You can make this Korean spicy cucumber salad with any crunchy cucumbers. It’ll add delicious spiciness to any Korean meal.
Oi muchim (오이무침) is a spicy cucumber salad. Oi means cucumber, and muchim means mixed with seasonings. It’s a simple side dish (banchan) you can make with any crunchy cucumbers such as Korean cucumbers, pickling cucumbers (aka Kirby), Persian, English, Japanese cucumbers, etc. It’s delicious with any Korean meal and can be a quick kimchi substitute.
While any crunchy cucumbers are good for this dish, I personally love Korean cucumbers. They are bountiful in Korean markets around here in summertime. I’ve also been growing them in my backyard. 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.
How to make spicy cucumber salad
To make oi muchim, lightly salt the cucumber slices first and let them stand for a while to draw out water. Drain off excess liquid. Cucumbers have high water content, so removing excess moisture after salting keeps the dish from being too watery. The salting process gives the dish an extra crunch as well. Avoid squeezing and bruising the cucumbers for this dish.
Combine the cucumber slices with the seasoning ingredients, and mix well. It may look a little dry at this point, but the cucumber slices will continue to release water content. As always, taste a piece and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Watch how to make it
More cucumber recipes
Oi kimchi (cucumber kimchi)
Oi sobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi)
Oiji (Korean pickled cucumbers)
Oi naengguk (chilled cucumber soup)
Oi bokkeum (stir-fried cucumbers)
For more Korean cooking inspirations, follow along on YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Salad)Side Dish
Servings: 4Print Recipe
- 1 Korean cucumber or 2 Kirby pickling cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Korean red chili pepper flakes gochugaru (고추가루) – 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 about 15 minutes.
- Drain excess liquid. Avoid squeezing them because they will bruise. Mix well with all of the remaining ingredients. Taste a little and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!
Julian Powell says
I used the English cucumber, halved horizontal then peeled. I did mix my sauce separately while the cucumbers were salted, then combined. The dish did not last long. Spicy, but very pleasant. I’ll try to find Korean cucumbers next, but I’m not sure where to find them. Will make it again either with Korean, English, or small pickling cucumbers.
I made this today and it was very good! Thank you 🙂
My new favorite. Cool, but hot. Perfect on a summer day.
Great easy recipe and turned out super yummy! My family lived it for K-bbq night.
This is my go-to Oi Muchim salad! We have loads of cucumbers growing in our garden so this will be made a lot in the coming months. I also have a cucumber, spice-obsessed 9-year-old in the house. Yes, she ADORES kimchi too!
FANTASTIC! When our favorite Korean restaurant closed my daughter was yearning for a Korean meal with excellent banchan. Last night I made a large meal and included this in these cucumbers. I find myself making this now, again, the next morning to deliver to my daughter. She went crazy for it. I have a feeling I will be making this every week.
Absolutely delicious and even better the next day! Made this cucumber dish as a side for your instant pot kimchi jjigae for dinner last night and that was perfect also.
oh sounds great together with kimchi jjigae!! Yes, definitely better after sitting for some time. Glad you had a delicious dinner. Thank you!
Oh wow! This was amazing! My husband made them a few hours before we ate the oi muchim, and the cucumbers were still crispy. He loved them freshly made and after they had been sitting for a while. This is a keeper. Thank you!
Glad to hear that! Thanks for trying it out!!
about a year ago i moved from san francisco to germany and my takeout options took a huge hit. i really miss good korean banchan—oi muchim especially, which is wild because i don’t like cucumbers. 😅 this hit the spot perfectly. thanks so much for posting your recipes, i don’t know how i’d survive rural europe without the diversity of cuisine i’m used to from home. 🥰
This was amazing as good as some of the restaurants I’ve visited in New Malden, London (or otherwise known as little Korea) I paired with your Dak Bulgogi and a kimchi fried rice it went down very well thank you!!
That’s great to hear!! Thank you! Oh good to know there’s little Korea in London.
Cassidy Clark says
Just did this without the Korean red chili pepper for my kiddo and it still tastes great!
Angelica casas says
I like to much it’s my favorite food thanks for Teaching how to do it
Is that 1 tsp of table salt?
Yes, you can use table salt.
My son is home from Korea after living in Seoul for several years. I made this for him and he said it was just like the banchan from there. His favorite and now mine too. It’s simple and quick!
That’s awesome! Thanks for letting me know.
Joseph S Eggly says
I don’t know the flavor of the Korean pepper powder or flakes. I do have Gochujang on hand. Can I mix some into the vinegar and oil to blend and then add other ingredients?
You can use a little bit of gochujang, but remember gochujang is salty and slightly sweet. Gochugaru, on the other hand, is not seasoned.
Hi! Ist it fine to use regular chili flakea instead of the gochugaru? Thanks.
No it’ll not be the same. You can try to add a little bit to add some heat to your cucumbers.but don’t use too much. I can be very spicy.
So easy and tasty! I try to comment on recipes I try from the internet. I pretty much eyeballed everything using a little more vinegar. Perfect. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
I like your easy side dishes! Thank you
So simple and so tasty. I’ve tried other similar recipes and they didn’t hit the spot, tastewise. I love this one! I did half/half plain oil/sesame oil though, because past experience has taught me that toasted sesame oil can be overpowering.
For some reason it’s not as spicy or salty as in the restaurants here in Toronto. I doubled the oil and vinegar and sugar and it spread better.
One Korean cucumber is about equal to two mini cucumbers, but if you can find an Asian market (thank goodness we have a good number of them here) the korean cucumbers can not be beat for this! This will be on my menu for a long time to come!
