Recipe: Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

published Jun 29, 2012
Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)
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(Image credit: Emily Han)

Do you enjoy eating spicy food in hot weather? I love the refreshing combination of cool cucumbers and hot chile peppers, as in the case of Korean oi muchim. This quick and easy salad makes a great potluck dish, or a fiery alternative to kosher dill or bread and butter pickles alongside sandwiches. And, of course, it’s excellent alongside Korean BBQ (meat or tofu).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This spicy cucumber salad contains many of the same ingredients as cucumber kimchi but it isn’t fermented, so you can eat it right away. I like to use Kirby or pickling cucumbers, which have a firm, crisp texture, thin skin, and small seeds. Korean, Japanese, and Persian cucumbers may also be used.

The cucumbers are thinly sliced and coated in a zesty blend of vinegar, sesame, and gochugaru (also known as Korean red pepper powder, which I highly recommend keeping as a pantry staple). It takes seconds to prepare, yet it’s big on flavor and refreshment. What more could you want on a hot day?!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 teaspoons

    rice vinegar

  • 1-2 teaspoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1

    scallion, chopped

  • 2

    Kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/8-inch thick


  1. Combine all ingredients except cucumbers in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.

  2. Add cucumber slices and toss to coat (wear gloves and use your hands, or use tongs).

  3. Serve room temperature or chilled.

(Images: Emily Ho)