Today I’m introducing one of my favorite Korean vegetable (namul) and soup using Korean soy bean sprouts, Kongnamul. Korean soy bean sprouts have yellow round soybean heads which adds crunchy texture. It’s great for soups or as namul (cooked then seasoned). I noticed that I rarely go through the entire bag of kongnamul when making this soup so I usually make two dishes out of it by making namul on the side. This soup is known to have some healing powers so Koreans like to eat it when feeling little bit under the weather. Hope you get to try them.
Photography by Selina S. Lee
Soy Bean Sprouts Soup & Namul (콩나물국, 콩나물무침) – 3-4 servings
1 bag of Korean bean sprouts (Kongnamul) – approx. 400g per bag
1 dashi tea bag
6 cups water
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped green onion
½ tsp gochugaru (chili pepper powder)
SEASONING FOR NAMUL
150g of bean sprouts (approx. ⅓ of bag)
2 tsp soy sauce for soup
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
pinch of fine sea salt
Soak bean sprouts in cold water for at least 15 min. Roughly trim long roots with your hands, separate any sprouts skin that peels from soaking in water. Remove as much impurities as you can in small batches. You don’t have to go through them individually. Wash, strain and set it aside.
1. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to boil. Before water starts to boil, add the dashi tea bag to make the stock. If you don’t have this filter tea bag, you can just use dried kelp, dried anchovies or dried shrimp to make your own stock and just fish it out later.
2. On a high heat, bring the stock to boil then take out the tea bag and add all of bean sprouts and season it with salt. Let it boil for 2-3 mins in med-high heat.
TIP: You either cook the bean sprouts with lid open or lid closed the entire time. This is to help eliminate particular smell when fresh soy beans are cooked. I like to cook them with lid open.
3. Take out ⅓ of bean sprouts to make namul. Idea is to blanch the vegetable so it’s still little bit crunchy, not cooked all the way through. Strain it through cold running water and season it with sea salt, soy sauce for soup, minced garlic, chopped green onion, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Toss lightly with your fingers until seasoning is well blended in.
4. Boil remaining soup by adding minced garlic and chopped green onion. Boil for another 3-5 min. Add more salt to taste. Add little bit of chili pepper powder, ready to serve with some cooked rice.