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Korean cucumber and sesame seed salad recipe

Korean cucumber and sesame seed salad recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Vegetable salad
  • Cucumber salad

When I lived in Korea, I was shown this salad that is made with cucumbers, spring onions, carrots and sesame seeds. It's delicious with Bulgogi (Korean barbecued beef) that's also on this site!

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 spring onion, sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced into matchsticks

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:5min ›Extra time:5min chilling › Ready in:30min

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together vinegar, black pepper and dried chilli flakes.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sesame seeds and reduce heat to medium. Cook until seeds are brown, about 5 minutes. Remove seeds with a slotted spoon and stir into vinegar mixture. Mix in cucumber, spring onions and carrot. Cover and chill for at least 5 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(157)

Reviews in English (123)

by Lori VE

This is excellent. The second time I made it I used sesame oil instead of vegetable, Rice vinegar and added some Gari (pickled ginger) Brought it to work and everyone raved!-21 Nov 2008


This was a nice, refreshing and easy "banchan" (korean sidedish). I often make it without the carrots, but increase the green onion. I like it with a little bit of sugar added, but it's nice as is.-29 Nov 2005

by Brandon VanSickle

This was really yummy. We made it a whole meal by pairing it with two other recipes from this site, Korean BBQ Beef and Korean squash as well as some jasmine rice. I added about 1tsp of sugar and next time I won't use quite as much red pepper flakes...Rachel-06 Aug 2005

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds (참깨 cham-kkae) are the seeds of the sesame plant. The seeds are harvested in the fall. Then the seeds are dried, washed, slowly roasted and used in cooking as a seasoning ingredient and condiment.

The above picture shows roasted Korean sesame seeds (on the left) and unroasted raw American sesame seeds (on the right). Sesame seeds do become more plump and brown as you roast them but I do think the American sesame seeds are a bit of a different variety.

Here are all the different forms of sesame seeds in Korean cooking -

  • 통깨 Tong Kkae (whole sesame seeds)
  • 볶은깨 Bokken Kkae or 볶음 참깨 Bokkeum Chamkkae (roasted sesame seeds)
  • 깨소금 Kkae Sogeum (crushed roasted sesame seeds with salt) but sometimes it just refers to the crushed kind without salt

Sesame seeds add great nuttiness to any dish and also as a garnish on top of dishes after it's plated.

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame

Asian salads, with their tangy, light dressings and refreshing vegetables are nearly impossible for me to resist. I could eat one every day. Here on Swirls and Spice I’ve shared several of my favourite salads, including Sesame Orange Napa Cabbage Salad and last week’s Sesame Black Bean Salad. This latest recipe is ultra light, thanks to the potato starch noodles which are filling but low in calories and carbohydrates. For me, this salad makes a perfect foil for heavier favourites, like Vietnamese Roasted Chicken or Inside Out Potstickers.

The idea behind this salad was to combine two of my favourite dishes–Korean chap chae and Chinese liang cai. My hope was to create a salad that I could love as much as Tangy Cucumber Salad with Peanuts, which I will gladly trade dessert to eat. It’s that good. And this new noodle salad? It’s just as delicious. If you’re not sure about that, you can make both salads and see which one you prefer. I think you will find yourself in a win-win scenario.

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumbers and Sesame


  • 1 large English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 3 small bundles (38 g each) of bean thread noodles (made with potato starch)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, plus more to taste (or coconut aminos for vegans)
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or other sweetener)
  • sweet chili sauce or sriracha, optional, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil. Break bundles in half to shorten noodles, if desired. Cook dry noodles for 2 minutes in boiling water. Turn off heat and let the noodles sit in the hot water for 3 more minutes. Drain and rinse noodles in cool water.
  2. Toss together the cucumber and carrot with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together sesame oil, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour sesame dressing over noodles and toss to coat. Add cucumber mixture and toss to combine. Top salad with toasted sesame seeds prior to serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Shirataki Noodle Salad (Quick and Easy Korean Style)

It’s always amazing when you’re ordering a galbi, and the server would bring out 10+ dishes of banchan beforehand. These little small sides are actually what differed Korean meal experience from other cultures. They are so appetizing and simply help the main dish taste more delicious.

Among the regular banchan like kimchi, potato salad, seaweed, simmered lotus root… Shirataki noodle salad is also there, usually on the non-spicy side.

