Kong-namul muchim (soybean sprouts)/substitute beansprouts

Kong means bean in Korean, Namul means edible plants.

Banchan (side dishes) are a big part of the Korean home kitchen. Kong-namul is one of the most popular side dishes and also one of the classic vegetable ingredients of Bibim-bab. It seems that Koreans started to eat this around 500 years ago.

Beansprouts are different to Kong-namul. Beansprouts are from the Mung bean. Kong-namul are sprouts of the Soy bean. We boil them and drain off the excess water then add seasoning.

Kong-namul muchim is an everyday banchan because it is inexpensive. The texture is crunchy and nutty and flavour of sesame oil. It is always served as one of the banchan in Korean BBQ restaurants.

In Cambridge, we have only one Korean supermarket called Seoul Plaza. In the past they used to stock a lot of fresh Korean ingredients but now there are less Korean and more from other nations. Kong-namul is therefore harder to find, so I thought I would try to grow it myself. Unfortunately, after two attempts I have been unsuccessful but I am still trying because it is worth it.

There are two versions of this Banchan, one is seasoned with a soy sauce called Guk-ganjang the other is additionally seasoned with chilli.

Another use of Kong-namul is as soup with rice. We call this Kong-namul guk (soup) bab (rice) and it is famous as a hangover cure. There are many restaurants that specialise only in this “hangover stew”.

Another famous recipe is called Kong-namul-bab which is a kind of very delicious Bibim-bab but seasoned with only soy sauce.

Kong-namul is a very good combination with Kimchi either in a soup or stir fry. I love this and I can’t stop eating it. My sisters wonder how I eat these all the time for weeks on end!

Kong-namul (soybean sprouts)

prepare and cooking time: 15 minutes

serves: 4-6


350g, 1 bag of soybean sprouts , washed and trimmed

Make saltwater

1 Tablespoon, sea salt

3 cups, water


10 leaves of chives , chopped finely

1/3 of carrot, matchstick, thinly

2 garlic cloves, grated

1Tablespoon, toasted sesame seed

1 Tablespoon, toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon, Guk-gan-jang(naturally brewed soy sauce for soup)

1 teaspoon, caster sugar

A pinch of ground white pepper

1 teaspoon, chilli powder (optional)


    1. Firstly, make salted water and set aside.
    2. Wash chives and peel carrot and 2 cloves of garlic.
    3. Chop chives finely and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Cut carrots into matchstick finely and grate garlic cloves then transfer them into the large mixing bowl.
    4. Rinse the soybean sprout in cold water 3-4 times, while washing the sprouts, discard the bean’s skin (like skin colour cap) and any floating or sunk the bottom of the soybean sprouts. Get rid of if you see any rotten sprouts.
    5. Add the washed soybean sprouts into the large pot then put melted salt water into the pot with tight lid on a high heat. Do not open until it boils (if you open it, there will be fishy smell).
    6. Be prepare a colander in sink to drain soybean sprouts water.
    7. Turn off the heat after boiling starts 2-3 minutes later (from the staring to finishing around 5-7 minutes).
    8. Pour boiled Kong-namul (soybean sprouts) into the colander. Don’t keep cooked soybean in water. They will be moisturised a lot.
  • Colling down around 5 minutes then transfer Kong-numal into the large mixing bowl and add toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, Guk-gan-jang( soy sauce for soup) and sugar mix and toss well with your hand.  You can keep it in your fridge for 2 days. Don’t keep it more than 2 days, Soybean sprouts will go bad very quickly. You can substitute Guk-gan-jang for salt in this recipe but the taste is different.  


  • Substitute for Guk-gan-jang for 2 Tablespoon, dark soy sauce/ chopped 2 prawns, boil them for 1-2 minute
  • You can add cooked prawns, squid or lobster.

Gochujang Yangnyum

A teaspoon Gochujang Yangnyum over Dasima and cabbage rolls.

Kombu is the Japanese word for dried sea kelp and Dasima in Korean and seaweed including dried sea kelp is widely consumed in Korea.

This dish is a favourite picnic and party food  and you can taste at moderately expensive Korean traditional restaurants. If you want to impress your friends or party guests then this is the dish that you can make in a short time but it is a healthy and delicious vegan dish.

Gochujang is fermented chilli paste and Koreans often add some vegetable or cooked and chopped meat or seafood to make the sauce rich, less salty and taste to take another level of taste.

You can use this sauce for bibimbap sauce as well as stir fry.

