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Nutty, crunchy, and delicious soybean sprout side dish! This recipe shows two ways to prepare – mild and spicy.

Kongnamul muchim (콩나물 무침) is one of the most commonly served side dishes (banchan, 반찬) in Korean homes. This nutty, crunchy, and delicious side dish is my absolute favorite! It’s also one of the classic vegetables used in bibimbap, adding a nice crunchy to the dish.

Usually, this dish is mildly seasoned to savor the natural nutty flavor of the soybean sprouts. It’s also very common to add gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes), along with a little bit of soy sauce, for a little spicy kick. The latter is more popular in southern regions of Korea.

Here, I am showing you both ways. I alternate these different preparations depending on what I’m serving with. For example, if my other dishes are mild, I’ll go with the spicy version to give a little extra kick to the meal.

Tips for making soybean sprout side dish

  1. Korean home cooks often snip off the roots of soybean sprouts. This will give the finished dish a nice and clean look. It’s not necessary, but you can snip them off if you want.
  2. It’s important not to overcook the soybean sprouts to retain its signature crunchy texture. You can shock the sprouts in cold water to stop the cooking and drain for an extra crunch, especially if you over cooked them.
  3. Do not open the lid until the sprouts are cooked, or the raw bean smell will linger even after cooked.
  4. When you drain the bean sprouts after cooking, you can save the cooking liquid and make one serving kongnamul guk (soup) with this broth. Simply add a little bit of cooked kongnamul, minced garlic, and chopped scallions.

Ingredients

Mild

  • 1poundkongnamul (콩나물), soybean sprouts
  • 1scallion, finely chopped
  • 1teaspoonminced garlic
  • 1tablespoonsesame oil
  • 1teaspoonsesame seeds
  • salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to taste

Spicy

  • 1poundkongnamul (콩나물), soybean sprouts
  • 1scallion, finely chopped
  • 1teaspoonminced garlic
  • 1 – 2teaspoonsgochugaru (고추가루), Korean red chili pepper flakes
  • 1tablespoonsoy sauce
  • 1tablespoonsesame oil
  • 1teaspoonsesame seeds
  • salt (about ½ teaspoon) and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the soybean sprouts twice in cold water, discarding any rotten beans or skins floating. Place 1 cup of water in a medium size pot and the bean sprouts. Cover, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not open the lid until the sprouts are cooked. (See note 1 and 2)
  2. Drain quickly, and cool, reserving the broth if you want. (See the note 3.) You can shock the sprouts in cold water to stop the cooking and drain for an extra crunch, but not necessary.
  3. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Taste a little and add more salt (or gochugaru if making the spicy one) to your taste if needed.

Notes

  1. It’s important not to overcook the soybean sprouts to retain its crunchy texture.
  2. Do not open the lid while cooking the sprouts, or the raw bean smell will linger even after cooked.
  3. You can make one serving kongnamul guk (soup) with this broth. Simply add a little bit of cooked kongnamul, minced garlic, and chopped scallions.
  4. You can shock the sprouts in cold water to stop the cooking and drain for an extra crunch, especially if you over cooked them.

 

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