Korean Cucumber Salad
This vibrant, sesame scented cucumber salad is a common sight on Korean tables. We enjoy this with just about anything, but they are particularly good served with barbecued chicken, steaks, or burgers.
This is a great recipe for picnics or outdoor summertime dining. It can be made a day or two ahead and holds up well. Any thin, seedless cucumber will work well for this but try to find Persian cucumbers-small, seedless cucumbers that are about 5-6 inches long that require no peeling. These crisp, very sweet and mild cucumbers have less moisture than the more common garden varieties and don’t become excessively watery when seasoned with mixtures that contain salt. They are easy to find in any of the Asian markets here in Las Vegas. Our Wal-Mart and Alberstson’s here also carry them where they are labeled “snacking cucumbers” and usually sold in packages of 4-6 cucumbers in a package.
The Korean style hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) used here aren’t the fiery Italian pizza shop pepper flakes made from cayenne pepper. Korean style pepper flakes are sweet and fragrant with just a hint of heat. If you are unable to find them, substitute with regular, fresh paprika, either Hungarian or Spanish, and just a pinch of Cayenne pepper. This is the secret ingredient in our dry rubs for good ol’ American BBQ chicken and ribs. It’s worth seeking out if you are lucky enough to have an Asian market in your area. If not, it’s readily available on-line through numerous sites that carry Korean grocery staples.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of cucumber salad but can be easily doubled or tripled for a larger batch.
Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
4-5 Persian cucumbers, small pickling cucumbers or 1 thin English cucumber
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Korean pepper flakes
2 minced green onions
2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Thinly slice the cucumbers. Toss gently with salt and set aside for 15 -20 minutes. Drain excess liquid, but do not rinse or squeeze to avoid bruising. Place in a medium mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients, toss well and refrigerate until ready to serve.