Oi Muchim is a simple Korean cucumber salad. Thinly sliced crispy cucumbers tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing that’s guaranteed to elevate any meal.
About Oi Muchim salad
Oi Muchim (korean cucumber salad) is traditionally served as a side dish in Korean cuisine.
You probably have tried it if you ever dined in a Korean restaurant. It usually comes on a small plate with other traditional small sides dishes to accompany the main course.
The restaurant version is usually spicy and bold. I make it less salty and less spicy for my family.
These Korean red chili flakes add a unique sweet and spicy kick, and a pop of color to the dish. You can find them in the spice aisle at local grocery stores or online.
This popular cucumber salad is vibrant, crunchy, refreshing, and so easy to make at home.
Ingredients and substitutions
Below you can find the recommended ingredients with the best available substitutions for the salad and the dressing. You can find the quantities and nutritional information in the recipe card below.
Cucumbers – I recommend using Persian or Korean cucumbers. They have thinner skin and have smaller seeds. Both cucumber types are very crispy. If you do not have Korean or Persian cucumbers, you can use English cucumbers to make the salad.
Green onion – I like to use green onions as they are milder and not as pungent. You can also use yellow onions or even chives.
Salt – for removing the excess moisture from cucumbers.
Minced Garlic – for the best results use fresh garlic cloves.
Sesame oil – sesame oil has so much flavor and it is the best for making the salad. But if you forgot to get one, you can also use any vegetable oil.
Rice vinegar – adds acidity to the salad. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead.
Soy sauce – I use regular soy sauce. For less sodium, you can use light soy sauce or coconut aminos.
Honey – the dressing needs to be slightly sweet. You can use sugar or agave syrup instead,
Gochuraru – Korean red pepper flakes. I do not recommend substituting this ingredient, as it has a unique flavor.
Sesame seeds – the seeds are optional, but I like how they add extra crunch and flavor. You can use raw or toasted sesame seeds.
How to make this crunchy Korean cucumber salad
Wash the cucumbers and green onions. Pat them dry with a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel. Cut off and discard the ends.
If you are using English or slicing cucumbers with waxy thick skin, I recommend peeling them.
No need to peel Korean or Persian ones, as they have thin skin.
Slice the cucumbers thinly using a sharp knife or mandolin slicer. If the cucumbers are thick, you can cut them into half-circle slices. Slice the green onions thinly.
Place sliced cucumbers into a colander or a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the cucumber slices and let them sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature, so the salt can draw any excess water.
Some recommend only 10 minutes, but after 10 minutes I did not see any liquid drawing so I find 20 minutes is enough time.
If you plan to serve the salad right away, you can skip the step. But if you make it ahead of time, the cucumbers might become limp and soggy in a fridge within a few hours.
So for the best results, I recommend this extra step.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, add minced garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and Gochuraru red pepper flakes.
Whisk well to combine. You can control the heat by adding more or less pepper flakes.
Overall, the Gochurary heat lever will vary from milk to hot, depending on the brand and how ripe the peppers were. So I recommend tasting the spice first before you add too much.
I got mine at Whole Foods (frontier brand) and it was pleasantly mild with sweet and smoky notes.
After 20 minutes, drain any excess liquid from the cucumbers. Lay them on a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry removing as many salt flakes as you can.
Add the cucumbers to the salad plate or a bowl. Pour the dressing over them and toss until evenly coated.
Now, add sliced green onions and toss gently one more time. Taste the salad and add more red pepper flakes if you want it more spicy.
- Pick the cucumbers with thin skin and fewer seeds (Korean or Persian
- Do not skip the cucumber draining step to ensure the salad stays crispy.
- Do not substitute the Korean chili flakes ( Gochuraru)
- You can use light soy sauce to reduce the sodium content.
- If the salad was kept in the fridge, garnish it with fresh green onions and sesame seeds right before serving.
This refreshing side dish can be served with any main course.
Korean cucumber salad is best enjoyed fresh. If you have the leftovers you can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
If you plan to make it ahead of time, it is best to store the dressing and the cucumbers separately, so the cucumbers do not become soggy.
Other cucumber salads
Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 Colander
- measuring spoons
- 4 Korean or Persian cucumbers, or 2 English
- ¼ teaspoon salt, for draining cucumbers
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon honey or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon Gochuraru red pepper flakes add more to taste
- Rinse the cucumbers and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut off and discard the ends. Slice the cucumbers thinly using a mandolin slicer or a sharp knife.
- Place sliced cucumbers into a colander (or a bowl) and sprinkle a good pinch of salt over them. Let them sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
- In a small bowl, add 1 minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 Tbs rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon Gochuraru. Whisk everything to combine.
- After 10 minutes, drain any excess water from the cucumbers and add them to the salad bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and toss until they are evenly coated. Add sliced green onions and toss again. Taste the salad and add more Gochuraru red peppers if needed.