Soybean sprout soup

Kongnamulguk 콩나물국

Kongnamulguk is typical Korean everyday soup.

In my opinion, if you see someone who can make delicious kimchi and kongnamulguk, you can say he or she is good at Korean cooking!

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I’m introducing 2 versions of soybean sprout soup to you: a spicy version and a non-spicy version.


One of my aunts who passed away last year made this spicy version of kongnamulguk. When I was young, I used to go to her house during my summer vacation for a few weeks. She had no children so she always welcomed me. I have so many good memories about her.

I watched her making this soup because I really liked the taste. Even though it’s a very simple and easy recipe, since I saw her cooking this soup, I have been using this recipe for decades!

Ironically, she added a little MSG to the soup at the end, but I don’t. I like to enjoy the taste of natural ingredients. Here are my recipes!
spicy kongnamulguk

Spicy version

Ingredients

1 package of soybean sprouts (500 grams), water, salt, soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, onion, garlic, green onion, dried anchovies, roasted sesame seeds, and sesame oil.

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain a package of soybean sprouts (500 grams) a few times over. Pick out any rotten sprouts.
    kongnamul
  2. Put the soybean sprouts into a pot and add 5½ cups of water.
  3. Add 1½ ts salt, 1 ts soy sauce, 2 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tbs of hot pepper flakes.
  4. Slice half a medium sized onion and put it in the pot.
  5. Add a handful of dried anchovies (about 7 large dried anchovies) after removing the intestines.
    *tip: this is going to be taken out later, we won’t eat it
  6. Close the lid and bring to a boil over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  7. When the soup boils over, open the lid and stir the soup with a spoon.
  8. Lower the heat and cook another 25 minutes.
  9. Add 2 chopped green onions and 1 or 2 ts of sesame oil.
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. Grind roasted sesame seeds in a grinder.
  12. Put the soup in a bowl and sprinkle some sesame seed powder on top, just before serving.

spicy-kongnamul-meal

Non-spicy vegetarian version

Ingredients

1 package of soybean sprouts (500 grams), water, salt, kelp, garlic, green onion, onion, roasted sesame seeds, and sesame oil.

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain a package of soybean sprouts (500 grams) a few times over. Pick out any rotten sprouts.
  2. Put the soybean sprouts into a pot and add 5½ cups of water.
  3. Add 1½ ts salt, ½ cup worth of kelp, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  4. Slice half a medium sized onion and put it in the pot.
  5. Close the lid and bring to a boil over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  6. When the soup boils over, open the lid and stir it with a spoon.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer another 25 minutes.
  8. Take the kelp out of the soup.
  9. Add 2 chopped green onions and 1 or 2 ts of sesame oil.
    making kongnamulguk
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. Grind roasted sesame seeds in a grinder.
  12. Put the soup in a bowl and sprinkle some sesame seed powder on top, just before serving.

kongnamulgook

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142 Comments:

  1. marybelle lim philippines joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    thank you maangchi you helped me so much to lern how to cook korean…. for my husbond

  2. andrea kim oahu, hawaii joined 6/10 & has 13 comments

    Can I make this with mung bean sprouts? I have a bunch in the fridge that will go bad soon …

    • Porcke Texas joined 10/11 & has 1 comment

      Yes you can substitute mung bean sprouts in place of soybean sprouts. I prefer it myself and generally any bean sprout that is about the size of the soybean. More people are switching to other kinds of bean sprouts other than soy due to the concern of the phyto-estrogen( “phyto” only means that it is plant derived), or estrogen that naturally occurs in soy for those concerned with that issue.

  3. Linner Coxsackie, NY joined 3/11 & has 6 comments

    For those who don’t know, the mesh ball Maangchi uses is called an infuser.

  4. susek Cleveland, OH joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    I just made this soup! It’s awesome! I actually made an anchovie/iriko stock with kelp and a dried shiitake mushroom ahead of time since I didn’t have your handy mesh ball. It was really simple, I love it. I’m going to tackle kimchi next… thanks for all the great recipes and videos!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,773 comments

      “I actually made an anchovie/iriko stock with kelp and a dried shiitake mushroom ahead of time..” very wise! I hope your kimchi turns out delicious!

  5. Kayla Baltimore, Maryland joined 11/10 & has 21 comments

    I’ve been making a soup like this for a long time whenever I get sick. It always helps clear up the congestion. I don’t write down my recipes, so I need to wait until I make it again, but in my version I don’t use salt and just increase the amount of soy sauce, I use fresh peppers boiled with the stock (which I make homemade vegetarian stock), and I’ve never tried putting ground roasted sesame seeds in it (only the oil). Sometimes I throw in tofu or other vegetables, but I love soybean sprouts so those always take the center stage. I must try it your way, though. The ground seeds sound like they’d be good, and of course with radish kimchi (one of my favorites).

