Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by Share My Kitchen
Korean Cucumber Salad is the best name for this recipe in English. It’s funny, though, since it was also troublesome coming up with the Korean name. Is it Oi Muchim (oi muchim) or Oi Saengche (oi saengcae)? As you can see, “oi” is a Korean word that means cucumber. The next word, however, comes from a different source.
Korean Cucumber Salad Origins
So, here’s a quick lesson in the Korean language. You may not know, but the Korean language vocabulary consists of two sets of words. The first derives from Chinese characters (Hanja), called Sino-Korean vocabulary. Then the second is from Korean characters called Hangul, the “pure” Korean vocabulary. In 1443, King Sejong invented the phonetically-based Korean alphabet called Hangul. The Koreans had their own language but used Chinese characters to write.
According to Wikipedia, “King Sejong explained that the Korean language was fundamentally different from Chinese; using Chinese characters (known as hanja) to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats (yangban) could read and write fluently.” The majority of Koreans were effectively illiterate before the invention of Hangul. ” This sounds like quite a rich history.
“Muchim“, in pure Korean, means “to “coat/toss with sauce.” Saengche comes from the Chinese term Sheng Cai which means “live vegetables”, rather than dead = cooked. However, despite that quick little lesson, this Korean cucumber salad recipe could be called either oi multim or oi seachche. It isn’t the traditional Korean cucumber side dish heavily coated with “yangnyeom” or chili powder and garlic. Those recipes are also delicious, but this Korean cucumber salad has lighter seasoning. It allows for the cucumbers’ refreshing flavors to shine through.
This Korean cucumber salad is a great side dish that you can make in a hurry. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare, depending on how fast your cutting speed is. This cucumber salad, or muchim, can be served as a side dish at a barbecue or in lunch boxes.
Easy Recipe for Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
- 1 cucumber (Japanese, English, Persian, and Pickling are all good) – about 1 1/2 cup sliced for 1 cucumber
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce or Jin Ganjang
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp Korean red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, chopped
Step-by-step Instructions for making Korean Cucumber Salad
- Cut cucumbers into thin slices. Around 1/8 inch (3 mm).
- In a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Then, add the mixture into the bowl containing the cucumbers.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and sesame seeds. Mix well and taste. You can add more chili powder if you prefer spicy food. It will allow you to adjust the amount of chili powder according to how spicy you like it.
- Then, mix in chopped green onions.
Serve immediately to get the best fresh and crunchy cucumber flavor. It is okay to let the dressing sit for up to 10 to 15 minutes so that the cucumbers can absorb it.
- It can be refrigerated for up to a week and served cold. Just make sure to refresh it with some fresh green onions and sesame seeds.
- This Korean cucumber salad, or Oi Muchim, the recipe is more like a salad compared to the more heavy-seasoned, spicy, and garlicky Oi Muchim you find in many online recipes. Although a Korean cucumber salad with more seasonings is also good, you may prefer this version if you like tasting the freshness of cucumbers.