Asian Cucumber Salad that’s extra refreshing because it is without soy sauce and any pungent ingredients like garlic or green onion. Ready in 5 minutes or less.
Asian Cucumber Salad is the name because I feel it is different from most Korean Oi Muchim recipes. I know some Oi Muchims (cucumber salad) are pretty loaded with seasonings of garlic and green onions (which is also good) but this recipe has none of that but just some purple onions. You may remember my previous Korean Cucumber Salad recipe which uses soy sauce for a deeper flavor and just some green onions. If you like soy sauce, try that recipe. But you have to also try this quick Asian Cucumber Salad as I feel it leaves the cucumber full of its own flavor and crunch.
This recipe for quick and easy Asian Cucumber Salad (I’m calling it that because I need to differentiate it with my other one.. ) came about because my daughter just kept telling me how much she loved this dish that is always served at one of our local Korean BBQ restaurant. So I decided I would try to come up with the recipe that tasted exactly like it. And I think I succeeded!
There are a few Korean BBQ restaurants in the bay area but out of all of them, if you asked me, I think I will probably say Ilbunji #1 is one of my and our family’s top favorite. It is a small restaurant (almost a hole in the wall), run by a family, with only about 10 tables or so but the meat quality is excellent and the side dishes have a totally home made taste to them. If you live in the bay area, this restaurant is a must visit even though it’s a bit pricy. Be aware that weekends can be really busy so go early if you are going to go on a weekend.
Oh and if you go, you have to try the pork jowl BBQ. Soo tender, so perfectly fatty and just packed with flavor. BTW, pork jowl is called Hangjeongssal 항정살 in Korean. If you need any help with Korean pork cuts, check out my Know Your Pork Cut post.
Korean Bath Houses and Cucumbers
I wanted to share a memory about cucumbers and bath houses…When I was in elementary school, my mom always took me to our local bath house (mok yok tang 목욕탕) every weekend to exfoliate 😜 or what Koreans say “ttae min da” (때민다).. haha… I don’t know if there’s an equivalent English term as it is much more than just exfoliate. You basically end up shedding the most outer layer of your skin. Skin doctors hate it but it feels so good afterwards, there is a level of addiction you get with it. When you are done, you feel extremely clean and totally reinvigorated. But I have to say I didn’t particularly enjoy the somewhat painful process of shedding myself or should we say being forced to shed as when you are a kid your mom will do it for you.
So often, you will hear kids kind of squeal and say “Mom! It hurts!!” And moms will say “Stay still! This will make you nice and clean!!” HAHAHA…Anyway, inside the bath house, you will also see many Korean women washing their face or hair with milk and then also grating cucumbers?!!! WHAAT?? What are they doing??? They make face packs with the grated cucumbers! They would just pile on grated cucumbers on their faces. Cucumber juice dripped everywhere and it gets really messy but because you are not wearing any clothes, it really doesn’t matter, does it? It was quite a scene to see women sitting or lying down naked but with stuff on their face. Sometimes the whole bath house would smell of cucumbers, rotten egg (if it was a mineral spring) and milk! 😜
No wonder Korean women have great skin, right? Sadly, many of these small neighborhood bath houses have disappeared now. They have been replaced by huge multi-story spas called Jjimjilbang 찜질방 which includes bath houses but also different cold and heat rooms made with various materials (wood, stone, gems,..), huge open areas with heated floors for napping (don’t worry here people wear clothes) and even restaurants within the facility. Some Koreans spend all day in Jjimjilbang with friends or family because they basically have everything that you would need and more. TVs are everywhere of course. Some Korean husbands end up sleeping overnight in Jjimjilbang when they get kicked out by their wives from their home for whatever reason. 😝 I’m sure you probably saw this at some point in Korean dramas..hahaha…
OK, let’s get back to using cucumbers a more delicious way —
Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe without Soy Sauce – GF, Vegan
Servings: 3 Cook Time: 5 min Difficulty: EASY
For this cucumber salad, you only need sesame seeds, salt, chili powder, sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil. See recipe below for amounts.
- Cut cucumbers into thin slices. You can cut at a diagonal or just straight in discs. Best thickness is about 1/8th inch thick. Also thinly slice quarter of a red onion.
- In a bowl, add cucumbers, onions and all the seasonings. Mix until cucumbers are evenly coated. It is best to let it sit a couple minutes before serving when the flavors have been absorbed by the cucumbers.
And there you go! It is just too simple to make but you will appreciate how great this Asian Cucumber Salad tastes with any other Asian or Korean food, especially grilled meats.
Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad without soy sauce and it's extra refreshing because it is without any pungent ingredients like garlic or green onion. Ready in 5 minutes or less.
- 1 piece cucumber Japanese or English (1 is about 9 oz)
- 1/4 red onion
- 4 tsp sugar
- 4.5 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (Trader Joe's) Trader Joe's
- 1.5 tsp red chili powder gochukaru
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
Cut cucumbers into thin slices. You can cut at a diagonal or just straight in discs. Best thickness is about 1/8th inch thick. Also thinly slice quarter of a red onion.
In a bowl, add cucumbers, onions and all the seasonings. Mix until cucumbers are evenly coated. It is best to let it sit a couple minutes before serving when the flavors have been absorbed by the cucumbers.
- It is best to use English, Japanese or pickle cucumbers. If you cannot get these, you can peel and remove seeds from common cucumbers.
- Store leftovers in the fridge. Good for 2-3 days.
- Adjust amount of red chili pepper powder and sugar to taste.
- It is best to use English, Japanese or pickle cucumbers. If you cannot get these, you can peel and remove seeds from common American slicer-type cucumbers that has a lot of seeds.
- Store leftovers in the fridge. Good for 2-3 days.
- Adjust amount of red chili powder and sugar to taste.