  6. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

    wow .. finally i got to try this soup .. it’s cold outside , and this soup totally warms me up !! My nose is runny now !! LOL , but this soup is delicious , i tried the spicy version , super easy and so yummy !! great for a cold day like today , thanks maangchi !!
    although i ran out of soy sauce , ended up using teriyaki sauce LOL and i didn’t grind the sesame seed either , still tasted good !

  7. Casey New Jersey joined 4/10 & has 7 comments

    I have made this recipe so many times now Maangchi! Thanks so much for posting it. My BF and I both feel like we have a cold coming on so I made it tonight with extra onions and garlic. It’s like a bowlfull of joy :D

  8. Planet Earth joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    My husband enjoys a sprout soup at a Korean restaurant in Chicago, but they won’t give him the recipe! It did learn it has 5 kinds of sprouts, tofu and pine nuts in it. It’s good for people with cancer. Any ideas what this soup might be?

  9. Bakuryuu joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    Hello!
    When I was in Korea, I had Kongnamul guk, but it was cold, I only ever had it cold. How do I do this? just refrigerate after cooking and serve cold? It was very delicious cold, and refreshing!

    Thank you for your recipes!

  10. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 18 comments

    Maangchi,
    I followed your recipe but the soybean spicy soup came out very watery with out much taste! In the pictures, it looks like the sprouts are in alot of water -the amt in the recipe was not enough so I added more. I should have added more of the other ingredients. It looks so flavorful and I was soo disappointed but I will try again. Any suggestions?

  11. shethatisnau Las Vegas, NV joined 5/10 & has 8 comments

    Maangchi!! This is delicious! I made it for breakfast two days ago and it makes an awesome first meal with a bowl of rice and natto! The subtly umami anchovy broth, the crunchy bean sprouts, rich sesame seeds~ yummy! I’ve had it two days in a row and can’t wait to make more. Thank you soooo much! This is probably my favorite recipe yet, and it’s so simple! I can’t wait to try more now :}

  12. Elisabeth& has 2,255 comments

    Maangchi I made this today and you are sooooo riiight!! The kaktugi is sooo good in the soup! Now I understand why you couldn’t stop eating it in the video!! Instead of Julie and Julia, I feel like this is Elisabeth and Maangchi! :)

  13. Lawrence& has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I’m impressed by your videos… I’m a vegetarian who does not take onion and garlic, is there any way that i can modify this receipe to suit my diet??? And for the non-spicy version, could i cooked it with addition of the red pepper flake to make it spicy?? Please advices.. THank you!!! =)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,773 comments

      Yes, you could add the red pepper flakes in non-spicy version recipe. The amount depends on your taste! mild hot, super hot.. or suicidal hot! : ) If you can’t eat garlic and onion, skip them. Without garlic, kongnamulguk is still delcious. But how about green onion? Can you eat it? If so, use it instead of onion.

      • Lawrence& has 2 comments

        as long it is onion, i cant eat it… But anyway, really thank alot… I tried cooking your pan-fried tofu with the soya-sweet sauce, it tastes great without any onion and garlic added to it… Thanks alot for your guidance… I shall continue to try other receipes and hope that you will post more vegetarian receipes up on your website… =)

  14. linda& has 2,255 comments

    hi maangchi,
    this is probably a silly question but how do you make jak ko bap? i call it the purple bap. i usually buy the bag of mixed grain (brown rice, alot of different beans etc..) i soak it for a couple hours and then i cook it in the rice cooker but it never comes out right…should i add regular rice and sweet rice too it? please help!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,773 comments

      I make my multi-grain rice this way using a pot.

      1. Combine 1 cup of short grain rice, 1/2 cup of sweet brown rice, 1/2 cup of barley rice, and 2 tbs of black sweet rice
      2. Wash and drain a couple of times and put it in a pot with a thick bottom
      3. Pour 3 cups of water into the pot and soak it for a few hours and close the lid.
      4. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
      5. Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
      6. Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes!

  15. Ataciara& has 2,255 comments

    Hi, Maangchi, how do you cook the black sweet rice? I want to cook it to go with my kongnamulguk (which is absolutely delicious by the way! I love your recipe! It’s especially tasty if you let the soup soak overnight in the fridge so the flavors seep in more, ive found) and kimchi (which I also love your recipe for! So much better than the kimchi I had at a Korean Restaurant! Yummy!)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,773 comments

      Thank you for your interest in my recipes! Here is the recipe for my multi-grain rice including the black sweet rice:

      1. Combine 1 cup of short grain rice, 1/2 cup of sweet brown rice, 1/2 cup of barley rice, and 2 tbs of black sweet rice
      2. Wash and drain a couple of times and put it in a pot with a thick bottom
      3. Pour 3 cups of water into the pot and close the lid,and let it sit for a few hours
      4. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
      5. Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
      6. Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes!

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