These days when you go to a grocery store in New York City beautiful asparagus is everywhere because it’s in peak season, and usually on sale, too! We have to take advantage of this, right? I went to my local Whole Foods and I chose good-looking asparagus with thin and long stems, to make this spicy, sweet, and sour Korean-style side dish, my favorite way to prepare asparagus.

Asparagus is not a traditional ingredient in Korea, and my late grandmother would never have made asparagus dishes because when she was alive they were very rare. But asparagus is more common these days in Korea and there are many ways Koreans prepare it. I sometimes grill asparagus with olive oil and salt, or panfry it with soy sauce. But this asparagus side dish is best because it’s delicious, sweet, sour, and spicy. It also goes well with rice. Eating rice is very important!

I added rice syrup to give a little sweetness and shininess, but you can use sugar, too. In that case use a little less, or just skip it altogether. I know these days some people are afraid to consume sugar, but for me this sauce should be a little sweet with the sourness and spiciness.

If your asparagus has thick stems,  blanch it for 2 minutes instead of 1 minute. And don’t throw away the woody stems we cut off, use them in vegetable stock. just be sure to wash them first.

asparagus muchim


1 large bunch (about 1 pound) of thin stem asparagus, trimmed

For seasoning mixture:


  1. Bring a pot filled with 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and blanch 1 to 2 minutes without the lid until bright green and a little soft, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Remove from the heat.
  2. Drain and rinse it under cold running water to clean and stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Make seasoning mixture:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix it well with a wooden spoon.
    sweet sour spicy sauce

Mix and serve:

  1. Add the asparagus and mix them well by hand or tongs.
  2. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle more sesame seeds and serve with rice.asparagus recipe

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  1. FlyingColors Nashville, TN - USA joined 11/22 & has 1 comment

    This turned out so delicious! And super easy… Thank you!

  2. ckimmel North Carolina joined 1/15 & has 1 comment

    This asparagus dish was so good! We were planning to have asparagus right after I saw this recipe and so we tried it. Yummy! Now I need more asparagus! Your recipes are so wonderful. Thank you Maangchi

  3. spugs New Hampshire joined 5/22 & has 2 comments

    This was so delicious, hot or cold. Strong sour and savory and sweet but in the most crave-able way. Apologies for the tupperware visual I just keep opening it up from the fridge to munch. :) :) Maangchi you are a treasure and the queen of Korean food in my home.

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  4. Beamax Chicago joined 8/21 & has 1 comment

    Made this with gai lan instead because it was going to go bad soon. Turned out very yummy! Would love to make it with asparagus next time. Thank you for the recipe Maangchi ^_^

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  5. Carotte Québec joined 8/13 & has 2 comments

    It was really delicious :)

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  6. bibimbebe Poland joined 5/19 & has 4 comments

    Hello :) I was wondering if this dish can keep well in the frigde? I was hoping to make more and eat it with my rice during the week :) Maybe I should make more sauce and mix with freshly blanched asparagus when I want to have a meal?
    We live as a couple but sometimes I eat by myself, so I’m trying to minimize waste.

    By the way: the recipe looks yummy and we love asparagus!

    • Tediono New Jersey, USA joined 12/11 & has 3 comments

      Hi there,

      I’ve made this side dishes so many times as it’s a super big hit with my family. I definitely recommend making the sauce separately and add to freshly blanched/steamed asparagus or veggies of your choice on the day you’re planning to eat. I’ve found that keeping the already mixed asparagus for more than a couple days makes it super mushy as it absorbs all that yummy sauce.

  7. MaangchiLove Montreal, Toronto joined 8/19 & has 59 comments

    Made it! Yummy :D yum yum thank you, Maangchi~!

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