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. luvskat USA joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    Is there a substitute for dried anchovies/dried kelp I could use? Thanks!

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

      Some people make soybean sprout soup without dried anchovies and kelp. But I always use dried anchovies to make the broth delicious. You can try it out without anchovies or use chicken stock.

  2. Yumika Hiroshima joined 3/14 & has 2 comments

    After I made the khakdugi of course I had to challenge the Kongnamulguk and I must say that went really well. I didn’t have anchovis – I used flying fish broth instead. It was delicious, thank you!

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

      Kkakdugi and kongnamulguk are good friends! I always eat my soybean sprout soup with kkakdugi or fermented kimchi. Good luck with your Korean cooking!

  3. ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

    Maangchi,

    You make it too easy for us to become good at Korean cooking! We can’t go wrong with your recipes! For instance, I made kongnamulguk last night and it came out delicious. When my brother-in-law’s girlfriend likes it you know its good as she’s not had much experience with Korean food.

    As always…thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!

    망치선생님 감사합니다!
    한국 음식 학생 데이빗

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

      haha, you seem to spread Korean cooking to all your family and now to your brother-in-law’s girlfriend! I’d like to meet all of you someday!

  4. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13 & has 40 comments

    Hey Maangchi. I have heard stories about how the Korean nobility used to eat guk on the side with the rice, whereas peasants ate theirs with rice inside it. I’ve never studied Korean history in great detail since I grew up in the states. But my guess is that the peasants were so pressed for time to get back to their subservient duties? Is that correct? I find it very interesting. I eat Guk like a peasant on days I am in a hurry. And I eat it like nobility when I have the leisurely time. I guess it was similar circumstances for people in those times. I wonder what other kind of food peasants ate. As for nobility, I am sure they had a little of EVERYTHING!

    This is how I eat my Kongnamul Guk http://www.behgopa.com/2013/11/eating-kongnamul-guk-soybean-sprout.html

  5. Romy1978 Argentina joined 4/13 & has 4 comments

    Hi! How is it?
    I love 콩나물국!! I wanted ask you something: I love the rice that you eat in the video with spicy 콩나물국… my friend’s mother always make it but she’s in Korea since a few years ago and I couldnt ask her how to make that rice.So can you tell me how?
    Thanks a lot! Your food is amazing!!!
    Bye!!

  6. Horse999123 Colorado joined 5/13 & has 1 comment

    How much soup does this recipe make?

  7. louloulydie France joined 10/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi !
    I really appreciate your blog :) It’s really nice to see you cooking because you love that and you have a good character :) My husband is korean and I’m french, I watched your video at the beginning to know how cooking korean food : I really love eat korean food. Actually I have not a lot of time and I would like to ask you if there is a recipe of soup that is possible to do and keep it during one week in the fridge ? I would like to do it the weekend and eat for breakfast every morning. Of course I will add the rice cooked every day :) Thank you for your answer :)

  8. lovex3jennyy New York joined 6/12 & has 8 comments

    Maangchi its hard to find dried anchovies in Long Island New York, will it be the same if i use anchovy paste?… if so how much would u recommend.

    I love this soup with tofu yummmm!

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

      I wouldn’t replace dried anchovies with anchovy paste. Check out some Korean grocery stores in New Jersey or Flushing. You will be able to find dried anchovies. If you want, use dried kelp instead of dried anchovies though.

  9. fetosoap United States joined 7/12 & has 4 comments

    I forgot to pick up anchovies at the store and used some hon dashi instead, do you think that will work?

  10. fitXmom Florida joined 5/12 & has 21 comments

    Can I use canned bean sprouts? I am sure they are not as good as the fresh ones, but they could be an alternative? http://www.lachoy.com/products/vegetables.jsp This is a link fro LaChoy brand.

  11. schneidi82 Germany joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    wow, this soup was just mindblowing. Thank you very much!!!!

  12. ZenMistress California joined 4/12 & has 7 comments

    Yes Maangchi, I’m a korean person who doesn’t know how to make kongnamulguk. Thank you for posting the spicy version, which I really prefer. Although it is true that both are good. I followed your recipe and it is delicious. Thank you!

  13. Peedee San luis obispo, CA joined 5/10 & has 5 comments

    One of my favorite soups. Made this today with mung bean sprouts & I forgot the garlic, but it was still good. I added firm tofu.
    Tip-if you don’t have an infuser for the anchovies, you can use a coffee filter & just staple it shut. Then just toss it.

  14. Leah Boise, ID joined 11/11 & has 4 comments

    I just made the spicy version for lunch. It was so incredibly delicious, so suprising for how little ingredients there were. It brought me back to Pusan. Yummy!

  15. AngelaC Pittsburgh, PA joined 11/11 & has 3 comments

    I have not been feeling well, so my husband made the spicy version of kongnamulguk for me. It was delicious! Thank you, Maangchi!

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