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Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

Spicy Korean cucumber salad is crunchy and refreshing with spicy, savory, salty, tangy, and a touch of sweet taste. This easy-to-make salad has English cucumbers tossed in spicy gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) soy sauce dressing.

The Korean name for this salad is Oi Muchim(오이무침). It’s a staple side dish in Korean cuisine especially with Korean BBQ. Utilize the best summer cucumbers in salads like smashed cucumber salad, creamy cucumber s,alad and Korean cucumber salad.

The cool taste of cucumber with spicy flavor-packed soy sauce gochugaru dressing is very addictive. This salad might make you sweat but you can’t stop eating, it’s a heavenly combination!

If you are looking for an easy make-ahead salad, Oi Muchim is the best salad. It can be stored in airtight container and it will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.

So, Muchim means to ‘coat/toss in sauce” in pure Korean. Whereas Saengche comes from chinese word 生菜 which means ‘live vegetables’ as opposed to dead=cooked. Haha.. Well, anyway, so my Korean cucumber salad recipe can go by both, oi muchim or oi saengche. I have to let you you know that my recipe is not the common Korean cucumber side dish recipe where it is heavily coated in yangnyeom of chili powder and garlic. Those are really good too but I like my Korean cucumber salad to have a lighter seasoning which allows the refreshing taste of cucumbers to come through.

This Korean cucumber salad or side dish is great as a last minute kind of a side dish since it takes less than 5 minutes to make (depends on how fast you can cut! haha). This cucumber salad or muchim can be a great side dish to a BBQ or for lunch boxes. I actually got the idea to do this post after seeing one a recent post from a blog I follow. She has some really cute ideas for dosirak or lunchboxes so check her out!

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Cucumbers: 2 medium, thinly sliced
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon (to sweat the cucumbers)
Green onions: 2, finely chopped
Garlic: 1 clove, minced
Korean red pepper flakes (Gochugaru): 1 tablespoon
Sesame oil: 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce: 1 tablespoon
Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
Rice vinegar: 1 tablespoon
Sesame seeds: 1 teaspoon, toasted
Fresh cilantro (optional): for garnish


Prepare the cucumbers:
Slice the cucumbers thinly. Sprinkle with salt and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes to draw out moisture. This step helps to enhance the crunchiness of the cucumbers.
After they have sweated, rinse the cucumbers under cold water and drain well. Squeeze out any excess water with your hands or a clean towel.

Make the dressing:

In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, Korean red pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Combine and marinate:

In a larger mixing bowl, combine the drained cucumbers and green onions.
Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and toss well to ensure all slices are evenly coated.
Let the salad marinate for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Finish and serve:

Just before serving, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the salad.
If desired, garnish with fresh cilantro for an extra layer of flavor.

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