A staple in the repertoire of Korean side dishes, this Korean cucumber salad (oi muchim) is incredibly easy to make with no cooking required. Spicy, aromatic and crunchy, watch it get devoured in seconds!
Slice the cucumbers and gently toss them through with 1 tsp of salt. The salt will draw out the moisture from the cucumber.
Place the cucumber in a colander or sieve over a mixing bowl to catch the water. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Chop the whole sprig of scallion or green onion.
Mince enough garlic to yield 1 tsp, or you can use the Korean minced garlic in a jar.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the dried-out cucumber, scallion or green onion, and garlic. Then add gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar. Gently mix them together until the cucumber is well coated.
You can use any type of cucumber as long as they are fairly thin. It is better not to use the bigger cucumbers as they tend to have too many seeds.
You can use either scallions or green onions for this recipe, although it is advisable not to use green onions where the bulb is too big as it would overpower the flavours.
If you’re making a big batch of Korean banchan of varying kinds, you can purchase the Korean minced garlic in a jar. This will save you a ton of time having to mince fresh garlic by hand.
There is no perfect substitute for gochugaru. It is hot, sweet and smoky. Cayenne pepper and chili powder may give you the heat, but they won’t give you the sweetness and smokiness. You can mix smoky paprika with cayenne pepper to try and emulate a suitable replacement for gochugaru.