This stir-fried cucumber side dish is quick and easy to make. In Korea, it’s called oi bokkeum (오이볶음). Oi is cucumber, and bokkeum means stir-fried. Cucumbers are more commonly prepared raw, salted, and seasoned either mildly or spicy for Korean side dishes. In my bibimbap recipe, you can find a mildly seasoned cucumber side dish, and spicy oi muchim is always very popular. I know stir-frying cucumbers may sound a little strange to some of you, but stir-frying cucumbers is not uncommon among Korean cooks. Stir-frying brings out the sweetness of the cucumbers, and it’s quite delicious! It will be a nice addition to your Korean side dish repertoire.
Any thin-skinned, crunchy variety of cucumbers are good for this dish. Right now, Persian cucumbers are abundant in markets. They are crunchy, sweet, and have delicately thin skin, making it perfect for this dish. English cucumbers, which are usually sold wrapped in plastic, are also great for this dish.
You need to lightly salt the cucumbers first to draw out water, and then tightly squeeze out as much water content as possible. This process keeps the cucumbers crunchy even after being stir-fried.