Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Salad)

Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Side Dish)
One of the greatest joys of summer is the abundance of fresh vegetables. Among them are locally grown Korean cucumbers that are bountiful in Korean markets here in Northern Virginia. This year, I adopted a few small plants from my father, who is an avid gardener, to grow them in containers on my balcony.
Korean cucumbers are light in color, slender, and bumpy with thin skin. They are less seedy, very crispy and tasty. I might be a little biased, but I think they are the best of all cucumber varieties.
Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Side Dish)
Using a cucumber I picked from my container garden, I made this very simple but popular Korean side dish called oi muchim (oi means cucumber, and muchim means mixed with seasonings). I like to lightly salt the cucumber slices first and let them stand for a while to draw out water. This process gives it an extra crunch. This spicy, slightly sweet and tangy cucumber dish will be an excellent complement to any of your main dishes.


1 Korean cucumber or 2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) – use less if desired
1 tablespoon chopped scallion
1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Thinly slice the cucumber (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick). Toss gently with salt and set aside for 15 -20 minutes.

Drain excess liquid. (Avoid squeezing them because they will bruise.) Mix well with all of the remaining ingredients.


  1. That is something i will love!

  2. The pickles look perfect!

  3. This looks lovely. I usually make the Japanese version (it’s very similar — just with out pepper, garlic, and onion), but I would love this one too! Yum!

  4. oh yummy! I made oi muchim for the first time last week, and I enjoyed it very much. Hooray for summer vegetables!

  5. I love Korean cucumbers! This dish looks like something I’d enjoy at one of our nearby restaurants only I’m certain yours tastes much better! P.s – I like the new background!

  6. What a perfect summer salad! Love the vibrant green 🙂

  7. Thank you everyone for such nice words! It’s always nice to see you here.

    Melissa – I like the Japanese version too. Koreans also make this without hot pepper flakes for a milder dish.

  8. You don’t know how happy I am to see this! I always OD on this relish when I eat at Korean restaurants and would try sneaking some off home, if I could get away with it LOL Surprisingly, I have never been able to buy this though it’s simple enough to find commercially prepared kim chi. Thanks! Really appreciate the recipe, which I’ve bookmarked to try out 🙂

  9. Thank you, Denise. This is really easy and versatile. You can make any way you want. Reduce hot pepper flakes if you like it less spicy, or increase vinegar if you want it to be a little more tangy, etc. Also, you don’t have to salt first if you want it to be like fresh salad. Enjoy!

  10. This looks so appetizing! Would be great with rice and one of those doenjang base hotpots.

  11. Yes, it would go wonderfully with doenjang jjigae.
    (http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2010/04/doenjang-jjigae-korean-soy-bean-paste.html) Thanks for stopping by!

  12. just made this! I love your recipe :]]

  13. Thanks, rurounilucy! I am thrilled to hear you like my recipe! Happy cooking!

  14. I just made this today. Thanks for the recipe! It was so easy! I couldn’t stop eating the cucumbers after I made the first batch. It was truly delicious!

  15. Anonymous says:

    This looks wonderful! How long can I keep this or it is best eaten freshly made?