Cold cucumber soup side dish

Oi-naengguk 오이 냉국

Are you looking for something refreshing, light, healthy, and cold cold cold? Yes, how about a cold cucumber side dish? In Korean it’s called oi-naengguk and it’s perfect for summer! The thin cucumber matchsticks soaked in icy cold, sweet, sour, salty, and garlicky brine will please your appetite. The cold temperature is a nice surprise and the crispy but soft texture of the cucumber is wonderful.

A great thing about this side dish is that you can make it in 5 minutes, and you don’t need to cook anything at all. Just cut the ingredients and mix.

Make this in the summer time, and I guarantee everyone will love it. My cookbook co-writer, Lauren, learned how to make this when she was recipe testing, and got a ton of stars from her family when she served it. They are all fans of oi-naengguk now, and when the book was done Lauren told me it’s one of her favorite Korean dishes. I was surprised!

I originally posted an oi-naengguk video years ago, but this one is a little updated and is a vegetarian version, and the video is HD. If you’re looking for the old one, it’s still here.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large English cucumber (12 ounces) or 2 to 3 kirby cucumbers, chilled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh red chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 7-8 ice cubes (1 cup)
  • 1- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, ground


  1. Cut the cucumber into 3 inch long thin matchsticks and put them into a chilled mixing bowl.cucumber-matchsticks
  2. Add garlic, green onion, and red chili pepper (if used).
  3. Add the salt, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well, gently with a spoon until the salt and sugar are well dissolved.oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)
  4. Add the water,  ice cubes, and the sliced tomato (if you use), and gently mix with a spoon.oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)
  5. Put the sesame seeds powder on top, scoop out 4 portions into individual bowls, and serve right away with rice.

oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)

Cold cucumber soup


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  1. hcconnie My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 20th, 2015 at 3:48 pm | # |

    When I was in Korea my aunt made this for me with seaweed. Do I just soak the seaweed in water before I add it to the cucumbers? It was one of my favorite things to eat since I visited in the summer but my mom doesn’t make it here in the US lol.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 21st, 2015 at 9:35 am | # |

      Yes, I sometimes add seaweed (miyeok) to my oinaengguk, too. Here is the photo of dried miyeok. http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/miyuk
      I soak it for 30 minutes in cold water and blanch in hot water for 20 to 30 seconds. Then the miyeok will turn bright green. Rinse it in cold water and chop it up and add. Good luck with making oi-miyeok naengguk! : )

  2. ternity My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 14th, 2015 at 4:10 pm | # |

    Maangchi, Thanks to you, i made some delicious cold cucumber soup today :D

    See full size image

  3. Sharker Cyprus My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted August 28th, 2014 at 3:12 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, you say that it is also possible to make this recipe using eggplant. Do you need to cook the eggplant or soak them in salty water or anything before following the cucumber recipe?

  4. wittypretty Saudi Arabia My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 20th, 2014 at 4:43 pm | # |

    i adore this soup . i make it over and over very refreshing.
    i call it depression aid :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 21st, 2014 at 9:28 pm | # |

      yes, it’s a perfect side dish for hot weather like these days. “depression aid” haha!

  5. reesejin corona My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted October 2nd, 2013 at 5:38 am | # |

    Made this a few days back. Super tasty. Thank you for posting your recipes! :-)

  6. Karaisoke Arizona My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted September 7th, 2013 at 7:39 pm | # |

    I know this is crazy late, but I was watching “Happy Together” and a dish was made using cold cucumber soup. If I were to make this a day or two in advance, how long does it stay in the fridge? Sometimes it gets so hot here that it would be perfect after I get done at the book store. Thank you for your recipes!

  7. SergioD Madrid, Spain My profile page I'm a fan! joined 11/10
    Posted June 2nd, 2012 at 7:31 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I’m glad you liked gazpacho! It’s one of my favorite meals in hot days. I think cold soups is one of the things we have in common in Korea and Spain. I’ll try this recipe as soon as possible, it’s starting to get very hot here in Madrid!
    Greetings from Spain.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 6:43 pm | # |

      I tasted gazpacho soup for the first time when I travled to Portugal and fell in love with the soup. After Portugal, I went to Spain and I ordered the soup whenever I went to a restaurant. It was hot summer days. Delicious!

  8. Tarz Las Cruces, NM My profile page joined 8/11
    Posted August 4th, 2011 at 2:58 pm | # |

    You made my day, so glad I found your website. I love this dish, it is one of the things I miss the most about Korea.

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