Cold cucumber soup side dish

Oi naengguk 오이 냉국

Oi naengguk is another simple but popular Korean side dish, perfect for summer. I have made so many different kinds of naengguk (cold soup) using different vegetables, but this is my most favorite recipe. The seasoning in this recipe could be changed a little according to your taste, more sugar if you like it sweeter, or more chili peppers if you like it spicier.

Ingredients: Cucumber, garlic, green chili pepper, red hot chili pepper, green onion, vinegar, salt, fish sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, water, and ice cubes.

  1. Get a bowl that can hold more than 2 cups.
  2. Cut 6 oz (170 grams) of cucumbers into 1½ cups’ worth of matchsticks and add to the bowl.
  3. Mince one clove of garlic and chop up a green onion and a green chili pepper. Add them to the cucumber strips in the bowl.
  4. Add 1 ts of salt, 1 ts of fish sauce, 1½ tbs of vinegar, 2 ts of sugar to the bowl and mix it well with a spoon.
  5. Pour 1½ cup of cold water (purified or boiled and cooled down) to the bowl and mix it.
  6. Add 6-7 ice cubes.
  7. Cut some red hot chili pepper for a garnish and sprinkle over the top of the soup with sesame seeds.
  8. Serve it with rice.

You can also make naengguk with miyuk (sea plant), or egg plant, instead of cucumber. Or you can make it with mi yuk (sea plant) together with cucumber, too. You can try some different combinations to see what you like the best.

My best friend’s mother–in-law had major surgery that caused her to stay at the hospital for months. When she got out of the hospital, my friend asked, “Mom, what do you feel like eating now that you can eat any food that you want? I would like to make your favorite food, something you couldn’t eat for months!”

The mother-in-law said, “I don’t have any food that I feel like at the moment except for oi naengguk”. My friend expected her mother–in-law to say that she wanted some expensive gourmet food, but all she wanted was simple “oi naengguk”!

After meeting my friend on the day, what do you think I did when I came back home? Haha, I made a huge bowl of oi naengguk and enjoyed it, thinking about the mother-in-law. Whenever I eat oi naengguk, it reminds me of my friend’s mother-in-law.

Yes, we don’t always have to have expensive luxurious gourmet food, sometimes very humble food makes our lives happy.



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