Soybean sprout soup

Kongnamulguk 콩나물국

Today’s recipe is for kongnamulguk (soybean sprout soup), which is one of the most common, typical, and popular Korean soups, made with soybean sprouts in a delicious, savory broth.

As you know, a Korean meal is composed of rice, soup or stew, and side dishes, so soup has a very important role in Korean cuisine. This soybean sprout soup is not only an everyday Korean staple, it’s also well-known among Koreans as a hangover cure soup, along with dried pollock soup (bugeoguk).

The soup is irresistible with savory broth and nutty crispy soybean sprouts. I often wonder if other cultures have a soup like this? It’s so important and central to Korean food that whenever you visit any Korean grocery store in any part of the world, they always stock soybean sprouts. These days you can find soybean sprouts in many non-Korean grocery stores too, or you can grow your own.

I made a video for this recipe in 2009 soon after I moved to the US from Canada. The recipe is basically the same as this one, but the video quality is much better and I can write a better recipe now, having written 2 Korean cookbooks since then!

When I was in elementary school in Korea I used to go to my aunt’s house during vacation. She didn’t have any children of her own so she was waiting for the moment I arrived. She gave me a lot of love, made me delicious meals and took me to the theatre with my uncle. She used to say, “oh, cute!’, then she squeezed my baby finger so tightly. It was a little painful but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to let her down by complaining. It was really a wonderful time for me and a great memory. One of the dishes she made was this soup. My mom’s soup was not spicy but my aunt’s was spicy and more savory. I remember she used MSG at the end which was usual in those days, but my version doesn’t have it.

A tip for vegetarians is to use vegetarian stock instead of anchovy broth and to use soy sauce instead of fish sauce.

Whenever I go to the Korean grocery I always buy soybean sprouts and make this soup, and I always have it with kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), even if I have to make it with just one small radish! The kkakdugi needs to be well-fermented, juicy, spicy, and sour. White fluffy rice, soybean sprouts soup, and kkakdugi mixed together, I can’t compare it to any more delicious food in the world. I was raised on it so I am so happy to share my delicious life with you, too.Soybean sprout soup

Ingredients

Serves 3 to 4

Directions

  1. Place the anchovies in a stock pouch or tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth.dried anchovies
  2. Place the soybean sprouts in a large pot. Add the water, dried anchovies, garlic, onion, gochu-garu, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir a few times with a spoon.making Korean soybean sprout soup
  3. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over medium high heat. It may boil over while cooking, just crack the lid if it does.
  4. Remove the anchovy pouch and discard.
  5. Stir in the salt to taste, green onion, and cook for another minute.kongnamul-guk (콩나물국)
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Serve

Ladle into individual soup bowls, top each serving with sesame seeds powder. Serve with rice, kimchi, a few more side dishes (if desired). The soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.Korean soybean sprout soup

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154 Comments:

  1. Jang-geum Charlotte, NC joined 9/20 & has 12 comments

    Cooked Kongnamul-guk (vegetarian version) for the first time at home! Used all authentic korean ingredients! Ate with Black rice! Happy✌ Thank you Maangchi!


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  2. CallisC Aotearoa joined 9/20 & has 1 comment

    Started off with buying too much beansprout. Found this recipe and as always, you have an amazing database of Kr. recipes.

    Got a bit daring (thanks to your other recipes, I started cooking Kr. food at the start of Covid) and started to add a few things. I added shredded dried pollock because I have this in my pantry forever ago, firm tofu and Mu :) You see, I just made Bugeoguk a couple of days ago and I still have lots of Mu.

    If I follow the exact measurements in all your recipes, I somehow have too much water (5.5 cups of water is alot. That’s almost 1.5L and the salt is short by far (I adjusted it at the end).

    I also added MSG (as per your late aunt; Bless her soul). If you want clean soup, this would be the best recipe. Lots of aroha from Aoetaroa, Maangchi.

    p.s. Have you consider making Al-Tang? This is my fav. :)

  3. Macy Philippines joined 8/20 & has 1 comment

    It’s literally 11:13 PM now and I just finished cooking this soup! I love it!

    Thank you for this recipe!
    And oh the kimchi banchan was made using your recipe, too!


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  4. Tinh Canada joined 12/11 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for offering a vegetarian version. I still made it spicey. I use your recipe for kimchi.

  5. jennville Fayetteville joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    This is my third batch of kakdugi, but this time I also home prepared soybean sprouts and made this soup to go along with it. You’re right Maangchi, they are so tasty together!! I love this combination! I’m a big fan of all your videos and recipes for about a year now. Thank you for all your hard work teaching! :) Maybe next I will try kongnamul bibimbap with all these sprouts ready :)

  6. klavonnec Pacific Northwest joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    I FINALLY grew a successful (albeit, overgrown…) batch of soybean sprouts, which I quickly turned into kongnamulguk :) Such a delicious, light, filling recipe! Because my sprouts grew unevenly, many of them were very long, so I decided to just keep the roots attached. It added a little different texture, which I didn’t mind.

    Thank you so much for creating recipes that are easy to follow, and delicious! I’ve been following your website for a few years now, and have yet to make anything that wasn’t tasty. :)


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  7. O, Joo-Hwan Las Vegas, Nevada USA joined 2/17 & has 10 comments

    Made the spicy version. Yummy!


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  8. I only have the small dried anchovies, am I able to use them? How much? (if possible)

  9. moonlightsonata egypt joined 2/15 & has 3 comments

    Hi maangchi oni thanks alot for your recipes
    i am from egypt >>> in egypt we don’t eat soybean we only feed it to animals or put it in meat to make humarger
    when i saw your recipe i started to grow soybean at home (i succeded )
    and tried two of recipes 1- soybean soup = i like the spicy version
    my dad loved it ( he is kinda hard to please when it come to food )
    and i tried soybean side dish
    definitly going to grow more soybean
    thaaaaaaaaaaaaanks alot maangchi oni

  10. I love this soup! It was so easy. I want to add the rice, but I cannot find a store to buy sweet black rice or barley rice. Can you help? It sounds so good! I did find sweet brown rice.


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  11. hzitao324 Philippines joined 12/14 & has 3 comments

    Maangchi! Can I use other kinds of dried fish as a substitute for anchovies?

  12. dear manngchi,
    i just discovered you! i just started a batch of kmichi tonight and i so want to make the soybean sprout soup, i have a quick question, in the photos above i see a bowl of kmichi and also rice, could you tell me what kind of rice and is it prepared in any special way.
    i love your site and can’t wait to try all the recipes.
    thank-you!

  13. hzitao324 Philippines joined 12/14 & has 3 comments

    Can I use other kind of oils rather than sesame oil??

  14. kmc1710 Orlando joined 10/14 & has 1 comment

    Can I substitute the anchovies with fish sauce? I still can’t work up the courage to deal with those, much less clean them out! Until I can get myself to do that (or I manage to find someone else who will), would fish sauce work?

  15. gwiyeogirl Oregon joined 8/14 & has 1 comment

    많이 맛있어요!! 감사합니다~
    While I was browsing your site looking for recipes for 반찬 to make for my Korean class picnic, I found this recipe too. I’m so glad I did!
    이 주말에 저는 오이소박이김치 하고 감자조림 만들거예요!! ^^
    Wish me luck Maangchi! My teacher and her friends are going to judge all the dishes the students make. :)

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