Nogak (노각), or old cucumber, is a cucumber that is aged on the vine until it develops a thick, golden skin and crunchy flesh.
It’s a classic summer food, and its cold crispness just makes me feel so satisfied. The scent of cucumber and nogak represents the freshness of summer. Here’s a simple way to prepare nogak.
1 small nogak (600g)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
1.5 tsp minced garlic
3 tsp minced scallion
1 tbsp gochutgaru
2 tsp ground roasted sesame
1. Peel and cut the nogak in half lengthwise
2. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds
3. Slice as thinly as possible. If you can’t get them thin with a knife, try using a mandolin.
4. Cure the slices in a large bowl with the salt, vinegar and sugar for about 20 minutes. Make sure you don’t skimp on the curing time—otherwise the juices will continue to drain after you season it and your banchan will become soupy.
5. Once it’s cured (the nogak pieces will become fairly floppy), squeeze out as much moisture as you can from each handful.
6. Combine the seasonings and cured nogak in a bowl and mix. Serve cold as a banchan.