Jason Brown says
My mother in law (from Korea) used the same recipe only addition was Gochujang paste. These are my absolute favorite side dish
Achala Rockwell says
how much paste? Please let me know.
Would it be possible to give the cucumber amount in either grams, ounces or cups? Thanks.
+1 this would have been helpful. Google sez the average Korean cuke is about 17″ x 2″, so I went with that.
Denny Li says
This is my favorite banchan! The first time I made it, it looked dry, so I added gochujang. It was good, but not right. The second time I made it, I let it sit a bit. Water was drawn out from the cucumber and made a “sauce”. Tastes right and looks right too. Everytime I see Persian cucumbers at the market, I think about making this dish.
Ger (BK) says
We really enjoyed the cucumbers prepared this way. They were awesome, spicy and hot. Thank you for sharing a recipe we will enjoy again. Made for What’s on the menu? tag game.
Ger (BK) says
Great recipe, we really enjoyed the cucumbers prepared this way. Hot and spicy just the way we like them. They were a lovely side dish for our Korean Meal. Thanks so much for sharing a recipe that we will enjoy again. Made for What’s on the menu? tag game – 2020.
Ger (BK) says
I made your lovely recipe as written using regular English Cucumbers. They worked great; we loved the spicy taste of the cool cucumbers. Thanks for sharing your recipe, your side dishes were a lovely addition to our Korean Chicken dinner. I also served your hobak bokkeum dish. It also was wonderful. Loved that the fish sauce was subtle in this stir fried dish. These two dishes were made for What’s on the Menu? tag game – 2020.
I’m excited to try this. You mention vinegar in this recipe, is it most authentic with rice wine vinegar or a different vinegar?
Any clear vinegar is fine. Depending on the flavor of vinegar, the taste will be slightly different but it doesn’t make it not authentic. Enjoy!
Hi thank you for the receipt. How long can you keep the cucumbers in the fridge for?
It will keep well 3 to 4 days.
I was wondering the same! Thanks!
Easy and delicious! Included this with dinner along with your eggplant recipe. I left out the sugar and sesame seeds (ran out of seeds) and still we loved it. Thank you!
Great! Yup sugar and sesame seeds can certainly be subject to taste.
Delicious!!! I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and I finally tried it today! 🙂 Ever since my trip to Korea in June, I have been making a lot of Korean food. Thank you, Hyosun Ro, I love your blog and your recipes!! They are just what I have been looking for. I have tried making quite a few of them, and they transport my tastebuds back to Korea….mmm… 맛있어요 ^^
Can we use olive oil instead of sesame oil
Daniel Beers says
I’ve used olive oil because I was out of sesame oil. I gave the dish a different and not appealing flavor…jmo
Thank you very much for posting this recipe! I made this yesterday as a side dish for dinner and my hubby loves it!
Marti Hand says
I love this recipe! Thank you for sharing.
KELLI CALDWELL says
Hi, I was wondering if I make a large batch, how long these will stay good in the refrigerator? Thanks!
This dish will be better to be consumed in 4 to 5 days. Make this kimchi version to keep it longer. https://www.koreanbapsang.com/2011/08/oi-kimchi-cucumber-kimchi-and-blog.html!
Hope this helps!
This was excellent! I used mini cucumbers since the Korean market is over 50 miles away, and it worked just as well. Going to make some today!
Anna Banana says
I just made this dish and it was very delicious!!
Only changes made were: I used cheap, regular cucumbers (I peeled off the thick, waxy skin) and used rice vinegar instead of white vinegar. I am so excited to make this with Korean cucumbers now!
I’m glad you tried it with regular cucumbers. Other cucumbers such as kirby, English, Japanese, and Persian cucumbers will work well too. Thanks for coming by and leaving me a note. Really appreciate it!
Easy and delicious. Every time I make spicy pork I make this recipe.
Yes it’s easy and delicious! Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you for posting these great recipes. Tonight I made pan fried tofu with plum sauce, and for sides I served pickled daikon and carrots, kimchi and this cucumber dish. It was great.
Emmeline St. Vaughn says
Thank you so much for this simple, yet delicious recipe! We had guests over and were planning to cook pre-marinated bulgogi so I was looking for a simple Korean vegetable side dish that I could prepare and found this on your website. It was so easy to make and just as delicious as what I’ve had at one of our local restaurants. Everyone loved it! And I love the fact that you started your blog as a way of helping your adult children learn how to cook their favorite dishes. As the daughter of Asian-immigrant parents, I totally relate and only wish my mom was tech-savvy enough to do the same! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
You’re welcome, Emmeline! I’m so happy to hear my recipe worked out well for your dinner party. Ha ha — I didn’t know what I was getting into. It took a lot of learning, but it’s been rewarding to see my children, their friends, and readers like you make Korean food using my recipes. Thanks for coming by and leaving me the comments! It really means so much to me.
This looks wonderful! How long can I keep this or it is best eaten freshly made?
Hyosun Ro says
It’s best eaten within a couple of days. Hope you try it. Thanks!
the nosy food critic says
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!
Hyosun Ro says
Thanks, rurounilucy! I am thrilled to hear you like my recipe! Happy cooking!
just made this! I love your recipe :]]
Hyosun Ro says
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!
This looks so appetizing! Would be great with rice and one of those doenjang base hotpots.
Hyosun Ro says
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!
denise @ quickies on the dinner table says
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 🙂
Hyosun Ro says
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.
Lawyer Loves Lunch says
What a perfect summer salad! Love the vibrant green 🙂
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!
oh yummy! I made oi muchim for the first time last week, and I enjoyed it very much. Hooray for summer vegetables!
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!
penny aka jeroxie says
That is something i will love!
Carol Egbert says
The pickles look perfect!