As promised in my mu guk (radish soup) post, here is my Kongnamul guk (soybean sprouts soup) recipe. Kongnamul (soybean sprouts) is a staple Korean vegetable that is used in many Korean dishes. It’s cheap and available all year around. While, especially outside Korea, the best known dish made with soybean sprouts is kongnamul muchim (seasoned side dish), its soup version is one of the most frequently eaten soups in Korean homes. It can be made with any type of broth such as beef broth, anchovy broth, or simply water. Often some gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes) is added for a spicy kick. However, unless I make kimchi kongnamul guk, which deserves a post of its own, I usually make it simply with a light anchovy broth to enjoy the natural nutty flavor of the soybean sprouts. It’s important not to overcook the soybean sprouts to retain its crunchy texture. This light and refreshing soup, with a subtle nutty flavor, will go remarkably well with any Korean meal.
8 ounce kongnamul (soybean sprouts)
6 – 8 medium to large size dried anchovies for broth
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 scallions, chopped
salt and pepper
6 cups of water
Rinse the soybean sprouts a couple of times, discarding any skins floating. Some people snip off the roots for cleaner appearance, but it’s not necessary. I personally don’t think it is worth the time. I also read somewhere that the roots have some nutrients.
Add the bean sprouts and 1 teaspoon of salt and boil, covered, for 7-8 minutes (longer if using cold broth) over medium high heat. Do not open the lid while the bean sprouts are being cooked, or the raw bean smell will linger even after cooked. Once kongnamul is cooked, taste for salt and pepper. The amount of salt needed at this point will depend on your salt and taste. Add the scallions and serve.