Muchim = Usually refers to a bunch of stuff (usually vegetables) mixed with some kind of sauce or marinadeI don’t think I can survive the summer without cucumbers! I simply love cucumbers. They are so versatile in Korean cuisine. When the summer heat has been killing my appetite, I often like to eat a bowl of rice in ice water with side dishes that kick up my appetite. And they are usually dishes that consist of spicy and salty flavors. When I am eating a bowl of icy cold rice, sometimes all I need is one of my favorite cucumber side dishes, Oi Muchim. The cold, refreshing, crisp, crunchy cucumber tastes so yummy when my appetite is down due to the friggin’ heat. OMG it has been sooooo disgustingly hot this week in socali.
I think I first learned how to make Oi Muchim almost a decade ago. It was back in the Xanga days lol. Some girl named Busy Bee (I cannot recall for sure if it was Busy Bee or just Bee) used to post recipes on there…very simple and easy to follow Korean recipes. Wonder whatever happened to her. I tried to link that old post, but apparently Xanga’s site is only loading a page about Xanga 2.0 coming soon. Hmm….wonder if that will be longer lived than the first Xanga hype from way back when. Anyways, I remember that she made her Oi Muchim using gochujang. But I make mine with gochugaru.My version of Oi Muchim has been tweaked over the years to accommodate my ever-changing palate. I recently started adding perilla leaves in there. I love the sharp taste perilla leaves add to the dish. For this recipe, I use:
-Whatever cucumbers I have in the house. I first make semi-peels, then cut them into however I feel like eating them that day. Sometimes sliced thinly into rounds, some days into bigger pieces (cut in half lengthwise, then quartered). I then salt them and let it sit for a bit to draw out the water (and also to give it some flavor). I like to eat it for about a day or two, so I normally use about 4-5 cucumbers. It actually tastes kind of better the following day after the flavors have blended and sat for a while. And there’s more juice.-Thinly sliced (paper-thin) yellow onions. I love how onions taste in this sauce. But it won’t be as tasty if they are too thick. OMG…I find it so annoying when onions are sliced way too thick when they’re not supposed to be. i.e. When I order the sliced onions at a pho place and the onions are cut about Batonnet (way too overly thick that you taste the pungency of the raw onions). I hate that!
-Perilla Leaves. I always loved how perilla leaves taste in golbenge muchim (a sea snail dish I love to eat when drinking soju). The cucumbers and perilla leaves are often what I find myself picking at the most, aside from the golbenge. So I started adding it to Oi Muchim as well. Wouldn’t be the same without it!
-Minced garlic, one of the staples of Korean cooking.-Minced Jalapeno or Serrano Chili for the added kick I love.
For the sauce, I use:
-Salt & PepperAs far as measurements go, I’d say experiment and go with whatever suits your taste…a little more of this, a little less of that. When I use a recipe, I hardly ever pay attention to measurements (unless it is baking or I am making something for work that specifically requires exact measurements). I just go with taste. So, I am sorry for not including measurements if you were curious. Your palate may be different than mine….you might want more or less of something than what I put.