If this sauce is spicy then add some tomato puree, for mine added 2 Tablespoons.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 people


You will need to buy Gochujang from a Korean supermarket or Amazon

For the marinade (Gochujang sauce)

  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrots, onions, yellow peppers, leeks
  • ¼ cup Gochujang, Korean chilli paste
  • 4 tsp tomato puree (optional)
  • 2 tsp grated garlic, toasted sesame seeds, chia seeds
  • 1tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 145g canned tuna

For the rice

  • 300g cooked rice
  • 1tsp sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, chia seeds

For the vegetable

  • 5-8 leaves of cabbage
  • 2-3 piece of Dasima(Kombu)
  1. Drain the tuna in a strainer in the sink. Make sure to break up the chunks of tuna.
  2. Mix all the Gochujang ingredients and put them aside or keep it in a jar.
  3. For the vegetables, if the Dasima is thick then boil it for 2 -3 minutes, if the Dasima is thin then just soak in cold water for 20 minutes. When finished, dry out with kitchen towel. Place 2-3 layers of cabbage leaves on a microwave-safe plate for 40 seconds.
  4. Prepare cooked rice then add sesame oil, sesame seeds, chia seeds and a tiny pinch salt then mix them well. Put aside and cover with a lid or cling film.
  5. Spread a portion of rice covering ¼ of the cabbage leaf and just roll forward, pressing gently and tightly with a mat. When the roll is complete, press inwards at both open ends and wrap with cling film.
  6. Repeat with Dasima too.
  7. Leave for 20-30 minutes, before removing the cling film and slicing to serve.
  8. Scoop your Gochujang sauce on top of the cabbage & Dasima rolls.

Genius Soy Sauce


mixture ) and brine. The mixture of meju (freshly boiled and mashed soyben) is left for 2-3 months outside in the cold winter months in Korea until the liquid becomes black. The taste is richer and saltier, also the colour is much lighter than regular soy sauce.

How to use them

This is for seasoning soup, boiled vegetable called Namul and salads called Muchim .

2. Jin Ganjang (a mix of chemically produced soy sauce)

This mass produced  soy sauce is called Ganjang, Whe-Ganjang or Jin-Ganjang : It is similar to the soy sauce you see on every supermarket shelf

How to use them

They make a great marinade or can be splashed into stews or used in sauces for meat and vegetables such as, stir-frying, braising, marinating and grilling or dipping sauce.

3. Mat Ganjang or Jorim Ganjang  (flavoured or seasoned soy sauce)

This  is the most commonly used in Korean dishes. It is much less salty compared to regular or Guk Ganjang. This is regular sauce diluted  and boiled with  some vegetable and some dry fish and starch syrup or sugar added. It is easy to use in any Korean dishes for seasoning.

4. Sempio soy sauce for soup base (soba)  

There are many flavoured Soy sauces for cold noodles or Japanese soba. This Sempio brand which I got from a Korean supermarket in the UK  worked well  for my Genius Soy Sauce. Japanese Tsuyu Soba sauce is similar.

To make Genius soy sauce  What you need to buy is

Mat Ganjang 맛 간장 or Jorim Ganjang 조림 간장 (flavoured or seasoned soy sauce) and add Korean Sempio soy sauce for soup base 

You can use this sauce for  salad , in bibimbap, with pan-fried fish, pancake or as dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Why is soy sauce black when soybeans are not? In making soy sauce, protein from soybeans breaks down into amino acids. This reaction results in a black coloured substance.

Godeungeo Gui

Pan-fried Mackerel in spicy say glaze

Slice all the vegetables before start to cook the fish.
Place the mackerel on some flour with the exposed white side downwards and the skin upwards.  Don’t use flour on the skin since it will char during cooking.Before putting the mackerel in the frying pan, shake off any excess flour.

Pan fry for the mackerel on the skin side down first for 2-3 minutes turn over for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown all over and cooked through.
Continue reading “Godeungeo Gui”

Eating and Drinking Manners with Elderly Koreans

Korean Confucianism puts a premium on respect for the elderly and for extended family ties. These days in Korea, societal pressures have torn apart the traditional concept of the extended family. However I was lucky to be able to learn table manners from my large family especially from my grandmother.

Age is still important and respected in Korea, therefore the most eldest in a group will start the meal first by lifting his (or her) chopsticks and taking food first and then the others may follow. Although this custom has been a little eroded nowadays, many Koreans households still follow these traditional Korean manners regarding eating.
Continue reading “Eating and Drinking Manners with Elderly Koreans”

Gamja Jorim (Glazed potatoes in soy sauce)

There are a lot of ways to cook potatoes; mashed, boiled, stuffed, baked, fried, roasted, grilled and salad. Here I want to add glazed potatoes in soy sauce to the list!Potatoes and onions are common combination in Korean vegetable dishes. This dish is so simple to prepare and needs few ingredients.“Gamja Jorim” will not only fill your hungry guests’ tummies but also be kind to your wallet too.

Prepared properly this dish is very visually appetizing. This is very tasty so make only a small amount so that your guests will still be hungry enough to eat your next course.

Follow the recipe carefully.