This salad is quick and easy to make, you can prepare them beforehand and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

There are many types, shapes, sizes of shirataki noodles, depend on what you choose, the outcome appearance might differ a bit. Nevertheless, they all should taste pretty similar, sort of cold -creamy crunch, kind of like coleslaw without the tenacity of cabbage.

Have a Korean grill at home, definitely make this for the kids so they can enjoy the banchan too while you’re having fun with those spicy kimchee.

Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe

This is a very quick and simple side dish good to add a little spicy to any meal.

  • korean
  • side
  • dish
  • spicy
  • garlic
  • pickle
  • none
  • korean
  • korean
  • side
  • dish
  • spicy
  • garlic
  • pickle
  • none
  • korean

Schedule your weekly meals and get auto-generated shopping lists.

  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 1/2 Tb Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Green Onion/Chive
  • 1 Tb Red Chilli Flake (Korean)
  • 3 Tb Sea Salt (Any coarse/Kosher salt)
  • To Taste Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 Tb Sesame Seed
  • 1 Tb Sugar
  • 1 Tb Vinegar


  • 1 english cucumbershopping list
  • 1/2 Tb garlic (Minced) shopping list
  • 1 green onion/Chive shopping list
  • 1 Tb Red Chilli Flake (Korean) shopping list
  • 3 Tb sea salt (Any coarse/kosher salt) shopping list
  • To Taste sesame oilshopping list
  • 1/8 Tb Sesame Seed shopping list
  • 1 Tb sugarshopping list
  • 1 Tb vinegarshopping list

How to make it

  • 1. Rinse cucumber well and dry. Slice thinly and spinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
  • 2. Mince garlic and chop green onion finely. Combine with Red Chilli Flakes, Sesame Oil, Sugar and Vinegar in large mixing bowl.
  • 3. Rinse salt from cucumber and squeeze dry with towel. Combine with mixed sauce and add Sesame Oil to taste.
  • 4. Transfer to plate and garnish with Sesame Seed.
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Are Korean red chili flakes a lot different than crushed red pepper or can I substitute them equally?

The Cook

Highlights of This Recipe

  • Toasting cooked sesame seeds brings out great flavor. Although I used cooked sesame seeds in this recipe, I found that toasting them again helps to bring out a fresh nuttiness. To toast sesame seeds on the stovetop, cook them slowly on medium or medium low heat. It will take a few minutes and you should stand near the skillet to make sure they are cooked through without getting burnt.
  • Blend in sesame seeds gradually. I used 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds in this recipe because I wanted a strong nutty flavor. But if it’s your first time trying this dish, use half the amount and gradually increase it to find your perfect balance.
  • The key is to create a balanced dressing that is creamy, sweet and sour. I used Japanese mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. If you use another type of mayo and the salad turns out a bit too sour, simply add some more sugar.
  • The dressing is simple and good to go with nearly any green salad. My favorite way is to grab a mixed salad from the supermarket and add a few more items on top. It’s quick and easy!
  • Blend in the sesame right before serving, even if you make the salad ahead of time.
  • Try this dressing with roasted sweet potato and pumpkin. It will blow your mind!
  • I don’t suggest you store the leftover dressing (you probably won’t have any left, anyway!).

I consider this to be on the healthy end of the dressing spectrum. Although it contains mayo, the amount is moderate and one serving contains about 100 calories. I feel guilt-free pouring plenty of this dressing on my salad!

How to make Sesame Cucumber Salad

Salting Cucumber Sticks

The central feature of all cucumber salads of this nature, is the salting process, in which salt is sprinkled over slices or sticks of cumber to allow them to macerate. During the process, the cucumber will throw of salty juices. Once the flesh is sufficiently softened, the cucumber will be rinsed to remove excess salt, and then is lightly squeezed dry.

In a related style of dish, the cucumber is lightly pickled by allowing it to ferment at room temperature for a while. The brine produce by the salt and expressed juices help protect the cucumber from spoilage organisms while allowing lactic acid bacteria to proliferate and produce the tart acidity of Lactic Acid Fermentation. Naturally, this style of dish takes longer to prepare.

Marinating Cucumber Sticks

The liquid expelled by the salting and squeezing the cucumber will be replaced by the dressing during marination, so that the flesh takes up the flavor. The marination time does not need to be long and, in all, little appetizer or Banchan style salads of this sort can be prepared and ready for service in about an hour or so.

