Korean Cucumber Salad (called Oi-Muchim) is crunchy, savory, with a touch of sweetness and just enough heat. This naturally vegan and vibrant side dish (banchan) is quick and easy to make, perfect for summer with a bowl of steamed rice and a chilled glass of Riesling!

Korean cucumber salad in a plate with chopsticks and a glass of white wine on the side

What is Oi-Muchim?

Oi-Muchim is a Korean banchan (side dish) made with thinly sliced cucumbers, Gochugaru (Korean chili powder), garlic, along with other seasoning such as vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, or soy sauce.

Why you should try this recipe

  • Easy and super quick to make – Just chop the cucumbers and scallion, make the express Gochugaru seasoning, mix everything together, and you’re done! For more ideas of fresh easy salads, you can also check out my Peach Caprese Salad with Burrata, Shirazi Salad, or Panzanella.
  • Vegan and super fresh – whether you are vegan or not, this Oi Muchin is perfect for light summer lunches paired with steamed rice, or to serve at barbecues.
  •  Traditional Korean banchan (side dish) – that is crunchy, tangy with just enough heat. An avalanche of flavors and sensations!
cucumbers, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, gochugaru and salt on a wooden table

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The ingredients you’ll need

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

  • Cucumbers – I love using small Persian or Korean cucumbers as they are extra crispy, but a regular English cucumber works well too.
  • Green onion – for a bright peppery touch that elevates the cucumber flavor.
  • Rice vinegar – white vinegar works too!
  • Toasted sesame oil – is a crucial element to Oi Muchim with its luscious, bold and nutty flavor.
  • Toasted sesame seeds – bring nuttiness and texture to the salad.
  • Gorchugaru (Korean coarsely ground chili powder) – this seedless and smoky chili powder is really the best for this recipe. I do not recommend substituting this ingredient.
  • Garlic (grated or crushed) adds depth to the salad.
  • Light brown sugar (granulated sugar or agave syrup works too) – adds a slight sweetness to the seasoning.
  • Salt – to season.
gochugaru in a red pich bowl

How to make Korean Cucumber Salad?

(Note: please see the recipe card below for the complete written instructions and measurements.)

Start by chopping the vegetables:

  • Thoroughly rinse the cucumber and pat it dry with a kitchen cloth.
  • Trim both ends and cut it in half, lengthwise. 
  • Cut slices diagonally, about ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the green onion and add to the mixing bowl, along with the toasted sesame seeds and salt.

Make the seasoning:

  • In a small bowl, add rice vinegar, light brown sugar, grated garlic, sesame oil, and gochugaru. Stir well to let the sugar dissolve.  

Assemble the salad:

  • Add the spicy seasoning to the mixing bowl and stir until well-coated. Enjoy immediately or let it sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to infuse even more.

  • It’s ready! Serve with a bowl of steamed rice or as a side to your favorite barbecue item. Pair this salad with a chilled glass of Riesling if you are in the mood for wine.
Korean cucumber salad in a plate with chopsticks and a glass of white wine on the side

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. Choosing cucumbers – I recommend choosing thinner cucumbers such as Korean, Japanese, or Persian cucumbers. They are crunchier and more flavorful than bigger and larger cucumbers, which are often more watery.
  2. Adjusting the heat – I went with 2 teaspoons of Gochugaru because this is the right amount for my taste. If you are not used to eating spicy food, I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon and adjusting the heat to your liking. If heat is your thing, go with 1 tablespoon of Gochugaru.🔥
  3. Make ahead instructions – If making this recipe in advance: to keep the cucumbers crunchy for longer, I recommend adding salt to the chopped cucumber and letting it sit for 10–15 minutes. This process helps draw moisture out of the cucumbers, enhancing their crunchiness over time. Then, drain the excess water and add the green onion, sesame seeds, and seasoning. Stir well and store, covered, in the fridge, until ready to serve. Note that this salad is at its crunchiest when enjoyed straight away.

a hand with chopsticks over a plate of Korean cucumber salad

Wine Pairing for Korean Cucumber Salad🍷


RIESLING

This wonderful grape variety produces aromatic white wines that often display aromas of candied lemon, pineapple, and ripe apricot. Riesling wines are often a great match for spicy dishes such as this Korean Cucumber Salad.

