My daughter called the other day to ask me how to make kimchi kognamul guk (김치 콩나물국). She knows nothing beats it on a cold and dreary winter day in New York City. Her phone call reminded me that I had not posted this popular soup recipe yet. It’s definitely a family favorite!
Kimchi kognamul guk is a variation of kongnamul guk which is made with kongnamul (soybean sprouts), a staple Korean vegetable. Kongnamul is high in B vitamins, vitamin C and protein. This explains why kongnamul guk is a popular home remedy for common colds and hangovers in Korea.
The addition of kimchi takes the soup to another level with a spicy kick that’s good enough to clear your sinuses. When my kids were growing up, I made this soup for them when they had a cold, just like my mother did when I was growing up.
It’s best with an anchovy stock base, but you can use beef broth or simply water. You should use fully fermented kimchi for this soup. The older the kimchi is, the better. Serve it separately, or over the rice to make guk bap (국밥), a soup with rice in it.
6 cups of anchovy stock (I or II).
10 ounces (280 grams) soybean sprouts (kongnamul)
8 ounces (230 grams) fully fermented kimchi
1/4 cup juice from kimchi
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) – omit for less spicy soup
2 teaspoons soup soy sauce (or 1 teaspoon saewoojeot – salted shrimp)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 scallion, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Make anchovy stock with 8 cups of water. See the recipe.
Rinse the soybean sprouts a couple of times, discarding any skins that are floating. Slice the kimchi into about 1/2-inch thick strips.
Add the sliced kimchi, kimchi juice, gochugaru, and the soup soy sauce (or salted shrimp) to the anchovy stock. Bring it to a boil. Cook over medium high heat until the kimchi turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the bean sprouts and garlic. Cook, covered, for 3 – 4 minutes. Do not open the lid while the bean sprouts are being cooked, or the raw bean smell will linger even after cooked. Once the bean sprouts are cooked, taste for salt and pepper. Add the scallions and boil for another minute. Serve separately with a bowl of rice, or serve it over the rice in a bowl.
I know this is old news if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. For those who don’t, I have some awesome news to share with you. I am now a weekly contributor to The Korea Herald (the largest and oldest English newspaper in Korea). The Korea Herald just published about me (The story behind a Korean-American mom’s passion for cooking) and my first recipe (Kimchi mandu – Korean dumplings)! My recipes will be published on a weekly basis on their website (Fridays) and in print (Saturdays). Please check it out!