The Best Summertime Soup – Korean Cold Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

Creativity can’t flow well on an empty belly! With summer right around the corner and CSAs starting, here is a great recipe to rejuvenate you on a hot summer evening.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I took my first bite of Korean food. I started off slow with Bibimbap and Galbi, a favorite of Korean barbecue goers, and loved them both. Then I ventured into the spicier arena. The first time I tried to order the boiling hot, spicy stew Kimchi Chigae the waitress asked “Who is it for- you or him (my husband),” when I said me, she replied with a “No, you won’t like it. Try bibimbap.” I insisted, so it came watered down and not boiling, which, it turns out, was a good idea. Now I’ve ordered it so many times that I’ve graduated to full blast Korean spiciness–without any objections.

My husband frequently gets cravings for certain Korean dishes, and especially his mom’s cooking. Usually we just head to our favorite Korean restaurant in Cambridge, but sometimes his dad’s voice rings too loudly in his ear: “That’s how much? Robbery! Make it yourself.” And so I get adventurous!

The last craving led to the most refreshing summertime soup I have ever tried – Oi Naengguk. It is very easy to make and great as part of a lunch or dinner. Cucumbers are going to be very plentiful soon, so stock up at the farmer’s market and add this in your weekly meal repertoire.

My husband’s review:  “SO GOOD. Exactly as I remembered it.” It doesn’t get better than that.

(I got this recipe from my favorite Korean recipe site, Maangchi.com.)

Oi Naengguk

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cucumbers, cut into matchsticks (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 6-7 ice cubes
  • garnish: hot chili peppers, sesame seeds

Add all of the ingredients, except water and ice, to a bowl and mix. Pour water over everything and add the ice cubes. Garnish with hot chili peppers and sesame seeds.

So easy!

A few tips when making the soup:

  • Substituting soy sauce for the fish sauce works well.
  • Don’t forget the ice cubes – it is best when very cold!
  • If you have a mandolin, this recipe goes really fast.
  • Triple the recipe – it is so delicious you won’t be able to stop eating it!

Enjoy! Any other favorite summertime soups?!

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