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Food and Drink

Chill out with this curiously delicious cold soup

  • Author: Kim Sunée
    | Alaska cooking
  • Updated: July 10, 2019
  • Published July 10, 2019

Summer garden ice cube soup (Kim Sunée)

The first time I ever encountered ice cubes in my soup was when I was invited to a Korean home for a summer supper in sweltering Alabama, where it got so hot one year that even full-blast air conditioning did little to temper the heat. The soup, however, was oddly delicious and has stayed with me over the years. With our own heat wave here in Alaska, and little appetite for turning on the oven, I thought I’d share this simple recipe using local market produce and some garden veg. The original Korean version of this soup known as oi naengguk features mostly cucumber and seasonings including soy sauce, sugar and chile pepper. I’ve modified this version quite a bit, mainly omitting the sugar, but it’s just as refreshing, especially this time of year.

Summer garden ice cube soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a first course or side dish

4 small cucumbers, preferably Kirby, chilled (or 1 large English cucumber)

1 cup thinly sliced carrot, radish, kohlrabi, and/or spring peas

1 clove garlic, finely minced or fresh green garlic

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 small fresh chile such as Fresno or jalapeño or 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chile flakes)

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar

1 cup cold water

1 cup ice cubes

Garnish: sesame seeds and fresh herbs

1. If cucumbers are thick-skinned, peel first. Cut cucumbers into thin matchsticks or half-moons. Place in a bowl with the other vegetables of your choice, garlic, green onion, chile, soy sauce, and vinegar. Mix gently just to combine. Add water and chill in fridge 10 to 15 minutes. Place ice cubes in bowl and serve, topped with fresh herbs and toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Serve as a first course or a refreshing side dish

Kim Sunée is the bestselling author of Trail of Crumbs and two cookbooks. A former food editor, she’s based in Anchorage. For more food, follow her on Instagram/kimsunee or visit