Kimchi Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup with Kimchi)

kimchi soybean sprout soup

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.

kimchi soybean sprout soup

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!

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Kimchi Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup with Kimchi)
a variation of kongnamul guk (soybean sprouts soup) with kimchi
Servings: 4
Author: Hyosun
  • 6 cups of anchovy stock I or II. See the recipe.
  • 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
  1. Make anchovy stock with 8 cups of water. See the recipe.
    Kimchi kongnamul guk
  2. Rinse the soybean sprouts a couple of times, discarding any skins that are floating. Slice the kimchi into about 1/2-inch thick strips.
    Kimchi kongnamul guk
  3. 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.
    Kimchi kongnamul guk
  4. 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.
    Kimchi kongnamul guk

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  1. Frugal Flo says

    Awwwww I wish this was posted a few days ago when i was still sick hehe. Maybe I could’ve gotten better sooner! hehe. Thanks again for the lovely antidotes and recipe and congratulations again on being a contributer for the Korean Herald!

  2. This looks delicious! I have a bunch of kimchi that I don’t know what to do with. This is perfect, thanks!

  3. It’s warming me up just looking at your awesome photos!

  4. Just vegetable but it looks like a wonderful savory soup! My kids and I cannot eat spicy but I know my husband would eat like 3 bowls! 😀

  5. The soup looks perfect for tonight’s dinner. We both eat very hot food so my husband would love it too. Why haven’t I bough soybean sprouts? (I do have kimchi though…) I think I will prepare it some time soon because it looks simple, healthy, light but warming and nourishing. Perfect after holiday’s overeating.
    Congratulations for the publication and future publications too! You will soon be a huge star in Korea.

  6. New follower!!! I love reading amazing recipes for Korean food. Your blog is fantastic. Congrats on your publication, that’s incredible. 🙂

  7. I love this soup! So refreshing and one of my favorites. I was wondering if you had any ideas on what I can cook or bake for my Korean mother-in-law. I usually bake her cakes, breads, muffins, etc. as well as home made mandoo/potstickers, but I would love some new ideas. Thanks!

    • My in-laws love my galbijjim (braised beef short ribs). Also, how about Korean sweets like sesame crunch or hotteok? Haemul Pajeon (seafood scallion pancakes)? Hobak Juk (pumpkin porridge)? See my recipe index for more options and let me know if you have any questions. Cheers!

  8. This looks great! What do you use in your multigrain rice in the photo? I know you are using some black rice, but what else / ratios do you use?

    • I usually use 7 – 9 grain mix, presoaked. But, didn’t have any that was presoaked when I took this photo. So, just used regular short grain rice (2), brown rice (1), and black rice (1/4). Thanks for coming by!

    • I’m interested in trying grain mixes, but the bags I see at the Korean markets don’t have any soaking/cooking instructions in English. What method do you use?

    • I just soak for them 3 – 4 hours, until the beans are soft. I usually soak a lot at a time and freeze them, so I can use it anytime I want. Hope this helps

  9. I love this soup!!! I need to make it again while I still have some kimchi left.
    I hope your daughter is better by now, and congrats on the Big feature!

  10. Wow congratulations on getting published in the Korean Herald! Love your blog! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  11. Anonymous says

    Just wondering if there’s a possible substitute for the anchovy stock? Or will the taste be different if it is substituted?

  12. Is it okay to use sour bean sprouts or should they only be fresh?

  13. HI. can ready-made soybean sprout soup be bought online?

  14. Just so you know, the link in “Make anchovy stock with 8 cups of water. See the recipe.” is broken.

  15. Patrick Bureau says

    I wanted to let you know; I cooked did this for my wife today, she has been suffering of congested sinuses last two days and within the hour her sinuses drained… It is a delicious easy to make meal, so much so , my coughing COPD mother in law passed by as I made it, and she tried it, she loves to try new foods, and we discovered for two hours after eating Kimchi Kongnamul Guk, she stopped coughing completely. So she took the extra portions I had home with her and asked me to gather ingredients and to teach her how to make it, for at her home as well. thank you .

  16. Alejandro Avila R says

    thank you for making a delicious food

  17. Tammy Chriss says

    Can I save the leftovers?? If so, how long?? My mother used to make this all the time!!! Thank you for the recipe!!