Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish (Kongnamul Muchim)
This Korean bean sprout side dish is made with soybean sprouts. It has a crunchy texture and nutty taste. This salad side dish recipe is easy to make and is one of the many healthy Korean side dishes (banchan) that can accompany any Korean or Asian meal.
We call this soybean sprout side dish, Kongnamul muchim (콩나물 무침) in Korean. It is perhaps the most common Korean side dish of all. For that reason, Koreans call it a “national side dish of Korea (gukmin banchan, 국민반찬)” because every household consumes this bean sprout Korean side dish at least once a week.
Some people grow their own soybean sprouts in their home so that they can eat the sprouts anytime they want. Whether you grow your own sprouts or buy them at the store, they are inexpensive. Korean people never get tired of making this delicious side dish with soybean sprouts.
Health benefit of soybean sprouts
Just like other bean sprouts, soybean sprouts are packed with Vitamin C, folate, and iron.
According to Healthline, soybean sprouts may help make iron more available for your body due to a lower antinutrient content. Thus, these sprouts may help treat iron deficiency, or anemia. Bean sprouts may help to improve your overall heart health by balancing cholesterol.
Soybean sprouts have a crunchy texture and a nutty taste. In Korea, they are commonly eaten cooked.
There are two types of Korean soybean side dishes. One is this mild nutty soybean sprout side dish recipe, while the other uses an addition of Korean chili flakes to add heat to the salad. Check out my spicy soybean sprout salad recipe for the idea.
Whether you make it mild or spicy, this Korean soybean sprout side dish is super easy to make and is so delicious. They both are great base for making Bibimbap–Korean rice bowl with vegetables.
To remove or not to remove the tail part of soybean sprouts?
It is a very personal choice. Korean cooking purists will recommend removing the tail part of soybean sprouts to make the salad more neat looking, but most people don’t bother doing the extra work. I don’t either.
Use very little water to cook
Most people cook soybean spouts in a puddle of boiling water in a pot. By doing so, you lose not only great nutritional benefits, but the flavor as well. Use very little water, about 4 tablespoons only, when cooking. Bean sprouts release lots of moisture themselves and they will cook in their own moisture.
Do not rinse after cooking the sprouts
Unlike in other cuisines, we don’t rinse cooked soybean sprouts in Korean cuisine. Make sure not to overcook the sprouts. The retained heat in the soybean sprouts will continue to cook them further, maintaining their flavor.
- soybean sprouts – either tail part removed or attached
- garlic – finely minced
- green onion
- sesame oil – adds nutty aroma and fragrance
- toasted sesame seeds – always use toasted sesame seeds
- Korean soup soy sauce – It is NOT the same as regular soy sauce.
- salt – as needed
- water – only 4 tablespoon
How to make Korean bean sprout side dish
Step 1. Add little water: Put sprouts in a pot and pour in 4 tablespoon of water.
Step 2. Steam: Close the lid tightly and let the sprouts cook over medium heat for 6 minutes. Do not open the lid. If you have a glass lid, you will see the steamed water drips down under the lid.
Step 3. Toss in a pot: Remove the pot from the heat and open the lid. Stir and turn the sprouts so that the ones on the bottom come to the top and the ones on the top end up on the bottom, and wait for 30 seconds.
Step 4. Season: Drain the spouts in a colander to remove the extra water and let cool for a couple of minutes. Place the warm sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, green onion, Korean soup soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt.
Step 5. Hand toss to mix: Toss the salad with your hand or using kitchen tongs to mix well. Taste the salad and add more salt if needed.
What Korean dishes to serve with
The Kongnamul side dish is a fantastic addition to any popular Korean dish. Some dishes that it pairs well with include:
- Classic Beef Bulgogi Recipe (Korean BBQ Beef)
- Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Jeyuk Bokkeum)
- Chicken Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Homemade Dakgalbi (Spicy Korean Chicken Stir-Fry)
- Authentic Pork Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
- Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)
How to store soybean sprout side dish
Serve this side dish at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This salad will keep in the fridge up to 1 week.
If you try this Korean bean sprout side dish recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers, too.
Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish (Kongnamul Muchim)
- 12 oz soybean sprouts, cleaned
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesam seeds
- 2 tsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
- pinch salt, as needed
- Put sprouts in a pot and pour in 4 tablespoon of water. Close the lid tightly and let the sprouts cook over medium heat for 6 minutes. Do not open the lid. If you have a glass lid, you will see the steamed water drips down under the lid.