I think the chicken stock is very important. I used half a cube of “Knorr” brand chicken stock for this dish.
Continue reading “Gamja Jorim (Glazed potatoes in soy sauce)”

Myulchi Bokkeum

Stir fried anchovies in chilli paste

You can buy dried anchovies from any Korean or oriental supermarket. 

Before using in this dish you will need to remove the anchovies’ heads, bones and intestines otherwise you may find their smell to pungent and their taste too bitter. This takes some patience but is not so bad for a small portion.

Small sized dried anchovies are great for eating, you can sauté them with fresh chillies, garlic, some herbs and sesame oil or eat them as a snack with a glass of beer.

For this dish I used some medium-small sized dried anchovies that my mother sent me about 6 months ago. Thankfully she had already removed their heads, tails, intestines and bones.

Put the dried anchovies into a sieve and shake for a minute to free any powdery remains from the fishes.

Give them a rinse under the cold tap a couple of times.

Drain any excess water and then dry them once with some kitchen towels.

Add the olive oil into the frying pan on a high medium heat.

Add all the drained anchovies into the pan and stir fry them for 7-10 minutes stirring constantly.

Remove all the fried anchovies and set them aside for a while in a bowl.

We are going to add each of the ingredients sequentially in this order : sesame oil →freshly grated garlic→freshly grated ginger →sugar→gochojang→plum cooking juice→ golden syrup→ground black pepper → toasted sesame seeds.

Stir each ingredient for 20 seconds on a high medium heat with wooden spoon before adding the next one to bring out the flavour of each ingredient.

Turn the heat to low and add the previously fried anchovies into the sauce and mix well for 2 minutes on a medium heat.

You can keep this dish fresh for over a week in your fridge.

Preparation time: Less than 30 minutes

Cooking time: Less than 30 minutes

Serves: 4-8 people as a tasty side dish


You need to buy these ingredients from a Korean supermarket

  • Gochojang (Korean chilli paste)
  • Korean plum cooking juice

For the stir fry dried anchovies

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 70 g dried anchovies, remove the anchovies’ heads, bones and intestines

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1ts freshly grated garlic
  • ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 20 g Gochojang
  • 20ml Korean plum cooking juice
  • 30 ml Golden syrup
  • ½ tps  ground black pepper
  • 2 tbps  toasted sesame seeds

Here you can see different servings of these anchovies in chilli paste with egg and seaweed rice rolls all ready for a small party.

  • See how to make Chungmu Kimbab (link coming soon)
  • See how to make Egg Roll Kimbab (link coming soon)


Toran Jeon (Jerusalem Artichoke pancakes)

This quick and easy, healthy pan fried Jerusalem artichoke pancake is bursting with fresh flavour.

In Korea we use the vegetable called Toran but Jerusalem artichokes are a great alternative.

Have you ever used Jerusalem artichokes as an ingredient?They smell like mushrooms and have the most amazingly crisp and earthy texture I have ever tasted so far in England.

You can eat them raw, stir-fried, simmering in soy sauce or bake them in puff pastry.

For the pancake batter, combine all the listed ingredients with the cold water, whisking thoroughly until you see no lumps.

Mix with a spoon and set aside for a minimum of 1 hour.

Chop all the vegetables and chicken into small pieces and place them on a plate.

Add toasted the sesame seeds,sesame oil,soy sauce,sugar, ground white pepper, lemon juice, fresh Thai chilli and pinch of salt to the Chopped vegetables.

Add all the mixed vegetables into the pancake batter and mix with a spoon.

Keep the batter in the fridge a minimum of 1 hour (overnight if possible) before making the pacakes.

Preheat a non-stick pan with a tablespoonful of olive oil on a low heat for a minute.

Scoop a spoonful size of the mixture (use a small round shape) and spread it thinly in the pan.

Fry on each side until the pancake becomes golden using between a low and medium heat.

This should take around 5-10 minutes to do both sides.

To serve, place the pancake onto a plate, optionally with a separate soy dipping sauce.

For the sauce simply mix the ingredients indicated below, ideally do this the day before an leave to stand.

Tip: If you can make this batter before a day and keep it in a fridge then the batter will settle nicely and smell and taste great.

Preparation time :  1 hour
Cooking time : 20 to 30 minutes
Servings :  4-6Ingredients For the pancake batter

  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp rice flour
  • 4 tbsp plan flour
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 1tsp white sugar
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 65ml water

For the Jerusalem Artichoke with seasoning

  • 40g baby sweet corn, finely chopped
  • 20g carrots, finely chopped
  • 40g leeks, finely chopped
  • 100g Jerusalem Artichoke, finely chopped
  • 100g Chicken breast, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh Thai chilli , finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt

For the Yangnum (dipping sauce)

  • 5 tbsp, light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp, honey
  • 1 tsp, finely chopped chives
  • 1 tsp, white sugar
  • ½ grated garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp, sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp, toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp, ground white pepper and a little bit of fresh chilli.