Shrimp Salad with Hot Mustard Dressing (Saewu Naengchae)

This simple and refreshing Korean shrimp salad is packed with flavors and heat! It’s an easy recipe that’s perfect as an elegant starter, side dish or light meal!

Shrimp salad stacked up on a plate with mustard dressing

Here’s another great Korean-style salad recipe! It’s a shrimp salad with a hot mustard (gyeoja) dressing (겨자소스), which is a classic Korean sauce. As mentioned in the chicken salad post, this type of cold salad dish is called naengchae in Korean, so the Korean name of this dish is saewu naengchae (새우냉채) or saewu gyeoja naengchae (새우겨자냉채). The simple and refreshing dish is perfect as an elegant starter, side dish or light meal!

Which shrimp to use for shrimp salad

For this salad, any size of shrimp works. I typically use 21 to 25 count, but smaller ones are fine too. To stack the ingredients up as seen in the first photo, I cut the shrimp in half lengthwise by cutting along the back all the way through. It’s up to you whether to leave the tails on. 

I poached the shrimp in a simple salt and lemon water. You can, of course, use your favorite way to poach them for cocktail shrimp. If you want, buy good quality peeled and deveined cooked shrimp to make it even quicker and easier. 

Vegetables for shrimp salad

I typically pair the shrimp with cucumber and Korean pear slices for this salad. Korean pears are sweet, juicy and crunchy, making it perfect for salads. You can use apple slices instead if Korean/Asian pears are unavailable. Colorful bell peppers are also great additions. 

For the presentation, I sometimes stack the thinly sliced salad ingredients, especially for individual or small servings, but you can arrange them on a plate anyway you want. When I use bell peppers, I julienne the fruit and vegetables and arrange them by color with the shrimp on top.

Here, I’m showing you two different ways to serve this Korean shrimp salad. However, feel free to use your creativity to make your own beautiful plate. You can easily double this recipe for a potluck or dinner party.

Shrimp salad on a bed of vegetables and lemon

How to make hot mustard dressing (gyeoja sauce)

The hot mustard (gyeoja), also known as spicy yellow mustard, adds flavorful heat to this salad. When first mixed, the heat can be intense, but it gradually dissipates over time. You can use a powder version (gyeojabun, 겨자분, or gyeoja garu, 겨자가루) or a paste version (called yeongyeoja, 연겨자) sold in a tube for this recipe. Although not traditional, you can use yellow or dijon mustard if you like.  

Making the dressing is simple! Combine the ingredients and whisk together until smooth. You can serve the dressing drizzled over the salad or on the side.

Mustard dressing drizzled over the shrimp salad

This Korean shrimp salad recipe was originally posted in October 2010. I’ve updated it here with new photos, recipe card, and minor changes to the recipe.

More Korean cold salad recipe

Chicken salad (dak naengchae)
Tofu salad 

Have you tried this shrimp salad recipe?  Please rate the recipe below by either clicking the stars or leaving a comment! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram! Stay in touch by following me onPinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Shrimp salad stacked up on a plate with mustard dressing

Korean Shrimp Salad with Hot Mustard Dressing

4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe


  • This simple and refreshing salad is packed with flavors and heat! Perfect as an elegant starter, a side dish or a light meal!


Hot mustard dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons hot mustard powder (gyeoja, 겨자) If using prepared paste, use 1 tablespoon and add 1 tablespoon water to thin it.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • 2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers (or 1 Korean cucumber)
  • 1/2 Korean pear
  • radish sprouts for garnish optional
  • 1/4 lemon
  • Optional vegetables:
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 orange bell pepper


  • 10 large shrimp 21-25 counts, shelled and deveined (more if using smaller shrimp)
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Mix the mustard with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate while preparing the other ingredients.
    stirring mustard sauce with a spoon
  • Cut the cucumbers and pear into thin slices
    Thinly sliced pear and cucumbers on a cutting board
  • OR if using optional bell peppers, julienne the fruit and vegetables.
    vegetables for shrimp salad
  • Have a bowl of ice water ready near the stove top. Bring a small pot of water (4 cupto a gentle boil over medium heat. Add salt, lemon and shrimp and simmer uncovered until the shrimp turn opaque and curl, about 40 seconds. Remove immediately and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking and chill. Drain.
    Poaching shrimp in a pot
  • Remove immediately and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking and chill. Drain. Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise, if desired.
    Cooling shrimp in ice water in a bowl
  • Nicely arrange the cucumber, pear and shrimp (or optional julienned vegetables and pear) on a plate. Spoon the dressing over, or serve it on the side. Garnish with optional radish sprouts and/or lemon.
    Arranging shrimp salad ingredients on a plate
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