Korean-Inspired Pickled Cucumbers

These spicy pickled cucumbers are inspired by oi muchim, a Korean side dish of sliced cucumbers mixed with seasonings--specifically gochugaru, or Korean-style red pepper powder. You can enjoy these cucumbers on their own as a crunchy snack or work them into sandwiches, noodle dishes and more.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups
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1 English cucumber, thinly sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean-style red pepper powder)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 clove garlic, finely grated

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Toss the cucumber with the red pepper flakes, sugar and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let "cure" at room temperature, tossing halfway through, until the cucumber has softened and released some liquid, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain well (do not rinse).
  2. Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce and garlic until combined. Pour over the cucumber mixture, add the sesame seeds and toss until well combined. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.