Asian Cucumber Salad

It’s not very often that I describe a salad as “mouthwatering,” but there’s really no better word for this asian cucumber salad. The salad itself is pretty amazing, with ingredients like crunchy pieces of cucumber, sweet red bell pepper, bold red onion and pleasantly potent green onions. You won’t find any lackluster, limp iceberg lettuce in this salad!

What really makes this asian cucumber salad so mouthwatering is the dressing, of course. While the base of the salad is a medley of fresh and delicious veggies, the dressing is what makes you want to keep going back for more. Low sodium soy sauce (or tamari, if you’d prefer) adds just the right level of saltiness without being too much, while honey adds a touch of sweetness that is SO good.

I recently served this salad alongside my favorite Five Spice Teriyaki Flank Steak, and let me tell you – everyone at the table was part of the clean plate club! That steak recipe is tried and true, and everyone in my house devours it as soon as it hits the table. However, believe it or not, this easy cucumber salad garnered even more attention. So whether you’re making this salad for a weeknight dinner side dish or doubling the batch to serve at a party, you’ll be so glad you used this recipe!

How to Make It

Like any good salad recipe, this asian cucumber salad comes together in just a few minutes.

Place. Place the cucumbers bell pepper, carrot, onion, scallions and sesame seeds in a large bowl.

Whisk. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, Mirin, sesame oil, honey and chili oil until combined.

Toss. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Enjoy! Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Variations to Try

  • For a slightly nuttier tasting dressing, use toasted sesame seed oil.
  • Adding chili oil to the dressing is entirely optional, but highly recommended if you want a little spice in there.
  • Red bell peppers are my favorite to use in this salad recipe because the red color really pop, and also because they’re slightly sweet, which accompanies the other ingredients perfectly. However, any bell pepper of your choice will be tasty too.
  • Want to add even more freshness to this simple salad? Toss some cilantro into the mix for an additional bold touch of fresh flavor.

How long will the homemade dressing stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, the dressing for this cucumber salad will stay fresh for up to 2 days. Keep it in a tight-lidded jar, then give it a few shakes before pouring on to the salad.

Once the salad has been tossed, it will only stay fresh for about 8 hours in the fridge. After that, the vegetables will begin to go a little limp and they’ll lose their desired crunch.

What are some of the health benefits of this salad?

This salad isn’t just delicious, obviously! It’s also got a ton of really amazing health benefits from all the veggies. Cucumbers especially are packed with nutrients! They’re rich with vitamins K, B, C, as well as antioxidants. Oh, and they’re also super low in calories!

Red bell peppers are another big hitter with health benefits. They’re also low in calories while being high in nutrients like vitamins C and A, and they’re also full of potassium.

This is a salad I feel great about eating second helpings of!

Are you feeling cool as a cucumber? Then you need to try out these other delicious recipes that are perfect for summer!

How To Make Citron Tea Dressing

In a small mixing bowl, mix some citron tea and the other dressing ingredients.

Whisk them well. You will get some chunks of citron fruit and it is okay-lah!
You can prepare this ahead of time up to this point.

Spicy Korean Cold Noodle Salad

Cooking Workshop: Spicy Korean Cold Noodle Salad! Naeng myun noodles mixed with a spicy sauce made up of Korean hot pepper powder, hot pepper paste, onion, garlic and more and then topped with fresh cucumbers, mixed greens and hard boiled egg and more! This is so good!

This is my twist on Korean bibim naengmyeon because of the noodles I’m using. Some may argue that this is a Bibim-guksu but either way, you have to make this for the summer!

I had the great pleasure yesterday of teaching a Korean cold noodle workshop class at The Allen Centennial Garden here in Madison. If you’re in Madison, the garden is a really beautiful place to visit.

Allen Centennial Garden is the artful living laboratory and public botanical garden of the Horticulture Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Garden serves as an outdoor classroom for UW-Madison students and the surrounding communities, providing wonderful learning opportunities for visitors of all ages.

The Garden also hosts events all summer long! Check out the calendar here! I’m going to check out the Summer Sunday Concerts in the Garden.

In addition to this Spicy Korean Cold Noodle Salad, I also made one of my favorite Korean vegetable side dishes. As I told everyone last night, this is a great quick slightly sweet and spicy side dish you can make using daikon radish, cucumbers, zucchini and carrots.