Outside of kimchi, soybean sprouts are my FAVORITE of the side dishes. Salty, crunchy, and savory from the sesame oil in its seasoning sauce, I find these incredibly addictive when part of a banchan set.
Soybean sprouts have a different texture to mung bean sprouts (which is more commonly found in stores). They are crunchier and hardier and have a yellow soybean attached to the white sprout that give an additional texture to each bite. You CAN cook this recipe with mung bean sprouts if you can’t find soybean sprouts, but the texture will be mushier and softer and you won’t get that yellow soybean bite at the end which, in my opinion, is the best part.
An important thing to remember if buying soybean sprouts, soybean sprouts cannot be eaten raw. They are difficult to digest and you may end up with stomach pains. In addition, bean sprouts are known to carry more bacteria than other vegetables so it’s normally recommended to cook them first.
For this recipe, you can actually make 2 versions at the same time: spicy garlic and plain garlic. I really loved the idea Seonkyoung Longest had of making both the plain and the spicy versions with the same batch of bean sprouts. This is especially useful if you’re only cooking for a small family, since soybean sprouts tend to be sold in 1 lb bags. And once you buy it, you generally want to cook it right away since they have a very short shelf life.
If you don’t like spicy, just double up on the non-spicy ingredients and leave out the Korean chili powder and you’ll be good.
This recipe is also 100% vegan and safe from my 4 food intolerances (no gluten, corn, coconut, and dairy). This is also a dish that is normally safe for me when eating out at restaurants too.
This recipe is adapted from Seonkyoung Longest’s Kongnamul Muchim recipe. Do check out her website for additional Korean recipes and fusion recipes as well as some really helpful videos.
Soybean Sprouts Side Dish (Kongnamul muchim)
- 1 large pot
- 1 large strainer
- 1 1-lb bag of soybean sprouts mung bean sprouts are ok, but will not be as crunchy
- 1 TBSP salt for boiling the soybean sprouts
Base (Non-Spicy) Seasoning (per 1/2 lb soybean sprouts)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 diced green onion
Additional (Spicy) Seasoning (add to Non-Spicy ingredients for Spicy version)
- 2 tsp gochugaru (korean red pepper flakes or powder) optional for spicy version
- Rinse the soybean sprouts in a large bowl of water and remove any blackened or mushy sprouts or beans from the bowl. Strain the rest and set aside
- Bring a large pot of water with 1 tbsp salt to boil (enough water that the soybeans would be fully covered). Once boiling, add the soybean sprouts and boil for 4 minutes on high with the lid on.
- Turn off the heat and let the sprouts sit in the hot water for 1 more minute.
- Strain the soybean sprouts and then rinse in the large bowl under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Divide the cold soybean sprouts into 2 dishes
For the non-spicy soybean sprout side dish
- Mix the salt, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, green onion, and toasted sesame seeds in a bowl, then add 1/2 the soybean sprouts in. Using chopsticks or your hand, toss the soybean sprouts to coat them thoroughly. This is now ready to serve.
For the spicy soybean sprout side diesh
- Mix the salt, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, green oinon, and toasted sesame seeds, AND gochugaru in a bowl, then add the other 1/2 of the soybean sprouts in. Using chopsticks or your hand, toss the soybean sprouts to coat them thoroughly. This is also now ready to serve.