My garden is still heavily producing cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. I have been searching for new ways to use the cucumber that is spilling from my refrigerator and came across Oi Naengguk. Oi Naengguk is a Korean Chilled Cucumber Soup that is the perfect banchan (side dish) for hot days. There is no cooking involved and preparation is less than 10 minutes. Cucumbers are cut into matchsticks and seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar before being covered in ice water. The cold water keeps the cucumbers nice and crisp. Check out Maangchi’s blog for a video on how to make it.
The cherry tomatoes and fresh chili pepper are optional, but add a nice touch. I used fresh chile de árbol, because I had them available from the garden. To decrease the heat, remove the seeds and ribs from the pepper before adding it to the soup. If you are able to find them, Hong-gochu (Korean red peppers) would be a great choice.
I used a mortar and pestle to crush the sesame seeds. You can also use your fingers or a rolling pin.
Add some soaked wakame seaweed to make Miyeok Oi Naengguk.
Serve immediately after adding the water and ice.
Oi Naengguk (Korean Chilled Cucumber Soup)
Adapted from Maangchi
1 large English cucumber (or 2-3 small- 12 ounces total)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh red chili pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
1 cup cold water
1 cup crushed ice cubes
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ground
Place a large mixing bowl and the serving bowls in the freezer or refrigerator.
If using a cucumber with seeds, slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Slice the cucumber into 3 inch long matchsticks. Remove the mixing bowl from freezer and add the cucumber.
Mix in the garlic, green onion, and red chili pepper.
Pour in the sea salt, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. Gently toss until thoroughly combined and sugar is dissolved.
Pour in the water and ice cubes and gently mix.
Divide among serving bowls, top with cherry tomato slices, sesame powder, and serve immediately.