- Remove the pot from the heat and open the lid. Stir and turn the sprouts so that the ones on the bottom come to the top and the ones on the top end up on the bottom, and wait for 30 seconds.
- Drain the spouts in a colander to remove the extra water and let cool for a couple of minutes.
- Place the warm sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, green onion, Korean soy soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. Toss the salad with your hand or using kitchen tongs to mix well.
- Taste the salad and add more salt if needed. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
After seeing the other two sites and their recipes, I think this one reigns supreme because of the tip about steaming and using minimal water. Although, when it comes to soy sauce, many people not familiar with Asian culture, do not get the difference between Hawaiian, Korean, Chinese soy sauce, yet alone usukuchi, koikuch, tamari, soy sauce. Since, I’m a noob to Korean soy sauce, I’m not sure what “Korean soup soy sauce is.” I will have to Google it! Keep up the great work.
Thanks for your comment. If you want to know more about Korean soup soy sauce, I have a pantry page on my site homepage with a collection of Korean condiments. There you will find the information about Korean soup soy sauce. Hope this helps. Thank you so much.
I like garlic but that much garlic un-cooked felt like a little bit too much for everyone. I guess 1/2 clover is ok if this is the first time you make this recipe.
This was really good and really easy. It doesn’t really stand on its own as a side, but adds a nice variation when serving a number of side dishes.
How is Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang) different from soy sauce besides being lighter? Is it closer to white soy sauce used for lighter dishes and soups? What other uses for this? I have hundreds of different sauces and do not want to buy another one unless it is really needed.
Korean soup soy sauce is a by-product of Korean soybean paste (doenjang) and it is saltier than regular soy sauce. It also has more pungent and umami taste than regular or light soy sauce. If you like to make Korean soups and stews, and some of vegetable side dishes, (and even Korean beef bulgogi) that are asking for Korean soup soy sauce, I recommend getting one. It is hard to replace with another sauce since the flavor is so unique to Korean cuisine. For this recipe, you can skip soup soy sauce and use salt instead if you wish to, but adding soup soy sauce adds umami that salt alone can’t.
I make this salad all the time. Love it!!!! Goes with a lot of dishes.
I come from Vietnam where definitely be familiar with green bean sprout, however one day I came to KingBBQ restaurant and ate panchan made with soybean sprout. I was totally amazing that it is more crunchy and sweet. After that day I have been trying to make bean sprout with soy bean but never being successful. Hope someday you can write how to make it at home.
I loved the salad! Thank you so much for the great easy to make and delicious recipe!
Wow what a healthy little dish to serve with anything
It was a hit with all the family…now making it very often!!
thank you again
I love Korean food and I always visit your site for Korean recipes.
My family specially love the Gabi Jjim and it’s always requested when we have get together.
I want to try your side dishes, If I want to make lots of it to store (just like what I see in Korean Dramas) how long can it last good in the fridge?
The storage life of side dishes is depending on the ingredients. Fresh vegetable side dishes will last about 1 week in the fridge, cabbage kimchi will last 2-3 month (but still usable afterward), radish kimchi is about 1 month, dried goods (beans, fish, etc) are about 1 month. Salad type last just a couple of days. Kimchi-s will last fresh longer if stored in kimchi refrigerator.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about bean sprout.
Thanks for your namul recipes! I love Korean food always wanted to try making various namul at home, but never found recipes that I like.
I shall try your recipes since they don't require too many ingredients, and are basic ingredients found in most homes.
Thanks. Let me know how you like it.
Your blog is wonderful! I'm going to follow it and try all your recipes. You're such a great cook!
I LOVE this blog! Your pictures are AMAZING! I'm bookmarking you and look forward to seeing many more recipes. I actually am making my very first attempt at sprouting bean sprouts at this very moment – I'll let you know how it goes. I love them, but don't like driving 20 miles to the nearest Korean market to buy them. I hope your recipe turns out better than the way I usually prepare them – they taste okay, but not KOREAN, if you know what I mean… I usually use dashida (I know – you're cringing as you read that!). Keep the recipes coming Holly!! You'll make a true Korean chef out of me after all!