This Korean cucumber salad is a quick and easy recipe with both spicy and tangy notes, for a truly delicious culinary journey. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.
🥒 What is Korean Cucumber Salad?
There are a few different variations of a cucumber salad in Korean cuisine. This Korean cucumber salad is one of the spicier and richer varieties of Korean cucumber salad to be found and features the Korean chili flakes gochugaru. This salad is also known as “oi muchim” or “oi saengche”. It is also considered a “banchan” which is a small Korean side dish that can be served alongside rice.
❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This Korean cucumber salad recipe is super easy to make.
- You can serve it as an appetizer, or side dish, or if you’re anything like me, it makes a great main dish, too (I can so just sit and eat a large bowl)!
- This salad has a refreshing crunch.
- The flavors of this cucumber salad include sweet, salty, umami, and spicy. It is complex and delicious!
- You can make this salad and enjoy it right away or make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.
- Naturally vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
🌶️ Ingredients and Substitutes
Cucumbers: If you cannot find Korean cucumbers, Persian cucumbers work very well as far as replicating the taste of Korean cucumbers. Otherwise, Kirby cucumbers or even English cucumbers will get the job done.
Garlic: Minced garlic really works well with the gochugaru and adds immense flavor.
Green onion: Green onions contributes greatly to both the flavor and texture of this recipe. If you do not have green onion, you can use chives, red or white onion, or a shallot instead.
Salt: I like to use sea salt or pink Himalayan salt in this recipe for the best results.
Gochugaru: Gochugaru are Korean red chili flakes. They have a mildly spicy, smoky flavor and are highly recommended for this recipe. You can use conventional red pepper flakes for a still tasty recipe, but the flavor will be different than the more traditional Korean flavors intended in this recipe.
Soy sauce: Soy sauce adds some umami notes and some saltiness. Use gluten-free soy sauce if necessary, and while the flavor will be slightly different coconut aminos taste really wonderful in this recipe, too, and makes a suitable substitute.
Toasted sesame oil: Toasted sesame oil is very different than regular sesame oil so I do recommend using the toasted variety in this recipe for best results.
Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar adds some acidity to this salad. Feel free to use any vinegar you have on hand instead.
Sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add a delightful flavor and crunch to finish off this salad. You can buy pre-toasted sesame seeds or simply place raw sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, or until they smell toasty.
Our favorite gochugaru to use in this recipe.
🔪 How to Make Korean Cucumber Salad
- You will start by salting the sliced cucumbers, then draining excess moisture.
- You will then toss the cucumber slices with the remaining ingredients.
- You can enjoy it right away or chill it in the refrigerator.
This Korean cucumber salad will keep stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
🍽️ Serving Ideas
Some other ways to enjoy it:
- Include it in a cheese quesadilla.
- Use it to top off french fries (no, really!!).
- Serve alongside soup.
- Top off a slice of pizza (so good!).
❓Frequently Asked Questions
Gochugaru are Korean red pepper flakes made from the Korean red chile now as “gochu”. You can find it in both coarse flake form and chili powder form. It is commonly used in the Korean chile paste known as gochujang.
Korean cucumbers are thin-skinned, slightly sweet cucumbers used in Korean cuisine.
Korean cucumber salad is mild to medium spicy depending on how much gochugaru is used.
🥗 More Delicious Salad Recipes
Korean Cucumber Salad
- 2 Korean, Kirby or Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru Korean chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons brown rice syrup or Korean rice syrup or any sugar/sweetener of choice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds you can toast raw sesame seeds for a few minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat or buy pre-toasted sesame seeds
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced cucumber and salt.
- Toss to coat, then allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- After ten minutes, squeeze the cucumbers with your hands and discard all excess liquid.
- Add the garlic, onion, gochugaru, sesame oil, brown rice syrup, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame seeds.
- Toss all to coat.