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Soybean Sprout Soup, Kongnamul Guk

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prep time: 
5 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
25 min
total time: 
30 min

Kongnamul Guk is a popular everyday soup in Korea. It’s super simple and it can complement pretty much anything. It’s especially great to balance out a spicy entree. It’s light and very soothing to the stomach. For this reason, many Koreans enjoy this soup the day after drinking. For a vegetarian variation, just use plain water instead of anchovy broth.

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7 ozSoybean Sprouts 콩나물
6 cupsWater 물
15 Anchovy (dried) 멸치
1 piece(s)Kelp (dried, 2" X 2" or 5 cm x 5 cm) 다시마 (optional)
2 tspGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘
2 tspSalt 소금
3 tbsChopped Green Onion 다진파
Green Chili Pepper 풋고추 (optional)
Red Chili Pepper 붉은 고추 (optional)
1 tspGochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고추가루 (optional)

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Dried kelp: can be omitted.
Red chili pepper & green chili pepper: can be omitted.
Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes): Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) can be omitted if you cannot tolerate any spiciness.

Vegetarian Variation
If you are a vegetarian or don't like fishy taste, you may skip steps 2 & 3 and just use plain water instead.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Wash soybean sprouts

Remove any spoiled tails (brown in color). Wash soybean sprouts thoroughly and drain.

image: SKNMAA01.JPG

Wash soybean sprouts


2. Broth

Boil 6 cups of water in a pot on high heat. Add 15 anchovies in an anchovy net and 1 piece (about 2” X 2” or 5cm X 5 cm) of kelp (optional) into boiling water.

image: SKNMAA02.JPG

Boil 6 cups water

  • High Heat image: highheat.png


  • 15 anchovies
  • 1 piece kelp (optional)

3. Broth

Let it boil with a lid on medium heat for 15 min. Skim off the foams. Remove anchovies and kelp from the broth. If you don’t have an anchovy net and added anchovies directly, you may have anchovy bits everywhere in the soup. If that’s the case, strain the broth with a strainer before using it.

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Boil with lid

  • Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 15 min

Skim off foams

Remove anchovies & kelp

4. Soybean Sprouts

Add 200g of soybean sprouts into the anchovy broth. Boil with a lid on high heat for 10 min. It’s important to boil soybean sprouts with a lid. Otherwise it can result in a slightly unpleasant smell.

image: SKNMAA04.JPG

Add soybean sprouts

Boil with a lid

High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 10 min

5. Seasoning

Add 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of chopped green onion, 2 teaspoon of chopped red chili pepper, 2 teaspoon of chopped green chili peppers, and 1 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes. Let it boil for 1-2 min. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt. You may need less or more. So, add salt gradually while tasting the soup.

image: SKNMAA06.JPG


  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbs chopped green onion
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp green chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (may need more or less)

6. Done

Turn off the heat. Serve in a bowl.

image: SKNMAA07.JPG