The Korea Herald


[Temple to Table] Storehouse of vitamin C: Ongsimi

By Korea Herald

Published : June 25, 2022 - 16:01

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Ongsimi, potato dough soup with ground sesame seeds (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism) Ongsimi, potato dough soup with ground sesame seeds (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism)
As nutritious summer dishes that are easy to cook at home, Balwoo Gongyang’s head chef Kim Ji Young recommends potato dough soup with ground sesame seeds.

Balwoo Gongyang is a restaurant dedicated to temple cuisine that is run by the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism. Kim chose the dish for the simplicity of its preparation and as a food that is universally enjoyed.

Potato dough (gamja ongsimi) is a regional food from Gangwon Province.

Potatoes grow well in harsh environments, and Koreans ate them when their main staple of rice was scarce. Potatoes are also rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Potatoes harvested around the summer solstice have twice as much vitamin C as apples of the same weight, and the vitamin C in potatoes is not easily destroyed by heat.

The tuber also has four times as much potassium as watermelon, which makes them effective in regulating blood pressure.

To make ongsimi, put grated potatoes through a strainer. Save both the water and the solids collected in the strainer. Let the water sit for a while, pour out the clear water on top and save the sediment at the bottom. Mix the sediment with the saved solids, and roll round balls by hand.

To make the vegetable stock, boil dried shiitake mushrooms, white radish, kelp and dried tree of heaven leaves in water. Add ground sesame seeds and soy sauce and you have a thick, savory soup stock.

“The point of temple food is not to use more, but to use less. If you have fresh seasonal vegetables and well fermented jang (such as ganjang, doenjang and gochujang), nothing else is needed.”

Ongsimi, potato dough soup with ground sesame seeds


- 2 potatoes

- 1/3 aehobak (Korean zucchini)

- 1/2 cup whole sesame seeds

- soy sauce

- salt

For vegetable stock

- white radish

- dried shiitake

- mushrooms

- dried tree of heaven leaves

- kelp


1. Put in a pot the vegetable stock ingredients and water. Boil for a while to infuse stock. Remove solids.

2. Skin potatoes, then grate them and strain. When sediment settles, pour out the water. Mix the sediment and the solids in a strainer with a bit of salt.

3. Make balls of potato dough (ongsimi) and boil in the veggie stock. When cooked, take the dough out.

4. Julienne aehobak and stir-fry.

5. Add ground sesame seeds to stock, and pour through a strainer. Boil the stock and add soy sauce.

6. Place potato dough in a bowl, pour in the stock and top with the shredded aehobak.

Provided by Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism


Temple food is food of the ascetics who express gratitude for all forms of life and wish for peace for the whole world. The Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism operates the Korean Temple Food Center where guests can learn and experience temple food. -- Ed.