Although this is a popular dish in Korea where I grew up, my first encounter with this salad was in Boston, when my friend served it for a crowd. As I was so used to eating brown seaweed in warm soup, brown seaweed and cucumber seemed like an odd combination. But I was intrigued.
Just one spoonful of this soup was all I needed to appreciate the beauty of this dish. This cold soup has a depth that is difficult to find in a salad dish: savory flavors from the brown seaweed make this sweet and sour cucumber salad stop being boring. If you have been looking for "out-of-the-box" salad, this is it.
As a bonus, seaweed is an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber. It means that this dish helps us stay young and healthy by protecting our body from oxidative stress and nourishing our friendly gut bacteria. As with other fiber-rich food (granola and pumpkin red bean porridge), this dish has a low glycemic index, keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking and helping you lose weight.
Curious? With this simple recipe, you can quickly make this exotic and nutritious dish at home!
Ingredients for 8 servings
One seedless English cucumber or two pickling cucumbers (thinly sliced) 1/2 tsp of a fresh red pepper (finely chopped)
One third of a sweet onion A scallion (chopped) Two cups of filtered water
A handful of dry brown seaweed, which expands 10 times in water (available at Asian grocery stores).
1 tsp fermented soy sauce. My favorite is Sempio naturally brewed soy sauce (see its picture below). Fermented soy sauce has layers of deep flavors that chemically produced soy sauce (most soy sauce belong to this category) does not have. Please make sure to read the label before purchasing a bottle of soy sauce. Because it is very salty, you can keep it on the shelf.
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp distilled vinegar Half of a garlic clove (thinly sliced) 1/4 tsp ginger powder
The first thing to do is to soak a handful of dry brown seaweed in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Because dry seaweed expands 10 times in water, you won't need much of it to make this dish.
Once you have fully expanded seaweed, wash it under running water and cut it into bite-sized pieces, while boiling 2 cups of water in a pot. Add the seaweed pieces to the boiling water and turn off the heat.
Leave the pot covered for 5 minutes, uncover it, and let the seaweed soup cool down. Flavors will start to come out of the cooked seaweed into the hot water, thus turning it into seaweed soup. Add all seasonings but vinegar to the seaweed soup while it is still warm.
Once the seaweed soup is cooled down, add vinegar to the soup. Now it is time to place all the other vegetables in a 7-cup glass container, starting from cucumbers. Pour the seasoned seaweed soup over the vegetable mixture, and mix everything well. Because water will come out of the cucumber slices due to osmosis to dilute the seaweed soup, wait for at least 10 minutes before checking the final taste of this soup.
Now you have delicious seaweed cucumber soup. You can keep this salad soup in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
If you have enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your friends. I would also love to hear from you about how your dish has turned out in the comments below.
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