This spicy Korean cucumber salad is healthy and the perfect side dish for your Asian meal! For both kimchi lovers and haters alike!
Having grown up in Hawaii, I love all Asian foods. However, if I had to pick a favorite, Korean food is hands down the clear winner for me! Whenever we go back to the island to visit family, we always stop by the mall for some Yummy’s Korean BBQ!
Surprisingly, Oklahoma doesn’t have Korean fast food places 😉 so we’re left to make our own. With pretty much any Asian dish we’re eating, kimchi is a must! Some of you are like, “yuck!” I know kimchi is one of those foods you either love or hate.. I mean, not everyone’s going to enjoy eating stinky, fermented cabbage (what’s wrong with you people?!) But, whether you’re a kimchi fan or not, if you like cucumbers and spicy food, then this salad is a must-try!
This salad isn’t fermented, so you can rest assured that this will not taste like traditional kimchi (for all you haters out there!) But at the same time, if you’re a fan of kimchi, it is very reminiscent and therefore makes an awesome “quick kimchi” for those times you want some NOW (trust me, it happens!)
For me, this filled two 16-ounce mason jars. You can easily half the recipe, but if you’re making this for a get together or have spice lovers in your family, I might even suggest doubling it! It may seem like a lot as you’re slicing up the cucumbers, but they really do shrink down after they’re salted. In any case, I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did! Eat it with Asian food, ramen, sandwiches, pizza…anything you’d like to add a little spicy kick to—The sky’s the limit!
- 2 English cucumbers* or (or 6-8 Kirby cucumbers), thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2-4 tablespoons Korean Chile Flakes/Gochugaru (this is spicy, so start with less and add more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons honey or sugar, or more to taste
- 1–3 teaspoons Sesame Oil, to taste (optional)
- ½–1 teaspoon finely minced ginger, to taste
- sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional
- Slice your cucumbers about ⅛" thick. You can leave them whole or slice the cucumber in half first for bite-sized pieces.
- Place cucumber slices in a large bowl and mix in the salt. Let stand for 10-15 minutes (better if in the fridge) then drain all the excess water from the bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together green onions, garlic, rice vinegar, red pepper, honey, sesame oil, and ginger. For the ingredients which are listed as a range, I suggest starting with the lesser amount and adding more to taste. (don't add more salt just yet, because the cucumbers will be salty)
- When you're happy with the flavor of the mixture, add it to the salted cucumbers.
- Salad can be eaten right away, but is best after a few hours when the flavors have developed. Add additional salt as needed. Store leftovers in an airtight container/jar in the fridge for up to a week.