They will match the bold flavors of this dish thanks to its natural acidity and lemony notes while balancing the heat of the gochugaru with its slight sweetness.

Riesling wines can be made in a wide range of sweetness levels, from bone dry to sweet. I recommend an off-dry Riesling (meaning the wine will be slightly sweet) to pair with this recipe. Make sure to ask your wine shop as it is not always written on the label.

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Off-dry Riesling from Mosel (Germany)
  • Off-dry Riesling from Finger Lakes (United States)
  • Off-dry Riesling from Clare Valley (Australia)

close-up of Oi-muchim in a plate with chopsticks

FAQ


How long does it keep? 

This Korean Cucumber Salad can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. It will be less crunchy but delicious, as the veggies will have soaked up the flavors even more.

I do not have Gochugaru on hand, can I use Gochujang?

Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste) is saltier than gochugaru. If you wish to use gochujang, reduce the salt quantity and adjust to taste. Note that gochujang will impart a different taste to Oi-Muchim than gochugaru.

What to serve with Oi-Muchim?

This Korean Cucumber Salad is a traditional banchan (side dish) and is usually served with a bowl of steamed rice or barbecue.

Other Delicious Salad Recipes


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Korean cucumber salad in a plate with chopsticks and a glass of white wine on the side

Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi-Muchim)

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time : 15 minutes
Total Time : 15 minutes
Servings : 4
Korean Cucumber Salad (called Oi-Muchim) is crunchy, savory, with a touch of sweetness and just enough heat. This naturally vegan and vibrant side dish (banchan) is quick and easy to make, perfect for summer with a bowl of steamed rice and a chilled glass of Riesling!

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 1 pound (450 g) cucumbers (Korean, Persian and Japanese cucumbers are ideal but English works too)
  • cup (35 g) green onion
  • 2 heaping teaspoons (7 g) sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice vinegar (alternatively, use white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 small garlic clove grated or thinly minced
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) gochugaru (Korean chili powder), adjust more or less according to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Thoroughly rinse the cucumbers and pat them dry with a kitchen cloth.
  • Trim both ends and cut it in half, lengthwise. Cut diagonally, about ¼ inch (0.5 cm) slices. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the green onion and add to the mixing bowl, along with toasted sesame seeds and salt.
  • In a small bowl, add rice vinegar, light brown sugar, grated garlic, sesame oil, and gochugaru. Stir well to let the sugar dissolve.  
  • Add the spicy seasoning to the mixing bowl and stir until well-coated. Enjoy immediately or let it sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to infuse even more.
  • It's ready! Serve with a bowl of steamed rice or as a side to your favorite barbecue item. Pair this salad with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc if you are in the mood for wine.

NOTES

  1. Choosing cucumbers - I recommend choosing thinner cucumbers such as Korean, Japanese, or Persian cucumbers. They are crunchier and more flavorful than bigger and larger cucumbers that are often more watery.
  2. Adjusting the heat - I went with 2 teaspoons of Gochugaru because this is the right amount for my taste. If you are not used to eating spicy food, I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon and adjusting the heat to your liking. If heat is your thing, go with 1 tablespoon of Gochugaru.🔥
  3. Make ahead instructions - If making this recipe in advance: to keep the cucumbers crunchy for longer, I recommend adding salt to the chopped cucumber and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes. This process helps draw moisture out of the cucumbers, enhancing their crunchiness over time. Then, drain the excess water and add the green onion, sesame seeds, and seasoning. Stir well and store, covered in the fridge, until ready to serve. Note that this salad is at its crunchiest when enjoyed straight away.
Calories: 63kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 602mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 461IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Course Salad
Cuisine Korean
Diet Vegan
Did you make this recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below to let me know how it went!
5 from 2 votes

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