Kongjang (Soy Braised Soybeans)


Kongjang (콩장), also called kongjaban (콩자반), is a sweet and savory soybean side dish. On weekends, I try to make a few side dishes, banchan (반찬), to help make my weeknight meal preparations easier. During the week, I make a quick soup, stew, or meat dish and serve it with the pre-made side dishes. We call those side dishes that are made to last long and served with every meal over several days (or weeks) mitbanchan (밑반찬), meaning basic side dishes. There are a number of them, ranging from stir-fried dried anchovies to pickled perilla leaves. We grew up on these mitbanchan dishes. They were a big part of every meal, including home-packed school lunch boxes. Kongjang is one of the most common ones. It’s typically made with black soybeans, but you can also make it with yellow soybeans. The soaked beans should be cooked in water first before you add the sugar and soy sauce for slow braising. This will keep the beans from getting too hard. Cooking in an open pot helps reduce the liquid and gives the kongjang beans their unique shiny and wrinkled look. The result is sweet and savory beans that are a tad chewy, which is a nice contrast to steamed rice they accompany! 

Ingredients:

1 cup dried black* (or yellow) soybeans
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin/mirim)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

(*Black soybeans are called geomjeongkong (검정콩)  or seoritae (서리태) and available at Korean or Asian grocery stores.)

Rinse and soak the dried beans for 3 – 4 hours. (The time required may vary depending on the beans.) Drain.

In an uncovered medium size pot, bring the beans and 2 cups of water to a boil. Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir a couple of times so the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Skim off the scum.

Add the soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium. Gently boil, uncovered, until almost all the sauce is evaporated, 25 – 30 minutes. (Keep your eyes on the pot during the last few minutes to avoid burning the beans.)

Add the corn syrup, stirring well to coat, right before turning the heat off. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. The beans will be soft at first, but they will get a bit chewier in the fridge.

Comments

  1. Is rice wine the same as Mirin or are you referring to Soju?

  2. This is one of my favorite side dish! I love sweetened beans. :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can brown rice syrup or honey be used in place corn syrup? Will it give the sweetness and sheen?

  4. This is one of my favourite side dishes! Haven’t had it for ages.. (like a decade) :) Thanks for reminding me.

  5. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve had this in about a decade either. My mom used to always have some of this and some other banchans in her fridge. I’ll have to try this and see if my kids will like it.

  6. butterfingers says:

    Eversince I encounter this recipe of yours, this dish is frequently in my fridge! Thanks.

  7. I am making this today had such a hard time finding black soybeans so I am using yellow ones can’t wait to eat this trying to switch my diet and I believe Korean food is so much healthier and less processed already made your garlic recipe the mit banchan dishes are awesome! thank you

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