Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kongnamul Korean Soybean Sprout Salad 콩나물

Kongnamul is a very popular side dish for Koreans. It almost always included in the banchan (side dishes) in Korean restaurants. I made this version a couple of days ago and took it to work. The 2 pounds batch was gone by the end of the day. One co-worker really liked it and even put it in the soup she was eating for lunch.

When preparing soybeans for cooking, it's important to pick them over and remove discolored ones and any bean skins that are still hanging on. A traditional Korean mother would snip the skinny tails off of each and every sprout before cooking. Thankfully, this is not usually the case anymore. In fact, the tails have a concentration of an ingredient that is great for hangovers. A very good excuse to be lazy.

Here's a closeup of a few individual sprouts. In her cookbook, Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen, Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall relates how musical notes are called soybean sprout heads by Korean children. It makes perfect sense. Also, it is believed that children who eat a lot of kongnamul will grow up straight and tall.

Here are the ingredients I used for a two pound batch of kongnamul. From left to right - ground sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, black pepper, green onion, salt and garlic.

The sprouts are put in a pot with a cup of boiling water. The sprouts are covered with a lid and cooked on high for about 3 minutes. Do not take the lid off the pot while the sprouts are cooking. Every Korean cook will tell you that the sprouts will taste "off" if the lid is removed too soon.

Drain the sprouts. I usually let them cool a bit also. In the meantime, finely chop the green onions and garlic. Mix with all the other ingredients except for the ground sesame and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle with the ground sesame and red pepper flakes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're back as you have some good recipes and am going to use your beansprout recipe. I visited here a year ago and liked the design and content.