Add cucumber, spring onion and bell pepper, if using, to a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, soy sauce, chilli powder, sugar and sesame seeds. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
Why not try this recipe by changing things up a bit:
- Add a tsp of sesame oil to the dressing.
- Replace spring onion with finely chopped red onion.
- Add honey instead of sugar.
- Skip the chilli powder and use Gochujang paste instead.
Any cucumber with soft enough skin that doesn’t need peeling will work just fine! English, Persian or short garden-grown varieties will work in this recipe!
It can be if the soy sauce you choose is gluten-free. Look for Tamari (a type of soy sauce) – it is usually gluten-free.
What To Serve Korean Cucumber Salad With?
Korean Cucumber Salad is a great side dish to many Korean dishes including Bokkeumbap or Tofu Bulgogi. Still, it is versatile enough to use with other Asian or even Western-style dishes. Try this Korean Cucumber Salad with:
Our Favourite Korean Recipes
If you are looking to make a Korean-inspired feast, look no further. Here are some of our favourite Korean recipes:
Other Salads That Make Perfect Side Dishes
- Persian Shirazi Salad
- Raw Courgette Ribbon Salad with Tea & Honey Dressing
- Asian Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Mayo
Korean Cucumber Salad
- 1 long cucumber thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 red pepper finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3/4 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Add cucumber, spring onion and bell pepper, if using to a large bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, soy sauce, chilli powder, sugar and sesame seeds. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.